Atlanta BeltLine's Eastside Trail Officially Opens Today
The Eastside Trail's completion, along with that of the two completed trails creates six miles of walking paths.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will lead the official dedication of the Atlanta BeltLine's Eastside Trail at 10 a.m. today at the intersection of the Atlanta BeltLine corridor and the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark, located at 830 Willoughby Way.
"The opening of the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail will be a revelation for Atlantans who can traverse their city, neighborhood-to-neighborhood in unprecedented fashion," Reed said in a statement.
"This world-class public space is the result of great public-private partnerships. It creates new mobility options, lays the foundation for transit along the Atlanta BeltLine, promises improved health and enhanced neighborhoods, and is already spurring sustainable economic growth and development."
The Eastside Trail, which comprises a 2.25-mile-long section of the Atlanta BeltLine:
- runs from Irwin Street to 10th Street and Monroe Drive
- connects the neighborhoods of Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, Midtown, Poncey Highland and Virginia Highland
- contains a 14-foot wide concrete trail and 30 acres of landscaped greenspace
- includes spaces for both public art and naturalistically designed exercise station
- connects Piedmont Park to Freedom Park and Historic Fourth Ward Park and Skatepark
- connects to the PATH Foundation trail running from Stone Mountain to downtown.
The completion of the Eastside Trail combined with the first two trails on the Atlanta BeltLine - the West End Trail and the Northside Trail - brings the total of permanent trails to nearly six miles along and near the corridor.
This is the first phase of development for a corridor which will eventually contain all of the elements of the Atlanta BeltLine vision — pedestrian-friendly transit, a multi-use trail, greenspace and connectivity with surrounding developments and neighborhoods.
This also is the first section of the old rail corridor to be developed. As part of the project, significant underground infrastructure was installed before work on the trail itself began.
This work included a utility duct bank that will help carry power for lighting and transit as well as current and future utilities that use the corridor; retaining walls to maintain the width of the corridor for both transit and trails; the installation of a new bridge for the trail over Ralph McGill Boulevard and the remediation and rehabilitation of the historic rail bridge over Ponce de Leon Avenue.
Since 2006, there has been more than $775 million in new private development either completed or underway within a half mile of this section of the Atlanta BeltLine.
This phase of construction was made possible by partnerships between the Atlanta BeltLine, the City of Atlanta, Invest Atlanta, and private donors Kaiser Permanente Georgia, Sarah and Jim Kennedy/PATH Foundation and Trees Atlanta. The PATH Foundation serves as construction manager for this project and Astra Group is the contractor.
The Eastside Trail is currently being featured as part of the Art on the Atlanta BeltLine exhibit, which kicked off on Sept. 8 and ends on Nov. 11. In addition, the trail will be part of the route for Atlanta Streets Alive on Oct. 7, and the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside 10K on Dec. 1.
During October, crews will still be putting finishing touches on sections of the trail, including intersection improvements, hand rails, retaining walls and slope containment. Landscaping will begin in mid-fall with the planting of new trees. Landscaping will continue into the spring with the planting of native species of flora.
When complete, more than 100,000 people will live within half a mile of the Atlanta BeltLine, which will connect 45 of the city's neighborhoods via 1,300 acres of parks, 33 miles of trails and $45 million in streetscape and intersection improvements.