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Photos: Explore Atlanta’s freshly opened Proctor Creek Greenway trail

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Initial stretch of the Westside path is a journey through nature and postindustrial relics

The freshly opened trail snakes over Proctor Creek, west of Midtown.
The trail snakes over Proctor Creek, west of Midtown.
Photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

This week, the initial stretch of the long-discussed Proctor Creek Greenway was officially unveiled for public use, marking the first project of its kind funded by Atlanta TSPLOST cash.

What’s open now stretches about three and 12 miles, but the greenway is expected to eventually link Maddox Park and the Beltline’s Westside Trail for seven miles out to the Chattahoochee River, with some 400 acres of green space alongside it.

At a Monday ceremony, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called completing the greenway “a priority of my administration,” while expressing relief that “a once overwhelmingly polluted waterway has been revitalized,” per the AJC.

A draft of the full project’s scope, potentially stretching from West End to nearly Cobb County.
Emerald Corridor Foundation

But the ceremony wasn’t without grumbles—and even protest signs—decrying the potential such amenities have for gentrification and displacement.

Come next year, portions of the Proctor Creek trail will neighbor public-accessible areas of the under-construction Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry, which is eventually planned to span 280 acres—with its own systems of pathways—as Atlanta’s largest green space.

So things are looking decidedly greener on Atlanta’s western front.

For this installment of the Visual Journeys series, let’s lace up some comfy shoes and meet the initial phase of the Proctor Creek Greenway:

Since Maddox Park was closed Wednesday, we start the Proctor Creek Greenway trek about eight-tenths of a mile in, across from the Bankhead MARTA Station off Gary Avenue.
Photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta
The trail is open from dawn until dusk.
Old buildings dot the lush green landscape as the trail keeps close to Proctor Creek at this point.
A crane takes shelter from the sun as it stands in Proctor Creek, an intown waterway that had struggled for years with pollution.
A dilapidated building sits along Proctor Creek. Former Major League Baseball star Mark Teixeira, a budding developer, and his partners have targeted this area for a massive redevelopment dubbed Quarry Yards.
A rickety industrial pathway crosses over the creek as the trail passes by the aforementioned dilapidated building.
The first clear view of Proctor Creek along the trail.
A sign reminds visitors to bring essential gear when hiking along Proctor Creek Greenway.
One of the last unencumbered views of Proctor Creek for a while along the trail with the view from Bridge #1.
An expansive view of Proctor Creek Bridge #1.
A small waterfall rapid at Bridge #1 as Proctor Creek wends toward the Chattahoochee River.
Proctor Creek Greenway bathed in sunlight as it makes its way through the woods.
The trail is bridged through a possible flood plain as it starts to gain a little elevation.
The greenway logo is placed along the elevated trail.
Rest areas with benches are sporadic along the greenway.
Midtown skyrises can be seen from a distance, looking back from the trail.
The trail passes by large transmission lines.
A hawk cruises the sky above the trail.
The trail crosses over Grove Park Place.
Fallen leaves are imprinted in the concrete of the trail beyond Grove Park Place.
Wending through pleasant woods.
The gently sloping trail finally gives another view of Proctor Creek after about a mile of woods.
An odd pile of rubble with bricks, cinder blocks, pieces of metal, and concrete along the trail.
Looking back to see the creek cut through a heavy thicket of trees and brush.
New residential construction overlooks part of the greenway. Behold the “Upper Westside.”
Some needed shade and another rest stop, off in the distance.
Cars pass by the crosswalk at Johnson Road as the trail continues on.
Out for a walk near Boyd Elementary School on Johnson Road, which neighbors the forthcoming Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry.
The last bend in the trail before the end of phase one near Sandford Drive.
The first section of the trail ends at 3.34 miles as it intersects with Sandford Drive. Stay tuned.