Great news for multi-use trail zealots: The first phase of PATH400, a Beltlineian trail that will wend for 5.2 miles through Buckhead parallel to Ga. 400, is set to break ground Feb. 17. Officials are hoping the path will lend Buckhead the same sense of interconnectedness the Beltline's Eastside Trail has provided neighborhoods east of downtown and Midtown. "PATH400 will be a tremendous asset," Jim Durrett, executive director of Buckhead CID, said in a press release. "Our community will enjoy new pedestrian access to schools and the local business district, opportunities for outdoor recreation and a greater sense of connectedness. It's a wise investment for Buckhead." PATH400's first phase will be a half-mile stretch from Lenox Road at Tower Place up to Old Ivy Road. Extensions could soon follow.
Construction on the first leg is expected to take roughly nine months and will require lane closures — this summer, for the most part — on Ga. 400, Lenox Road, Old Ivy Road and Ivy Road, officials said. As with 10th Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue, room for vehicle traffic on Lenox Road will shrink to accommodate the path.
Each travel lane of Lenox Road will be reduced by about a foot, and the median will be narrowed as well. Another first-phase objective is to create a safe pedestrian connection where the trail crosses into Tower Place. (Walkability in Buckhead? Gasp!)
Denise Starling, Livable Buckhead (LBI) executive director, pointed out that three years ago the path was merely an idea. "There have been hundreds of people from all sectors —state and city government, neighborhood associations, local businesses and nonprofit organizations — who have provided input on PATH400 and helped move it from concept to implementation," Starling said. "Sometimes having that much involvement can slow a project, but in this case it has been energizing."
Formerly known as the "Buckhead Trail" or "Georgia 400 Trail," the 5.2-mile stretch will one day connect Loridans Drive (just shy of the former Ga. 400 tolls) to Morosgo Drive (near Ga. 400's split from I-85), if all goes as planned.
PATH400 will eventually connect to the Beltline and South Fork Conservancy trails. As it winds down Ga. 400, almost half of it will consist of a 12-foot concrete path flanked by both the highway and forest. (For the sake of comparison, the Eastside Trail is 14-feet wide). The trail will also snake through Tower Place and all of its shopping, restaurants and other transportation options. Officials say PATH400 will act as the spine of what's being called "the Buckhead Collection" — a planned network of parks, trails and greenspaces throughout the Atlanta submarket.
This month's project is the first of seven phases needed to complete PATH400. Officials say roughly half of the project funding has been secured, thanks primarily to $5 million provided by the PATH Foundation and the Buckhead Community Improvement District. LBI anticipates that all design documents for the full length of the trail will be complete in March. That will clear the way for additional phases of the project to be built as more funds are raised. Are you inspired enough to chip in?