The Atlanta BeltLine justifiably generates plenty of buzz and headlines. But there’s much more to the region’s bike-ped network.
Communities across the region are adding to the well-over-200 miles of trails already in place in metro Atlanta, to develop what will be a comprehensive, connected trail network.
Let’s explore four of the most innovative projects taking place:
Confluence Trail Bridge: A Major Intersection that’s not for Motorists
A straight shot south of Spaghetti Junction, South Fork Conservancy is planning a similar major crossroads for pedestrians and cyclists, joining three major trails with a new neighborhood park.
The aptly-named Confluence Trail Bridge will link Buckhead’s Armand Park, located near Lindberg Drive, with the northside BeltLine Connector, as well as the North and South Confluence Trails that run along Peachtree Creek.
The 1.5-mile span will also do something else: bring greenspace to those who lack it. According to the project’s website, Confluence Bridge will “bring the South Fork [of Peachtree Creek] to two neighborhoods that have been ranked by the Trust for Public Land as ‘High Need’ for park access.”
And speaking of equitable access, the bridge will feature an ADA-approved ramp and steps.
Fun fact: The Confluence Trail is also the site of the South Fork Conservancy’s efforts to reintroduce the American Chestnut tree.
PATH400 Greenway Trail: A Bike Trip Across Buckhead
While many of the city’s trails connect parks, historic sites, and other greenspaces, PATH400 takes an unconventional approach. The paved trail, the first half of which is complete, runs parallel to Georgia 400—hence the name.
Most importantly, the project, spearheaded by Livable Buckhead in partnership with the PATH Foundation and Buckhead CID, will provide several major connection points to other regional trails. According to the PATH400 website, “[t]he multi-use greenway will eventually join with the Atlanta Beltline in the south and trails in Sandy Springs and north Fulton County, providing a key link in a regional trail network.”
The northern section links Tower Place to Wieuca Road, affording views of lovely neighborhoods on one side and the dramatic traffic of Ga. 400 itself on the other. The area nearest Wieuca Road includes murals with upbeat affirmations and a Little Free Library from Girl Scout Troop 16211.
Further south, a short trail of less than half a mile begins at Miami Circle’s back parking lot near Eclipse di Luna. It winds behind the many antique shops of Miami Circle, passes some small community gardens, crosses Sidney Marcus Boulevard at the Quick Trip and leads to Piedmont Road near the Lindbergh MARTA Station. One of the next trail segments—set to be complete this October—will connect Miami Circle to Lenox Square and offer an even more intriguing vantage point on Buckhead geography.
South Peachtree Creek PATH Trail: A Hidden Gem that Keeps Getting Better
Part of the PATH trail network, the South Peachtree Creek PATH Trail originally connected Mason Mill Tennis Center and Medlock Park. But in recent years, it has quietly evolved into one of the most interesting and accessible walking trails around the city.
The first phase included a bridge over railroad tracks, affording a view of the Historic Decatur Waterworks, including crumbling walls decorated with colorful graffiti and a small dam almost hidden from the view of passersby. More recently, additional sections have led under Clairmont Road to link up with Emory University, increasing the options for students and employees who commute by bike or foot.
But the crown jewel is the extension that leads from behind the Mason Mill tennis courts to North Druid Hills Road. The majority of this section is a wide elevated wooden walkway that gives visitors the sensation of traveling through the trees and looking down at the creek and wetlands. Of all of the different highlights of the city’s trail networks, it’s one of the best-kept secrets.
Bob Callan Trail: Small Link in a Crucial Chain
Cyclists, can you picture it?
A metro Atlanta where it’s possible to bike from Woodstock to Cumberland Mall, near where I-75 meets I-285, and then either into the city via the Atlanta BeltLine or west, all the way to Alabama, on the Silver Comet Trail.
Such grand dreams are achieved only piece by piece.
One crucial piece is the Bob Callan Trail. The trail is adding a new mile-long segment linking Marietta with the Cumberland Mall area.
The trail is a big deal because it’s part of larger system that includes partners from throughout Cobb County (including the Town Center CID’s Noonday Creek Trail and the City of Marietta’s Mountain to River Trail), all the way to the City of Woodstock and Cherokee County. Each community is building trails that will one day join to create a metro Atlanta that is more navigable on two wheels.
A project of Cumberland CID, the Bob Callan trail follows the Chattahoochee River through the woods, a perfect escape for a hot, summer day. Several boardwalk sections and one steel truss bridge spanning a small creek tributary will make up the trail, which will feature an overlook for viewing the shoals. It’s set to complete this summer.
What’s Next ATL, produced by the Atlanta Regional Commission, is a community resource that explores how metro Atlanta is growing and changing, and how the region is addressing its most pressing challenges.