Directions in Atlanta can be explained like a clock, with the Perimeter forming the face and Interstates 20, 75, and 85 making time impossible to tell.
The metaphor relies on the city’s robust road infrastructure — as much as auto-centric Atlantans rely on the roads for mobility.
But now, a new car-less clock is slowly forming in the metro, uniting the heart of the city with the far-out suburbs through a series of multi-use trails. The problem is, the network is far from complete, leaving major gaps where connectivity is supposed to go.
However, advocates are trying to unite the Silver Comet Trail — a staggering 61.5 miles long, and one of the most traveled trails in Georgia with more than 2 million users annually — with the Beltline to allow uninterrupted journeys from Atlanta to as far as Alabama.
River Edges reports that members of a group called Connect the Comet are pushing for the construction of a six-mile trail that would tie the corridor into the Beltline.
But there are complications.
Some of the rail right-of-way is still in the hands of CSX, though none of it is currently in use. (Which echoes the situation with the Beltline’s Southside Trail). So far, the railroad has reportedly been unwilling to come to the table regarding the proposal to complete the trail.
Proponents estimate they will need between $25 and $30 million to make the railroad company serious about negotiating.
Still, the obstacles are far from insurmountable, and advocates believe in the project coming to fruition in the near future.
Meanwhile, on a much smaller scale, work is progressing on a new (and needed) Beltline trail access point at Highland Avenue in Old Fourth Ward.
Atlanta INtown reports the path will bring pedestrians down to the Beltline from the Highland bridge, next to the commercial corridor at the western edge of Inman Park.
Look for work to wrap on that this year.