For the first time in the project’s history, the Atlanta BeltLine has identified the specific route it will take to complete its entire 22-mile loop around the city.
During a public meeting Tuesday, BeltLine and PATH Foundation officials revealed the full prioritized alignment for the future missing pieces of the multi-use path system in Buckhead, collectively known as the Northwest Trail.
Consisting of five unbuilt segments, the Northwest Trail will eventually span 4.3 miles and connect the BeltLine’s Westside Trail around to the Lindbergh/Uptown area.
Prior to this week, exactly where Segment 2—a section that crosses Peachtree Road near Piedmont Hospital—would be built remained the only question mark.
The preferred route, known as Corridor 6, will run alongside Peachtree Park Drive and Bennett Street, looping a longstanding business district into the BeltLine route, officials announced today, following a three-month study period. That option had the most community backing among people who live and work in the area, according to BeltLine officials.
The decision comes after an outside consultant brought in by the PATH Foundation and Atlanta BeltLine Inc. conducted an economic impact study and survey pertaining to the Bennett Street business district, per BeltLine officials.
Evaluations focused on the “feasibility of acquiring real estate and ease of construction” plus “the quality of the trail-user experience, equity, and community feedback, taking into consideration the long-term benefits for the surrounding neighborhoods and businesses,” per a BeltLine announcement today.
Segment 2 will be a link between the Peachtree Park Apartments to the east, and the existing Northside Trail that runs beside Bobby Jones Golf Course, with a PATH trail looping the course. The eastern segments of the Northwest Trail will collectively span 1.5 miles.
The next step calls for moving all unbuilt segments of the Northwest Trail into design and engineering phases, per the BeltLine. It’s been called one of the trail’s more complicated sections, as it lacks abandoned rail corridor in which to build the multi-use path.
Timelines for Northwest Trail construction and completion haven’t been specified.
The other two options for Segment 2—Corridors 5 and 7—aren’t entirely off the table, however, should designers encounter surprise obstacles with the route announced this week. Exactly how the trail will cross Peachtree Road, for instance, is one aspect that’s still TBD.
Funding for the Northwest Trail will be sourced from the BeltLine’s Tax Allocation District, Special Service District tax proceeds approved by the city last year, and philanthropic donations that include $30 million announced by The Cox Foundation in May.
Clyde Higgs, BeltLine president and CEO, noted in a press release the agency has “a defined path for the full 22-mile loop” for the first time, and that completing the circle will bring the city “one step closer to building a more equitable and inclusive Atlanta.”
• Recent Buckhead news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)