This upcoming winter could be a memorable one for construction of new Beltline pieces in three disparate parts of town, with a section that’s planned to eventually link Midtown with Buckhead leading the way.
The Beltline’s Eastside Trail wrapped construction in July after nearly seven years, and the focus of new trail-building is shifting to just north of that popular stretch right now.
As Beltline officials explained in further detail this week, Georgia Power is well underway with building a maintenance access road that will double as a portion of the Northeast Trail, running in between Ansley Golf Club and neighborhoods such as Piedmont Heights.
Fences have been installed to block patrons of the former interim trail, as the power company begins paving about two-thirds of a mile between the backside of Ansley Mall and the Buford Spring Connector, next to Interstate 85.
That stretch (and farther south, to Piedmont Park) is now considered closed for safety reasons, and trespassing could delay construction, officials said this week.
Luckily, we were able to collect photos recently to illustrate where Beltline construction on this key segment is happening now—and how the Northeast Trail might extend connectivity across a broad ITP swath in coming years.
Georgia Power is building a fourteen-foot-wide trail with stormwater systems and an access point at Montgomery Ferry Drive, a roadway that bridges over the trail and into the golf course. That’s scheduled to be finished by fall 2020.
Once that wraps, Beltline officials will turn focus toward identifying funding for “follow-up work”—security cameras, lighting, landscaping, and more—to complete the full Northeast Trail.
All told, the trail will stretch between Westminster Drive (near Orpheus Brewing, at Piedmont Park’s northernmost point) and Mayson Street (near the Amour Ottley district, just south of Lindbergh).
Designs for those northern and southern segments, like an eventual connection to the Lindbergh MARTA Station, are being analyzed and tweaked.
At the risk of venturing neck-deep into the weeds, this point provides an opportunity for weighing options on how the Beltline might extend beyond Mason Street and connect in coming years with the Lindbergh area—and with Buckhead’s nearby PATH400, a means of getting to Lenox Square and points north without using busy roads.
Beltline officials have narrowed down two possible alignments and are currently studying both. The so-called Alignment B wends through the Armour Ottley industrial area.
The alternative, Alignment E, basically parallels the eastern side of MARTA rail’s existing alignment up to Lindbergh.
Beyond the Northeast Trail, two more Beltline segments are expected to launch construction in the next few months.
One project is the Southside Trail’s initial $16 million piece, which will extend off the Westside Trail’s southern terminus in Adair Park and bend three-quarters of a mile toward the Downtown Connector, near Pittsburgh Yards.
The other is the Westside Beltline Connector, to be built by the PATH Foundation, whose executive director recently told Curbed Atlanta that construction should begin in coming weeks near Georgia World Congress Center and continue through next year.
Beltline officials—who’ve caught flak for years from Atlanta urbanists frustrated with sluggish trail construction—noted in press release Monday: “This will be the first time in Beltline history that three major trail projects will be underway at one time.”