Northwest Corridor – BeltLine Trail Alignment Study

CSX Freight Corridor – Huff to Armour Rail and NS from Howell Mill to Armour Rail // Subarea 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Completing the Northwest BeltLine is a key objective for the Atlanta BeltLine, and will close the 22 mile BeltLine loop by connecting the Westside Trail to the Northeast Trail. Atlanta BeltLine, Inc’s (ABI’s) engineering and real estate teams are working with the PATH Foundation to investigate alignment alternatives for both trail and transit.  The trail and transit consultants will be procured and contracted separately but will be working seamlessly together to define the corridor alignment. ABI will publish a Request for Qualifications to study transit alignments, which will be funded through a Federal Transit Authority grant.

The Northwest corridor presents unique challenges because the existing rail corridors in this area are in use.  The CSX corridor starting from approximately Huff Road to the MARTA Armour Rail Yards is one option; the other is the Norfolk Southern (NS) corridor starting approximately from Howell Mill Road and ending at the MARTA Amour Rail Yards.  While we will study alignments alongside the existing rail corridor, particularly for the transit alignment, the preferred alignment for trail will likely be a better experience for users if it does not run adjacent to active rail lines.  Atlanta Beltline will be investigating creative alternatives to assemble the real estate for this corridor.  The work will include repurposing existing road and sidewalk infrastructure, like the in-progress Westside Trail Segment 3 conversion of Marietta Boulevard.  Using land adjacent to water ways such as the completed Tanyard Creek segment is another possibility.  We are also actively working with property owners in this region, particularly where large tracks of land are available with limited curb cuts or driveways.

PATH Foundation’s trail alignment study will examine both alignments and assess the feasibility of the BeltLine transit co-existing with freight corridor operations then make a recommendation on the preferred alignment. Length of corridor: 4.4 Miles

Atlanta BeltLine design and construction updates: September 2021

Rendering of the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail along Marietta Boulevard looking south.
Rendering of the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail along Marietta Boulevard looking south.

Project Status

  • Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. ABI is collaborating with PATH Foundation for the latter to conduct the alignment study of the Northwest Trail.
  • Eight options are under consideration organized into three main corridors. ABI and PATH Foundation held the first public meeting on May 26, 2021, to discuss and receive feedback on the alignment study. You can download the presentation here and view a recording of the meeting here.
  • ABI and PATH Foundation held a second public meeting on August 2, 2021 to present the latest – and receive feedback on – the alignment study of the Northwest Trail. You can view the presentation here and watch the meeting recording here.
  • In September 2021, ABI secured an easement with QTS in the Knight Park/Howell Station neighborhood for future Atlanta BeltLine corridor needs. ABI is currently studying this area with the PATH Foundation to identify possible alignments for future Atlanta BeltLine mainline or spur trails.
  • The next public meeting will be held in November.

Project Timeline

Setpember 2020
Reallocation of $2.8 million in FTA funds confirmed with Region IV staff and documented with an amendment
April 2021
PATH Foundation launched trail alignment study
November 2021
Third and final public input meeting on trail alignment study
Fall 2021
Expected completion of trail alignment study
Post RFQ for Transit Work (contingent upon FTA transfer of funding)

Last Updated: September 28, 2021