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Beltline: Eastside Trail Extension Could Start Next Month

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"Hallelujah!" says throngs of Beltline fanatics

Atlanta Beltline officials have music for the ears of any Atlantan who's enjoyed a walk, run, bike ride, or dog-propelled skateboard trip on the popular Eastside Trail — and who wants more of it.

After years of complex delays and mounting ATLien impatience, construction to extend the 2.25-mile Eastside Trail could begin next month, officials told a crowded meeting at Trees Atlanta this week, as Creative Loafing reports. And it sounds like the people-versus-vehicles situation at a key intersection — where the trail will cross DeKalb Avenue and enter the Krog Street Tunnel — is going to be a hoot.

Beltline users trying to get between Inman Park and Cabbagetown, and vice versa, will be directed to the sidewalk on the tunnel's east side (farthest from downtown Atlanta), which is six-feet-wide, max. Riding a bike on Krog Street through the tunnel, or taking the west side sidewalk, will also be viable options, officials told CL. Inside the tunnel, expect to find enhanced lighting, better handrails, and upgraded sidewalk surfaces.

As for the future DeKalb Avenue situation, CL paints this picture:

Beltline officials plan to build a large staging area at the northwest corner of the intersection to allow people to prepare to cross the busy intersection. To help with that pocket officials will install what's called a "four-way scramble." Automobile traffic would stop in all directions to allow bicyclists and pedestrians to travel from the northwest corner to the southeast corner.

It sounds like Beltline Meets Monroe Drive, Part II. Sort of.

Once in Cabbagetown, the Beltline will take a left down Wylie Street on an expanded 10-foot-wide path, before going right down the old rail corridor in Reynoldstown. There, the trail will expand to 14 feet and stop, for now, at the Kirkwood Avenue crossing. The bridge between there and Memorial Drive needs replaced, and the budget doesn't support that right now, officials said.

Here's another interesting tidbit regarding the current trail, where it ends at Irwin Street near Krog Street Market:

Beltline officials will close roughly 100 feet of the Eastside Trail, rip up the concrete, and start building a slight slope so the trail can meet a proposed speed table at Irwin Street to improve pedestrian safety.

Beltline officials told Curbed last month that construction should begin in Reynoldstown near Kirkwood Avenue and progress from there.

The Astra Group will be building this next leg. The company previously worked on the first section of the Eastside Trail and the first phase of Historic Fourth Ward Park.

Contractually, they’ll be required to finish this next stretch of the Eastside Trail within 18 months.

Which means 2017 should be another huge year in Atlanta, with two stadiums and two new stretches of Beltline debuting.