Happy birthday to the world's greatest change agent

Jesus is undisputably the greatest change agent the world has ever known. He changed the world without the Internet, TV, talk radio, government, politics, or technology. The baby we focus on this time of year grew into a man who inspired folks from all walks of life to do a 180 and start following him.
Harmonizing my frequent discussions on walk scores and urban walkability with the reason for the season, I offer my ode to the most excellent pedestrian to ever walk the earth [sung to the tune of "Walking in Your Footsteps" by The Police]:

Walkin’ in His Footsteps

About 2000 years ago
You walked upon this planet so
Now you are Lord of all I see
What is it You see in me?
That you’d ask me to come along
Just like Peter, James and John

And come walkin’ in your footsteps
Walkin’ in your footsteps

Hey there, Mrs. Prejudiced
Why don’t you make a brand new list
Of different people who could be
Growing in your family tree
And treat all colors like you would
If they all lived in your ‘hood

And come walkin’ in His footsteps
Walkin’ in His footsteps

Hey there, Mr. Ambitious
You want the rest to eat your dust
You know that in that Old Rat Race
Rodents always take first place

why not come….

Hey there, Ms. Material Girl
Why don’t you let go of the World
Those things can’t bring you happiness
Give it all to Him then you’ll be blessed


Hey there, Mr. Self-Righteous
Humility would be a plus
If we could pull the mask away
Would you go or would you stay?
And join us on that narrow road
Where Jesus lifts your heavy load


Now we’re here and now it’s time
To search our heart and search our mind
And ask ourselves what He would do
If He was standing in our shoes

And then go….
Posted on Tuesday, December 25, 2012 at 10:21PM by Registered CommenterBurke Sisco in | CommentsPost a Comment | PrintPrint

Location-efficient living in Tribute Lofts live/work space

Over time I've learned that the location-efficiency of a residence usually trumps the energy-efficiency in terms of savings to the home owner. Consider the following scenario [courtesy of Invisible Energy by David Goldstein]: A buyer purchases a home at the approximate median US home price of $175,000. If the buyer puts down 20% and finances $140,000 over 30 years, here's roughly what they'd pay over the life of the mortgage:

  • $350,000 in loan payments (PITI)
  • $300,000 commuting from suburbia
  • $75,000 for utilities

$300K for commuting costs?! That's almost as much as the buyer pays for the home and significantly more than the cost of utilities. Transportation costs are the typical household's second largest expenditure.

The most location-efficient properties are in amenity-rich neighborhoods served by transit and a grid of walkable and bikeable streets and trails. The idea is to have as many options and alternatives as possible to the car. 

I live in such a neighborhood. I write this post from within the burgeoning Old Fourth Ward. My location has a Walkscore of 88, or "very walkable." Two blocks to the east is the BeltLine. Two blocks to the west is the coming Atlanta Streetcar. I can catch a MARTA bus one block away or walk/bike to a MARTA train station 1/2 mile away. I can also combine bicycle and transit since MARTA has bike racks on their buses and allows bikes on the trains.

Because of our location-efficiency my family and I made the decision to explore a car-free lifestyle. We sold the car on Dec. 13th of 2011. One year later we can declare the experiment a success, having saved hundreds of dollars along the way that would have gone towards car-ownership .

There's a property currently for sale in the Old Fourth Ward that could reduce your daily commute to seconds. Tribute Lofts on John Wesley Dobbs has one of the only live/work units currently for sale in the city. The two level loft has storefront on the first floor perfect for a boutique or professional office. Neighboring businesses include a law office, hair salon, my awesome chiropractor, and a coffee shop that gives 10% discounts to cyclists. The 2nd level offers a full kitchen, living area, large bedroom & bath with walk-in shower -- all in high-end finishes and modern accouterments. There's no need for a separate residence. Just walk down the stairs to work every morning. 

Locationally, the condo scores a "very walkable" walkscore of 80 and is immediately adjacent to the Freedom Parkway Trail which connects with the BeltLine Eastside Trail. MARTA bus 99 stops right in front of the property and Zipcar vehicles are parked a little over 1/2 mile away. Tribute Lofts is a stone's throw from downtown Atlanta, as evidenced by the killer skyline views, and has very quick access to 75/85.

So the owner of this condo could enjoy an upscale intown lifestyle without car ownership, potentially saving hundreds or even thousands per year. 

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

FMLS #5068515. Asking $219,500.

Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 04:48PM by Registered CommenterBurke Sisco in | CommentsPost a Comment | PrintPrint

Car vs. bike and runner on BeltLine Eastside Trail

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Fox 5 pits runner, bicyclist, and auto commuter against one another to see who can make it from Irwin Street to Piedmont Park the fastest. Runner and cyclist take the BeltLine Eastside Trail from point A to B while auto contestant takes the quickest route on Atlanta streets via GPS.

Guess who won?

Posted on Monday, October 15, 2012 at 02:43PM by Registered CommenterBurke Sisco in , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | PrintPrint

Atlanta Streetcar: forward to the past

Here's what the streetcars that ran on Edgewood Avenue used to look like :

Inman Park Streetcar No. 7

Here's what the new Atlanta Streetcar currently being built at a Sacramento, CA Siemens plant looks like:

This is what the streetcar median stop at Sweet Auburn Curb Market on Edgewood Avenue will look like in the near future:

Posted on Friday, September 28, 2012 at 06:42PM by Registered CommenterBurke Sisco in , , , | Comments1 Comment | PrintPrint

Condo and townhome market brightens along the BeltLine

Nowhere in Atlanta is the rebounding condo and townhome market more evident than along the soon-to-open Eastside BeltLine Trail. There you'll find -- gasp! -- new construction. This was inconceivable just a few months ago given the glut of condos and townhomes for sale. Location (x3) overcomes sluggish market forces on this amenity-rich linear park.

First place for supreme placement of new home construction goes to Highland Park, a new development of 66 townhomes by John Wieland Homes at the juncture of Inman Park and Old Fourth Ward. The development sits across the trail from Inman Park Village and will feature direct access to the trail. This location also links to the Freedom Parkway trail system.

Highland Park site plan

These homes will be built facing the BeltLine, a practice sure to be adopted by existing buildings and commercial space along the bicycle superhighway and future transit line. These structures presented their less attractive side to the corridor when it was a freight line. Now they will have secondary storefronts and fascades to welcome trail and transit users.

Owners of traditionally-styled Highland Park homes will have easy access by foot or bicycle to some of the best parks, shopping, and dining that Atlanta has to offer like the Historic Old Fourth Ward Park and Ponce City Market, now under construction.

Stay tuned as we cover other exciting new construction along the Eastside trail. All of this adds up to a compelling example of the BeltLine as an upgrade of our city to Atlanta 2.0. 

BeltLine looking north from Highland Ave. with Highland Park site on the left.

BeltLine looking south from Freedom Parkway with Highland Park site on right and Freedom Parkway connector trail on left

Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 01:45PM by Registered CommenterBurke Sisco in , , , , , , , | Comments1 Comment | PrintPrint

Atlanta's Bicycle Superhighway begins

My wife and I bicycled the BeltLine Eastside Trail this afternoon. The 14 foot wide concrete path stretches from Irwin Street on the south end to 10th Street and Monroe Drive (southeast corner of Piedmont Park) on the north end. Bicycling on the BeltLine is a breeze!

This changes everything for cycle commuters in the Piedmont Park, Virginia Highland, Poncey-Highland, Inman Park and the Old Fourth Ward areas.

A lot of people respond to the opening of a new Atlanta bicycle trail with a shrug. "So what? Atlanta has miles of them." Let me tell you: the BeltLine is a game-changer for intown trails. The secret sauce of this trail is that it reuses an old railroad right-of-way. The original rail line was surveyed and engineered for ease of transport and slight grades (usually 2% or less). If you've ever rode a Rail Trail like the Silver Comet, you know what I'm talking about. The difference between riding this exquisite path of least resistance and the hilly, pot-holed, dangerous streets of Atlanta can't be overstated. You glide over or under street intersections and never in the traffic. Granny and the kids can ride safely and with ease!

Bicycling is well-documented as the most efficient form of transportation known to man -- 5 times more efficient than using the train and 15 to 20 times more efficient than driving a car. If you look at the planned 33 mile loop of trail as a kind of inner perimeter highway for bikes, then the Eastside Trail could be the first segment of a spoke-and-hub bicycle superhighway. It's easy to envision surrounding municipalities wanting to connect their own rail trails to this superb transportation alternative. My advice is find any unused railroad rights-of-way or similar corridors that feed into the BeltLine and get 'er done. Plans are already underway for the Georgia 400 Trail, a 5 mile spoke trail that will link Buckhead to the BeltLine. And the case has already been made for developing the Full Loop of trail as a first priority.

With the transportation referendum defeated and gas climbing above $4 a gallon, time is of essence. Terminus redux, post haste!

Here are some of the gems and charms along this section of Atlanta's emerging emerald necklace:

  • Piedmont Park
  • Park Tavern
  • Trader Joe's
  • Midtown Cinema
  • Whole Foods
  • Home Depot
  • Starbucks
  • Kroger
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Paris on Ponce
  • Ponce City Market (with a planned spur trail directly into the building)
  • Dancing Goats Coffee Bar
  • Historic Old Fourth Ward Park
  • Skateboard Park
  • Inman Park Village
  • Parrish Restaurant
  • Rathbun's Restaurant
  • Stoveworks
  • Studioplex
  • Irwin Street Market

Of course, embedded along this amenity-rich corridor are new and existing townhomes, condos and live/work lofts for sale with direct access to the BeltLine. Let me know if you'd like to take a look...

Map courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

Posted on Friday, September 7, 2012 at 03:52PM by Registered CommenterBurke Sisco in , , , | Comments10 Comments | PrintPrint

Putting the "WHEEEE!" in Atlanta real estate

This Fall I will partner with Bicycle Tours of Atlanta to offer tours by bike to properties for sale along the BeltLine Eastside Trail.

My market focus goes beyond the energy-efficient, eco-friendly features inherent in a particular dwelling to include the community it is embedded in. My concentration is on properties that score high in location-efficiency [often more important than the building's energy efficiency]. These homes are generally found Intown Atlanta within some of the city's more bicycle-friendly neighborhoods and village settings, and often in proximity to MARTA, bike paths, and the coming BeltLine and Atlanta Streetcar. I like to call these properties "wheel estate." The BeltLine will eventually feature a 33+ mile loop of trail, allowing owners of wheel estate to enjoy a healthy lifestyle of connected communities with a reduced reliance on their cars. The first 2+ miles of the BeltLine Eastside Trail, extending from Irwin Street to Piedmont Park, officially opens Oct. 15, 2012.

Are you a buyer looking to burn more calories and less carbon? Are you looking to live a car-lite lifestyle on the BeltLine? Stay tuned for more information on my upcoming BeltLine Wheel Estate tours.

Get the flyer on Atlanta's Bicycle-Friendly Broker here.

Posted on Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 03:37PM by Registered CommenterBurke Sisco in , , , | Comments2 Comments | PrintPrint