Atlanta BeltLine Southside Trail Officially Under Construction

For the first time in Atlanta BeltLine’s history, three segments are under construction concurrently

Atlanta – Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced today the groundbreaking for permanent construction on the first segment of the Southside Trail, known as Southside Trail-West. This initial portion will extend the existing Westside Trail south and east to connect four open and emerging job centers – Pittsburgh Yards, Murphy Crossing, the Met, and Lee + White.

Atlanta BeltLine Southside Trail-West Groundbreaking - photo by The Sintoses
Ceremonial tossing of dirt at the Atlanta BeltLine Southside Trail-West groundbreaking ceremony. Photo by The Sintoses

Construction is expected to take approximately 12 months to complete. Work will include a 14-foot-wide concrete trail; trail access at Allene Avenue; a new trail bridge, an ADA-accessible ramp, and pedestrian crossing with signal at Metropolitan Parkway; lights and security cameras; utility relocations, environmental remediation of the corridor; stormwater infrastructure; granite retaining walls; and full landscaping.

The southside corridor opened in an interim state in August 2019. In September 2019, ABI posted an Invitation to Bid for a construction contractor to build out this first 0.75-mile segment of the multi-use trail. Astra Group, Inc. was announced in December as the selected firm. At that time, utility relocations and final permitting were already underway.

“All Atlantans deserve world-class amenities and public spaces throughout the city,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “This connecting trail represents our focus on advancing equity and revitalizing our communities. Not only will this enhance the Southside of our city by providing connectivity between our neighborhoods and job centers, it also supports our vision of One Atlanta. I am thrilled to share this with the residents of Southwest Atlanta.”

“The launch of construction today is another step towards unlocking mobility options along the southside of the Atlanta BeltLine,” said Clyde Higgs, President and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. “We are thrilled to be diligently furthering the connection between east and west while simultaneously building out two other segments of the Atlanta BeltLine trail.”

“Today marks a significant step in realizing the BeltLine vision of a more connected Atlanta that benefits all residents,” said Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Rob Brawner. “We’re especially grateful for our donors, who helped open the Southside Trail in an interim state, and we look forward to continuing to raise funds to complete the full BeltLine.”

“The communities in south Atlanta are excited and have anticipated this day for a long time,” said Atlanta City Councilmember Joyce Sheperd. “This expansion will bring growth, jobs, and revitalization to south Atlanta. I want to thank the Beltline and the City for your support and the vision that we have worked on for so long in my District.”

Atlanta BeltLine Southside Trail-West Groundbreaking - photo by The Sintoses
Heavy machinery marks the start of construction on the Atlanta BeltLine Southside Trail. Photo by The Sintoses.

The Atlanta BeltLine is supporting economic mobility and job growth that combats economic distress by connecting job centers in southwest Atlanta. Residents will have a different way to move through this community to new jobs created at locations like Pittsburgh Yards, Lee + White and other destinations.

The Atlanta BeltLine continues to spark affordable housing opportunities along the southside corridor. Some 558 affordable units are slated for construction or in the pipeline within the Tax Allocation District (TAD), one of ABI’s funding mechanisms. When completed, these affordable units will allow low- and moderate-income families to live near the Atlanta BeltLine and easily access major job centers, cutting down on transportation costs.

Additional units are under construction outside of the TAD, but within walking distance of the corridor within the BeltLine Planning Area. One example is Capitol View Apartments in Adair Park, where renovations are ongoing at an existing affordable housing complex immediately adjacent to the Atlanta BeltLine.

ABI continues to advance design, real estate acquisition, and funding sources necessary to construct the remaining length of the paved Southside Trail.

As a reminder, interim trails are unpaved, have limited access points, and do not have additional lighting. Visitors can use these pleasant retreats at their own risk and are encouraged to wear appropriate footwear or use a bicycle that can handle small gravel and other rough terrain.

Read more about the Atlanta BeltLine’s Southside Trail on beltline.org. Download a Southside Trail-West fact sheet with map.

Southside Trail map - January 2020

7 thoughts on this article. Join the discussion below

    1. Hi Charmaine – we do not yet have a start date for the remainder of the Southside Trail. We continue to explore funding opportunities, but if you have questions about specific fundraising initiatives, you can contact the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership at info@atlblp.org.
      Thank you!
      Jenny

  1. Maybe if all the politicians posing in the photo actually shoveled some dirt, the Beltline would be completed in my lifetime. Or maybe they can look at history and get some ideas.

    The First Transcontinental Railroad was a 1,912-mile continuous railroad line constructed between 1863 and 1869 that connected the existing eastern U.S. rail network at Council Bluffs, Iowa with the Pacific coast at the Oakland Long Wharf on San Francisco Bay. The construction of the TCC spanned the wild American West; bridging rivers; climbing or cutting through mountains; and dealing with angry local inhabitants. There was no heavy machinery to build the line. No steel bridges to build across rivers. Yes…They did have cheap Chinese and immigrant labor. Did I mention there was a Civil War going on at the same time? Yes it was a different time.

    Completion of 1912 miles of actual rail lines: 6 years

    While we cannot translate that time to now; perhaps there could have been some ideas from that could have come from this amazing accomplishment that could have translated to a quicker completion of this simple 20+ mile path of existing right-of-way. To encourage completion of the TCC, the federal government gave away land along the route for development. Towns and villages sprung up in the wilderness. The West was settled. Doesn’t that sound a little familiar along today’s Beltline?

    While giving away land along the Beltline is and was not an option, perhaps the beneficiaries (developers) along the Beltline could/should have paid their portion of the construction as incentive to get the project done quickly. The increased value of their property when completed would have paid more than paid for the trail to be completed years ago. And the city would have been collecting tax revenues sooner. Was our government more creative back in 1863?

    As for me, I will plunk down $50 and run the 10th Annual Eastside Trail 10K this December as usual. And based on the current Beltline schedule; I will continue to plod through the mud and trip over old railroad ties by Piedmont Park and wonder why it had to be this way.

  2. When will Southside trail between The Beacon development and Glenwood Park start? Why wasn’t that the first stretch for the South Side to be funded?

    How has COVID-19 impacted development so far?

    1. Hi Matthew – we don’t have an exact timeline for construction on that stretch, but it is currently in design. The first phase of construction on the Southside Trail began on the western end to join into the existing Westside Trail and to connect the existing and emerging job and retail centers of Pittsbugh Yards, the Met, Lee + White, and Murphy Crossing. Construction and design have both continued in the midst of the pandemic.
      Thanks!
      ~Jenny

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