A fresh section of Atlanta BeltLine that links Piedmont Park to the southern fringes of Buckhead—and vice versa—has officially arrived.

Dignitaries including Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, BeltLine leadership, and state-level officials gathered Wednesday on a chilly morning in Piedmont Heights to cut the proverbial ribbon on the Northeast Trail’s Segment 2—or what Dickens called “one of the most highly anticipated segments of the overall BeltLine.”

It marked the first—and last—ribbon-cutting for a new section of the 22-mile mainline trail project this year.

Now stretching for 1.2 miles, the Northeast Trail’s first two segments improve or unlock off-street mobility for several intown neighborhoods, linking the northern edge of Piedmont Park to the Armour district near SweetWater Brewing Company’s longtime home.

Along the way the trail passes Ansley Mall and Ansley Golf Course, bridges over the Buford-Spring Connector (with tall new protective fencing installed), and swoops under 10 lanes of Interstate 85 before ending, for now, at Mayson Street.     

Spectators at Wednesday's ceremony on the new Northeast Trail section near Ansley Mall. Photo by Erin Sintos; courtesy Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

The new bridge installed across Clear Creek, north of Piedmont Avenue. Photo by Erin Sintos; courtesy Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

The Northeast Trail’s Segment 2 broke ground in May last year, and recent work has also provided the trail with lighting, landscaping, and security cameras the first finished section formerly lacked. Landscaping work is expected to continue throughout the winter.

With Segment 2 finished, the BeltLine reports that 9.4 miles of the planned loop are complete, joining 10.3 miles of connector trails around the city.

Eighty-five percent of the trail loop is scheduled to be finished or under construction by the third quarter of 2024, per the BeltLine’s forecast.

Segment 2’s completion marks “a significant milestone in navigating major infrastructure that has historically divided us,” Clyde Higgs, BeltLine president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “This paved trail crosses the largest highway to date on the BeltLine, I-85, weaves together our communities, [and] paves a prosperous pathway for our vibrant business community.”

Protective fencing installed where the Northeast Trail crosses over the Buford-Spring Connector. Photo by Kerri Parker; courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

Photo by Erin Sintos; courtesy Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

In roughly a year, the fresh section of trail is expected to tie into Northeast Trail Segment 1, which broke ground in August in Piedmont Park.

BeltLine patrons should take note: Accessing Piedmont Park via the new Northeast Trail segment will be somewhat tricky for the foreseeable future, requiring travel on a gravel path.

The northernmost section of Segment 1 is claiming the so-called Carriage Trail, a park access point through woods near Atlanta Botanical Garden. Construction to replace the Carriage Trail’s cracked asphalt and the removal of select trees is ongoing, barring the public from entering it.  

Another point of interest—a planned bridge project connecting the backside of Ansley Mall to the Northeast Trail—has not yet established a construction schedule. That Selig Enterprises project will mark the largest trail “gateway” built by an adjacent property owner to date, according to BeltLine officials.   

Once finished, the full Northeast Trail promises to be a handy off-street link between Midtown and the Lindbergh (aka Uptown) area, in addition to places like the Cheshire Bridge Road corridor.

Another ceremony attendee, Piedmont Heights Civic Association president Bill Compton, expressed this decidedly non-NIMBY sentiment as part of the BeltLine’s ribbon-cutting announcement: “We’re excited to have the BeltLine open in our community, not only for the significant increase in greenspace, but also for the increased connectivity within our community, to our neighbors to the south, as well as to Armour Yards and—eventually—Lindbergh Center to the north.”

Dignitaries including Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and BeltLine CEO and president Clyde Higgs (center) at Wednesday morning's ceremony. Courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

Current look of the first completed Northeast Trail segment and the "instant forest" planted by Trees Atlanta earlier this year. Photo by Kerri Parker; courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

As shown in August, concrete has been installed behind Ansley Mall and neighboring commercial properties, with a ramp complete between the new trail and Piedmont Avenue. Photo by John Becker; via Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

Yellow represents the initial completed section of the BeltLine's Northeast Trail, stretching from Ansley Mall to almost Interstate 85. The next phase of work, now open, is shown in dotted blue.Atlanta BeltLine Inc.


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