Beltline Westside Study Group Releases Alignment, Design Details and Timeline for Washington Park/Bankhead Trail Extension

The plans released Monday night depict an alignment optimized for trail access, user experience and urban ecology.
Rendering: Atlanta Beltline
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After roughly a year of public engagement, analysis and design, the Preferred Concept for Atlanta BeltLine‘s latest segment has been released. The BeltLine’s Westside Study Group delivered the plans via a detailed presentation during a virtual public meeting on Monday, July 26th. The segment, known officially as Westside Trail Segment 4 and Westside Trail Extension North, will run approximately 1.3 miles from the existing Westside Trail segment ending at Washington Park to a segment currently under construction just north of Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, as well as an existing Westside Connector Trail leading to the Georgia World Congress Center.

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Barring any last minute changes, the preferred concept alignment will now head into the construction document preparation phase, slated to take about six months. Two more public meetings are scheduled to review the construction documents before the design is to be finalized in January of 2022, but a trail completion date is still to be determined. The trail design is being led by ALTA Planning + Design and overseen by Atlanta Beltline Project Manager Kristen Mansfield.

The Preferred Concept trail alignment focused on creating as many connection points as possible while minimizing the environmental impact and avoiding the need for a costly pedestrian bridge over MARTA‘s Green Line right-of-way. The concept plan depicts the trail heading north through Washington Park, turning east to traverse over the MARTA tunnel and then north again parallel to the MARTA tracks on the east side. The trail would then turn east again just north of the Azalea Gardens Apartment Complex before crossing under Hollowell Parkway and connecting to the existing Westside Beltline Connector.

The concept plan depicts nine total connections to the surrounding neighborhoods, including a “Gateway” entrance off Lena Street, several at-grade crossings and access ramps off of Hollowell Parkway. Notably, the preferred concept would vacate two segments of road to be transformed into trail: a short segment of Mayson Turner Road and a cul-de-sac named Washington Manor Drive.

Previous iterations of the trail alignment had depicted the trail running parallel to the MARTA’s tracks on the west side, however this alignment would have required the felling of more trees and the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the Green Line, according to project officials.

The trail itself would consist of a 1.3 mile, 14′ wide paved shared-use path, with amenities include native landscaping, various seating areas, public art and multiple plazas. The largest plaza would be located at the Lena Street Gateway, which would include a terraced landscape and seating zone, flex space along the trail for events, and a large shade structure. The plaza is designed to maximize access and integration with Washington Park.

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Map: Atlanta Beltline

Daniel Alvarado

Daniel Alvarado is an AICP Certified Urban Planner, transportation advocate, researcher and writer originally from San Antonio, Texas. He received his Master's Degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin, where his research focused on the intersection of green infrastructure and transportation. Daniel has been published by Decipher City, Progrss.org, and has contributed to dozens of comprehensive and transportation plans across the country.

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2 Comments

  1. Grant Park was the original cheerleader and funding partner and it clearly looks like the last to get the investment back. Lesson learned COA, that and the 1 cent and .05 increases in taxes for transit in the city for transit. No to anything else that the political heads think is good for us. I see now why Ryan Gravel separated from the Beltline group.

    1. Oh for goodness sake. And people wonder why it’s so hard to get anything done in this city.

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