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Bill Kennedy Way Design
posted in Southside Trail // 05/13/16

On Tuesday, May 10, the southeast & northeast study groups were presented with options for the design of Bill Kennedy Way. Bill Kennedy Way, which runs between Memorial Drive and Glenwood Avenue, is part of the Atlanta BeltLine’s future Southside Trail, which stretches all the way to University Avenue. Bill Kennedy Way is unique in that this part of the trail, unlike the rest of the corridor, must be designed and constructed on a road and bridge that goes over the I-20 corridor.

The Master Plan for this area and other initial high-level designs for Bill Kennedy Way called for the trail to be on the west side of the road, where it would continue from the Eastside Trail terminating at Memorial. However, the popularity of the Eastside Trail and the arrival of new development around Glenwood Park and Reynoldstown spurred our teams to take another look at the plans.

Trail alignment

BKW - 1

Aligning Bill Kennedy Way on the east side would eliminate conflicts caused by the ramps to and from I-20. However, this would mean that the trail would cross from east to west at both ends of Bill Kennedy – i.e., onto the Eastside Trail after Memorial and back onto the corridor south of Glenwood. You can click any of the images below to view them in detail.

Constructing the trail on the west side of Bill Kennedy Way would allow for alignment with the Eastside Trail and the rest of the Southside Trail. It would also allow seamless access to the development at Glenwood Park. However, the trail would have to cross the I-20 ramps.

A hybrid plan calls for the trail to be constructed on the east side north of Faith Avenue, and to cross to the west side south to Glenwood. This also poses several advantages and disadvantages.

Road Configuration

Our team also requested feedback on the road configuration of Bill Kennedy Way in four segments: Memorial Drive to I-20, the I-20 bridge, I-20 to Faith Avenue, and Faith Avenue to Glenwood Avenue. The options assess user preferences for sidewalks, street parking, location of landscaping, and size of traffic lanes, among other things. Below is an example of road configuration options from Memorial to I-20:

Attendees of the meeting were asked to provide input on their alignment and configuration preference, and encouraged to offer feedback on the various options.

IMG_0050 IMG_0045 IMG_0034

Next Steps

Working with our consultants, the team at Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. will weigh the feedback from the community and assess the best approach to Bill Kennedy Way. The time-frame for design is six months, with more community engagement expected midway through the process.

You can view the Bill Kennedy Way renderings in their entirety here. The design process for the entire Southside Trail is underway, a four-mile trail that will connect the Eastside and Westside Trails. Design is scheduled for completion within the next two years.

Join the Discussion

  1. VV says:

    I would favor closing Bill Kennedy Way, removing the asphalt and freeway ramps, and transforming it into a trail, similar to the rest of the Beltline. Since the Beltline is supposed to be a pedestrian, bike, and transit-centered project, I feel that integrating vehicles would go against the explicit purpose of it. Since the road is only 1/2 mile long and it does not serve as a major thoroughfare, it should not have a massive impact on vehicular traffic. Also, there are fairly nearby crossing of Interstate 20 for cars, so removing Bill Kennedy way and turning it into a tree-lined portion of the Beltline would improve the feel of the neighborhood while increasing the comfort in using the Beltline. Please feel free to contact me about this proposal, as I would be open to discussing its potential further, in addition to the existing proposals, which I have reviewed.

    Reply | January 3, 2018 at 7:43 pm
    • JR says:

      Thank you for the feedback!

      Reply | January 26, 2018 at 10:09 am
    • Logic says:

      This comment is exactly right—Bill Kennedy Way is redundant as a freeway exit; it doesn’t go anywhere that people couldn’t get to from Boulevard or Moreland Avenue. The freeway exits are the problem; why not eliminate the problem instead of just trying to work around it?

      Reply | January 26, 2018 at 8:04 pm
    • WH says:

      I live at A&P, and currently face where the Beltline will run. I WISH this could happen! My goodness what a fabulous perk it would be to have a trail there instead of a line of honking cars!

      Reply | February 12, 2018 at 7:40 am
    • Linck Schlich says:

      I think the best thing to do for the beltline and for traffic int he area is to close blill kennedy way.

      Reply | April 4, 2019 at 1:02 pm
  2. Chris says:

    I was trying to ride my bike home on Bill Kennedy Way yesterday evening and the police had it closed off (it looked like a traffic accident). They would not let any pedestrians or bicyclists through. The nearest options to cross I-20 are Moreland Avenue (approximately 0.8 mile away) and Boulevard (also approximately 0.8 mile away). If Memorial, Moreland, and Boulevard were well lit, had bike paths, or even sidewalks in good condition I wouldn’t have much of an issue with it. But as I’m sure you all know, that isn’t the case, so I was forced to go out of my way and bike in relatively unsafe conditions to Moreland Avenue so that I could cross I-20. to get home.

    This needs to be addressed if the Beltline’s final ROW is directly over the Billy Kennedy Way overpass. What happens with many more people are using the Beltline and are trying to get across I-20? A vehicle accident should not halt pedestrians and bicyclists ability get around the city like this.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Reply | January 26, 2018 at 12:58 pm
  3. JW says:

    Has any decision been made? The timeline of 6 months would be around the beginning of 2017. I haven’t heard anything and it is already 2018.

    Reply | February 23, 2018 at 3:11 pm
    • JR says:

      Hi JW,

      ABI is still working on design with the City of Atlanta, GDOT, and partners. We’ll report back as soon as we have an update available.


      Reply | March 19, 2018 at 3:55 pm
  4. JA says:

    Have there been any additional updates on these designs or timelines since March? I bike past the new Fuqua parking lot/big box retail development at Madison Yards every day and am very concerned about the number of traffic (and likely car-centric) intersections that are going to inevitably be a part of this stretch of the Beltline with two car-focused developments hugging the interstate.

    Reply | August 7, 2018 at 3:36 pm
    • JR says:


      We continue to work with City Hall, GDOT, and all adjacent developers along the Bill Kennedy Way corridor. Specific to Madison Yards, we continue to work with the developer to determine if there are ways to improve the approved and permitted site plans for the pedestrians and cyclists. When we have something definitive to report out, we will reach back out to the community. Thank you for your continued interest in the project.

      Reply | August 29, 2018 at 4:25 pm
  5. Laura says:

    I believe that closing Bill Kennedy to auto traffic, closing both ramps and only allowing the streetcar and pedestrian traffic is the best way to insure the safety of the tens of thousands of visitors to the beltline.

    Leverage the extra-wide service ramp on I-20 W between Boulevard and Bill Kennedy Way for direct access to the Kroger shopping market for trucks and traffic. This prevents the trucks from going down Bill Kennedy Way but still gives them direct access without endangering the lives of the pedestrians on the beltline. The only way in and out would be direct from the service drive or Glenwood Ave. For Madison Yards, trucks can use Moreland entrance and exits and take Memorial Drive as opposed to the beltline.

    You then eliminate the light at the I-20 W off ramp on bill Kennedy Way
    You eliminate the need for the light at Faith and Bill Kennedy Way
    You eliminate the need for a light at the on ramp to I-20E and Bill Kennedy Way

    It is sad that I have to temper my recommendation with how you support the too large suburban-style commercial developments that were approved and built. A pedestrian friendly walking and biking trail should not require five different traffic lights, have an off and on expressway ramp and prioritize big box retailers over people. If you are prioritizing trucks over people, then it shouldn’t have been approved in the first place. It is unfortunate that the city of Atlanta did nothing to curtail this flawed design.

    Reply | October 2, 2018 at 12:26 pm

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