Construction Advisory: Closure of Gateway Trail, the connection between the Eastside Trail and Historic Fourth Ward Park

New City BeltLine Future Gateway Elevator and Stairs Rendering
A rendering by New City Properties that shows the future stair and elevator access point at the Gateway between the Eastside Trail and Historic Fourth Ward Park.

[Updated, July 8, 2020] The new development at 760 Ralph McGill situated in between the Eastside Trail and Historic Fourth Ward Park is about to get underway. On Wednesday, July 8, 2020, New City Properties began work to reconfigure the existing Gateway Trail – the U-shaped path that snakes through landscaped grasses and trees to connect the trail to the park. The Gateway Trail access point is now closed. Detour signage is posted near the construction site and at access points along the Eastside Trail. Trail and park goers will need to use one of the following options (maps below):

  • The staircase (which includes bike runnels) or elevator on North Avenue adjacent to Ponce City Market on the west side of the Eastside Trail (wheelchair accessible and approximately 900 feet down the Eastside Trail from the closure point)
  • The staircase just south of North Avenue and adjacent to the North + Line development on the west side of the Eastside Trail
  • The elevator in the courtyard of Ponce City Market that goes between the ground level and the pedestrian bridge to the Eastside Trail
  • The ramp on North Avenue adjacent to 725 Ponce and Kroger on the east side of the Eastside Trail
  • The stairs on Ralph McGill Boulevard on the east side of the Eastside Trail (approximately 600 feet south of the closure point)

Construction activity on the Gateway Trail reconfiguration is expected to take up to one year. The Gateway Trail will be replaced with a staircase (with bike runnels) and an elevator that more directly connects the Eastside Trail to Historic Fourth Ward Park. New City will continue construction on the office, hotel, housing, and retail components of the site, but is prioritizing the completion of the Gateway Trail reconfiguration and park access for Atlanta BeltLine users.

All businesses in the area will remain open and accessible.

New City and Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. are working closely with Arborguard to preserve the mighty oak trees on “Three Tree Hill” – the hill across the Eastside Trail from Common Ground and Telephone Factory Lofts. One of the methods will include vitamin injections to boost the heath of the trees.

New City is in the process of placing plywood construction fencing around the site, approximately 12 feet off of the trail.

New City purchased the former Georgia Power property in October 2017 with plans to build a mixed-use development on the 12-acre site.

Gateway Trail construction detour from the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail to Historic Fourth Ward Park.
Gateway Trail construction detour from the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail to Historic Fourth Ward Park.
Gateway Trail construction detour from Historic Fourth Ward Park to the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail.
Gateway Trail construction detour from Historic Fourth Ward Park to the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail.

10 thoughts on this article. Join the discussion below

  1. That’s really a step backwards for pedestrians and cyclists and for the natural habitat that’s been created with the existing Gateway trail. Major fail to benefit the developer.

    1. I could not agree more. This is a nightmare and defeats the whole purpose of the park. I don’t know who New Town is but I’m not a fan. Twelve acres wasn’t enough? It had just gotten lush enough to keep erosion at bay. Greed and Developers are a lethal combination for nature. The phrase “green space” is the first sign that you are about to see a lot of concrete.

  2. This is a terrible idea. It is not clear why the city would close an access point that is friendly to bikes, dogs, rollerbladers and individuals who cannot navigate a long staircase. Elevators are not a. Adequate substitute. Particularly in the midst of a pandemic. It is sad that the city caved to a developer instead of preserving an important access point as well as the foliage that made that access point unique. Clearly, it has placed the interests of a developer over those of citizens and residents in the area.

  3. Hi-

    I live near O4W park and am bike dependant (I don’t own a vehicle and use my bike for commuting and errands), which means I use the ramp almost every day to safely travel around Atlanta. I have an ebike, which is too heavy to use on the steep stairs by North Ave, and I expect that children and older people may have difficulty carrying their bikes up as well.

    Given that social distancing is so important right now and I try to avoid touching anything in a public space (as everyone should be these days), an elevator seems extremely out of touch with reality. Not only cyclists, but wheelchair users and those with strollers, will be forced to use the elevator. I think this was a poor decision and should be reconsidered. There was no public outreach or public comment period held to allow users to voice their concerns, which is also very concerning.

    Using an elevator adds complexity to bicyclists, wheelchair users, and those with strollers. There are many of these users on the ramp everyday as it’s the only one in the area, and I’d expect that there will be lines to use the elevator due to this. It also puts all of these users at higher risk for COVID-19. If the elavator is ever out of service, there will be no ramp to use nearby, creating a terrible situation for those reliant on a wheelchair or even unable to take the stairs.

    This decision was made so that a developer could have more land to build on, not with the best interests of users in mind. Closing this access point for a full year for construction and then taking away this essential ramp will disproportionately hurt vulnerable users and limit safe access to the Beltline and Historic Fourth Ward Park.

  4. As a resident of this area, I have to say this is an absolutely horrible plan. First of all, North Avenue is not a safe detour for this much pedestrian traffic (your graphics don’t even line up with a crosswalk), and the on-ramp is only wide enough for one bike at a time (or people have to use stairs). Secondly, why should the beltline be completely closed for that entire time period instead of the development making its way toward the path and the trail being blocked off? Thirdly, all these new businesses on that stretch of the path will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars for the year that it’s closed. Fourth, all the money used to accomplish this is a total waste for an already fully functional and coveted section of the beltline! How about you invest in the communities that were destroyed and eradicated because of the gentrification that the beltline organization is directly responsible for? “Yes let’s dig down 900 feet and add an elevator. People will love to use it instead of a pesky sloped trail”

  5. I, too, think it is a mistake to close the Gateway Trail. As a cyclist, I have used staircase runnels and elevators in other places, and I can tell you they are not good solutions at all–tricky to navigate and much slower.

    I also think the area should not become a forum site for Black Lives Matter. The beltline is a place where everyone comes together. Why point out our differences on the fence and the pavement? Let us SEE, as we use the belting, that we are more alike than different.

  6. Completely agree with the above comments. The elevator is a poor substitution for the existing path. If this was to go to a public referendum or vote I can’t see people being in favor. Very disappointing to see Atlanta Beltline put developer interests ahead of the public.

  7. I concur about how poor this plan is to remove a perfectly open, all-access path for walkers, cyclists, families, scooters, and roller bladers and replace it with stairs and an elevator. As a cyclist, this dramatically slows down my safe ability to get to/from the park to the Beltline. I wish this could be reconsidered given the path that is well designed and already there.

  8. Who OK’d this plan? Take a ramp that makes complete sense and turn it into a set of stairs and an elevator that makes no sense. This entire development is just so wrong on many levels. What can we do to stop this developer?

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