First, the good news: The Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail is nearly finished.
Secondly, this: A crucial gap of just a few yards is still pending construction. And that’s thwarting the entire last segment of the trail—a new off-street transportation and recreation corridor—from opening to the public.
Nearly seven years after the popular path (and development magnet) linking Midtown’s Piedmont Park to Old Fourth Ward’s Irwin Street opened for business, the trail is now paved almost all the way down to Memorial Drive, in Reynoldstown.
Unfortunately, the southernmost leg of the Eastside Trail extension is not quite pedestrian ready, as project leaders are working out the final kinks with Georgia Department of Transportation officials.
“The multi-use trail itself is substantially complete,” reads a recent post by Atlanta Beltline officials. “We need to complete the pedestrian plaza at Memorial Drive and install safety handrails on the bridge over Fulton Street/Mauldin Drive before opening to the public.”
Beltline planners are still waiting on a GDOT permit to finalize the work at Memorial Drive, which will feature a pedestrian scramble that allows trail users to cross the Bill Kennedy Way intersection in any direction—to the Fuqua-developed Madison Yards at the southeast corner, restaurants at the northeast corner, or toward the Atlanta Dairies development to the west.
Once the Beltline secures the permit, officials say the remaining work is slated to take up to a month. (A GDOT spokesperson did not respond to requests for more information on the project this week).
Paths connecting the new Eastside Trail extension down to Mauldin Street and Golden Eagle/Muchacho restaurants are also in the final stages.
Passersby might also notice that concrete has been poured for the trail south of Memorial Drive along Bill Kennedy Way.
That piece of the Beltline will link the Eastside Trail with the planned Southside Trail.
The Beltline procured $26 million worth of railroad-adjacent properties spanning from Glenwood Avenue to University Avenue back in March 2018, and project officials are now finalizing designs and looking for construction funding for the potentially $70 million Southside Trail.
The Beltline has to reach Memorial Drive first. Have a look at the area now: