Northeast Beltline Connections Come Into Clearer Focus

The future of the Atlanta Beltline in Buckhead is beginning to take shape as officials overseeing the project gave an update July 27 on highly anticipated trails in the northeast section of the 22-mile pathway. Most notably, the online meeting gave updates on construction of current trail sections in the works while outlining the future pathway connection between the Beltline and the Path400 Greenway, a 5.2-mile trail network adjacent to Ga. 400.

The connection of the two trail systems received a notable boost in June when it was announced the Beltline is being awarded a $25 million federal grant through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. Additionally, the grant will fund the Beltline’s first direction connection to MARTA. Connecting the Beltline to regional transit systems was one of the original goals established for the trail network.

Where Buckhead meets the Beltline

Buckhead will connect to the regional Beltline’s more southeastern trails through Segment 3 of the Northeast Trail with four “connectors.”

Connector 3 is the shortest of these spurs but is perhaps the most significant for the Buckhead regional biking/walking trails system as it will connect the Beltline with Path400. Connector 3 will join other segments of the Beltline beginning with pathways underneath Piedmont Road NE. It then runs east along Peachtree Creek to connect with Path400.

Shaun Green, principal engineer with Atlanta Beltline, said the connection is “fantastic [for] regional trail connectivity” as this portion will link the Beltline, Path400, the Peachtree Creek Greenway and the South Fork Conservancy Trail.

The connector is currently in the design phase, Green said, which includes federal funding through the $25 million RAISE grant.

Green credited Livable Buckhead, which also led efforts to obtain the RAISE grant, during the July 27 meeting. The grant made possible the connection of the Beltline and Path400 under Peachtree Road. Without it, Green said, the trails would have been forced to connect along the roadway at an existing traffic signal. The grant also allowed for the direct connection of the Beltline with MARTA and opens the opportunity for an “affordable housing site” with a direct connection to the Beltline — which would not have been possible without the grant.

“Right now, we are focusing on our design so we can get to a construction contract advertisement,” Green said. “And we are targeting [construction to begin] in fall of 2024.”

Green suggested the design phase is intensive as the trails in this region must cross Peachtree Creek and several railroads.

This segment will meet with Connector 2, which runs 0.65 miles along Garson Drive NE to the MARTA Lindbergh station, establishing a link between the trails and MARTA.

These “connectors” will also be accessible from a 0.6-mile portion of trails beginning at Peachtree Creek near Kinsey Court NE and running east along Peachtree Creek to Piedmont Road NE.

Green also touted Connector 4, which will divert off Segment 3 at Armour Drive NE and follow the roadway past the Atlanta Track Club, Sweetwater Brewing and Fox Bros. Bar-B-Que.

“It’s going to be wonderful to have the connectivity,” Green said.

Additional trails slated for construction 

The Northeast Trail Segment 1, which will connect the Beltline to the more western portions of Buckhead, will include a trailhead at 10th Street and Monroe Drive. Green said the trailhead and connection to the existing Beltline trails will include intersection improvements that avoid sidewalk traffic, which he said will be particularly “helpful for cyclists.” Additionally, the crossing of the trail will be on a raised platform.

Completion for the 10th Street/Monroe intersection improvements will begin early next year and are expected to completed in September 2024. This portion will connect with Segment 2, which is currently under construction and expected to be completed “within the next few months,” Green said. Segment 2 includes pathways from Westminster Drive along Ansley Golf Club to Park Tavern at Mayson Street.   

Additionally, the project scope includes replacing the existing Carriage Trail paths in Piedmont Park with concrete trails, stormwater improvements, lighting and camera installation, landscaping enhancements, five connections to Piedmont Park and a paved connection to Cresthill Avenue.

The existing gravel trail at Piedmont Park will remain open with “few detours or interruptions during construction” and fully reopen once construction is complete, which is anticipated to be next fall, Atlanta Beltline’s presentation noted.

Visit the Atlanta Beltline website for the interactive project map.

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