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Atlanta BeltLine, INC. (ABI) is moving forward with plans to add light rail transit to the 22-mile looped trail. The Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) on Monday, October 12, will start surveying the BeltLine “to begin engineering and to ultimately construct rail transit,” according to an announcement this week from ABI. MARTA will be collecting land survey information starting with the BeltLine Eastside Corridor (next to the Eastside Trail).
“You will see survey crews along the Eastside Trail, between Irwin Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue, for several weeks,” the announcement states. “While there will be minimal impact to trail users, please remember to be courteous and always maintain awareness of others (and remain a safe COVID distance) because the surveyors will occasionally be standing in the middle of the trail to collect their survey data.”
Connecting MARTA to the BeltLine has been a longtime mission of ABI — it was part of BeltLine Founder Ryan Gravel’s 1999 master’s thesis, after all. In late-2019, the City of Atlanta secured $2.8 million to kick off the light rail project. Those funds will specifically cover the surveying project that starts Monday. “It will also provide data that can help determine potential station locations,” ABI announced when the funds were first secured nearly a year ago.
It’s unclear when the rail transit would actually be built and where specifically the funding to move forward with the actual construction would come from. Reps for ABI on Saturday did not immediately respond to What Now Atlanta’s request for comment.