In late August, Atlanta Beltline, Inc. (ABI) and PATH Foundation publicly announced the prioritized alignment for the final segment of the Northwest Trail. This progress is a significant step forward for the Atlanta BeltLine’s newest section. One segment needed further analysis with the announcement of initial alignments in May.
Referred to as Corridor 6 in the Northwest Trail Feasibility Study, the alignment will run along Peachtree Park Drive and Bennett Street.
Over the past few months, ABI and PATH connected with an outside source to prepare an economic impact assessment, including considerable outreach and analysis through the Bennett Street business district. The community engagement featured digital surveys, one-on-one interviews, flyers, information packets and two Q&A listening sessions at the town hall.
“We are pleased to have an alignment selected for the full Northwest Trail and thrilled at the opportunity it presents for connectivity amongst many neighborhoods and business districts,” stated Clyde Higgs, President and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. “For the first time in our history, we have a defined path for the full 22-mile loop. Completing the trail brings us closer to building a more equitable and inclusive Atlanta.”
The Alignment Process
To determine the most practical alignments and proceed to the design stage, the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. split the Northwest Trail into western and eastern study regions. Beginning at the southern end of the Northside Trail in Ardmore Park, the western segments will travel across parts of the Tanyard Creek, under I-75, through Northside Drive as well as run parallel to the Hemphill Water Treatment Plant and Howell Mill Road. The Northwest section will finally arrive at the Westside Trail northern tip, Huff Road and Marietta Boulevard. Dividing the corridor into Segments 3,4 and 5 for operation brings the total mileage to 2.8 miles.
The eastern study region links the future Northeast Trail in the Amour-Ottley commercial district, across Peachtree Hills, to the Northside Trail by Bobby Jones Golf Course. The first segment will travel between Kinsey Court and Peachtree Park Apartments. Segment 2 had three options under exploration to connect between Peachtree Park Apartments and the Northside Trail beside the golf course. Corridors 6, 5 and 7 are the priority order of the feasibility study alignments.
Download the Northwest Trail Feasibility Study Addendum for the complete analysis.
Corridor 6 Received Strong Support
Throughout the initial report development and the three-month-long study period, Corridor 6 remained the most strongly supported option by the community among the three eastern corridors.
The guidelines for the study of Segment 2 were assessed based on the practicality of obtaining real estate, the simplicity of construction, as well as the status of the trail equity, community feedback and user experience. The assessment also considered the long-term benefits for nearby businesses and neighborhoods.
Joining the other segments, Segment 2 will now proceed to the design and engineering steps. The trail length total for the eastern segments will be 1.5 miles.
The Next Steps
For Corridor 6, the following steps will continue due diligence. These include exploring ways to cross Peachtree Road, surveying the community, looking for cost-effective solutions and examining the different design and engineering options. With Corridor 6 selected for prioritization, Corridors 5 and 7 are still on the table. As solutions develop for identified obstacles, challenges may arise that could require establishing another corridor for prioritization.
Click here to download the original Northwest Trail Feasibility Report.
Due to the absence of an abandoned railroad corridor, demands of careful deliberation and research with community feedback, the Northwest Trail remains one of the more difficult sections to fulfill. To avoid negative impacts on multiple communities, an evaluation through a microscope of inclusion and equity took place on prospective Northwest Trail corridors. ABI and PATH Foundation will continue to analyze the effects on Bennett Street, a bustling business district focusing on Black-owned businesses, as well as two Black neighborhoods, Bankhead and English Avenue.
Funding through the BeltLine Tax Allocation District (TAD), Special Service District (SSD) bond proceeds and philanthropic contributions, including $30 million recently announced by The Cox Foundation, helps fund the Northwest Trail.
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.
The mission of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. is to be the leader in transitioning Atlanta into a global hotspot for inclusive, sustainable and equitable city life. The Atlanta BeltLine is one of the largest, widespread redevelopment programs in the United States. By constructing a more socially and economically strong Atlanta, ABI collaborates with host communities and partner organizations through affordable housing, inclusive transportation systems, job creation and public areas for everyone. For additional information on Atlanta BeltLine Inc., visit www.BeltLine.org.