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Following Inman Park concerns, Beltline provides new tunnel proposal

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Wider tunnel could be built beneath DeKalb Avenue

Following concerns last week from nearby residents and Beltline advocates, officials with Atlanta Beltline Inc. have produced a new version of a proposed transit tunnel as part of a planned mixed-use development near the Atlanta Beltline and Krog Street Tunnel.

Addressing potential issues that could arise near the site of North American Properties’ proposal at 670-690 DeKalb Avenue, Beltline visionary Ryan Gravel last week told those in the neighborhood meeting that plans (at the time) did not allow space for rail to run alongside a trail, and a possible 1,000-foot tunnel would leave room for only transit.

In addition, the added cost of building such a long tunnel beneath Inman Park’s Hulsey Train Yard could be an impediment to making transit a reality in the first place, some argued.

Atlanta Beltline spokeswoman Ericka Davis told Curbed Atlanta this week that Beltline officials are "refining the site plan as we proceed through the development process ... in consideration of ongoing dialogue with the community and key stakeholders."

Davis said on Aug. 24, Beltline CEO Paul Morris and staff met with council member Kwanza Hall and board members of the Inman Park Neighborhood Association — the most recent of the two aforementioned meetings — "as a continuation of our community engagement process."

And it sounds like the Beltline could be going underground at this key juncture after all.

"As discussed at that Aug. 24 meeting, the proposed redevelopment preserves the ability to construct the Atlanta Beltline via a future combined pedestrian and double-track transit tunnel under DeKalb Avenue," Davis said in an email. "ABI will diligently maintain a feasible path to construct the future Atlanta BeltLine trail and transit via a tunnel through this area."

Davis could not comment at this time on the exact configuration and length of the tunnel, but did provide Curbed Atlanta with a sneak peek of the current rendering (see below).

An article by WABE last week quoted Inman Park Neighborhood Association board president Neil Kinkoff as saying he was okay with the new tunnel proposal, but that Atlanta residents should keep paying attention to Beltline plans moving forward.

"I think it’s important for people not just to assume that ABI will do what is best for the BeltLine," Kinkoff told WABE. "Because there might be a difference of opinion about what that best thing is."