After a false start last year, a project to connect the Atlanta BeltLine’s most popular segment with a bustling eastside transportation corridor is officially moving forward.

BeltLine spokesperson Jenny Odom tells Urbanize Atlanta the agency is seeking qualified firms to build an ADA-accessible ramp from the Eastside Trail down to Ponce de Leon Avenue and install streetscape upgrades along the busy avenue.

The ramp will allow BeltLine patrons quicker access to Whole Foods, a CVS on Ponce, Green’s Beverages, Ponce City Market’s front entrance, and other destinations. It’s been part of the Eastside Trail’s vision since it opened in 2012.  

Placement of the new ramp connection and a crosswalk near Ponce City Market's entrance. Courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

Planned for a hill on the north side of Ponce, between the CVS and BeltLine, the ramp system will look similar to Edgewood Avenue’s metal-ramp connection to the Eastside Trail where Old Fourth Ward meets Inman Park. The surface, however, won’t be serrated metal, in order to spare dogs’ feet, BeltLine officials have said.

The BeltLine has released an Invitation to Bid on the project and held a pre-bid meeting Wednesday. The deadline for bidding is April 13.  

“The next step will be to select a contractor and then get the project underway,” Odom wrote via email this week.

Beyond the ramp, a streetscape-enhancement project is planned for roughly a half-mile section of Ponce, spanning between Boulevard/Monroe Drive and John Lewis Freedom Parkway, as BeltLine civil engineer Nancy Newell explained during a meeting last year.

The goal is to improve pedestrian and cycling conditions at the confluence of four intown neighborhoods.

Existing bike lanes on Ponce will be milled and resurfaced, and flexible delineator posts will be installed in places throughout the project. Ponce bike lanes will be extended on both sides of the BeltLine, up to the entrance of the new Kroger in Poncey-Highland.

A sample of one section for Ponce de Leon Avenue upgrades. Courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

Tight right-of-way constraints and existing traffic-lane configurations on that section of Ponce will prohibit the bike lanes from being extended all the way to John Lewis Freedom Parkway, as Newell explained.

Today, bike lanes end just east of Ponce City Market.

Elsewhere, a new crosswalk will be installed in front of Ponce City Market, allowing BeltLine patrons connecting down to Ponce, or vice versa, to bypass car traffic entering and exiting the Midtown Place shopping center. Two raised medians will also be installed on either side of the BeltLine.

Expect trees and new lighting in buffers between sidewalks and the remade bike lanes. Traffic signals will be reconfigured at Boulevard, Glen Iris Drive, Midtown Place, and the entrance to Kroger and the 725 Ponce development, BeltLine officials specified last year.

Construction is expected to take about 18 months total, once it begins.

Rolling lane closures on the street and partial closures of the BeltLine—just north of the Ponce bridge—are expected.

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