Following three years of hype and roughly $43 million, the Atlanta Beltline’s Westside Trail was officially unveiled one year ago, as of next week.
Maybe that seems like yesterday. Or like several years ago. But 12 months later, this Westside segment is evolving as a quieter, leafier, more understated alternative to its boisterous crosstown cousin.
Linking Washington Park to Adair Park, the trail is dotted with 16 different access points—14 of them ADA accessible—sleek light posts and an embedded centerline that designates left and right lanes.
Shaded in places by trees and tunnels, it’s the peaceful antithesis of the Eastside Trail’s commercialism and crowds, where birdsongs and wildflowers are more prevalent than beguiled tourists and unruly pooches. Although on weekdays—and even the occasional weekend afternoon—certain stretches can seem a little lonely.
Then again, the trail is still a relative infant. And it’s pretty long, wending for three miles through historic neighborhoods, over hills, around a commercial node, and down the gut of a postindustrial corridor, which is coming to life as a brewery, food, and urban agricultural district, with the promise of trail-adjacent jobs and affordable housing on the horizon.
As this installment of Visual Journeys illustrates, the decorative grasses and ferns are starting to flourish, the saplings are growing, and art installations—both permanent and not—are taking shape.
Happy birthday, Westside Trail: