Atlanta BeltLine breaks ground on 1.2-mile stretch of Southside Trail
By Hannah E. Jones
The Atlanta BeltLine team kicked off the week with a groundbreaking, marking the start of paving a 1.2-mile section of the BeltLine’s Southside Trail. The sun was shining and the excitement was palpable among city leaders, the BeltLine crew and residents in attendance.
The Southside Trail is a critical component of the BeltLine’s overall connectivity goal and will link historically underserved communities south of I-20 to the rest of Atlanta. The current gravel trail is also popular among neighbors and students at nearby schools — like Maynard Jackson High School and Parkside Elementary — making the BeltLine essential for creating easier and safer routes to school.
The team estimates that Segments 4 and 5 of the Southside Trail will be finished by the spring of 2025. Segments 2 and 3, the final portion, are expected to go into construction by the end of the year. Segment 1 is already paved and open to the public.
After Segments 4 and 5 are paved, the trail will connect the Glenwood Park and Grant Park neighborhoods. Residents should expect closures during construction. Once complete, the multi-use trail will weave uninterrupted through nearly five miles of intown neighborhoods.
“The Atlanta BeltLine will truly be our connection to each other, allowing us easier access to communities that have historically been separated by infrastructure,” Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said during the groundbreaking event. “It isn’t just improving the connectivity between neighborhoods, this is equitable and sustainable development that should offer all Atlantans better business and employment opportunities.”
This section is also critical for tying together other pieces of the BeltLine. Once these two Southside segments are complete, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) President and CEO Clyde Higgs described, folks will be able to hop on a bike in Grant Park and ride the BeltLine to Piedmont Park in Midtown.
“The Southside Trail is what I like to describe as the holy grail of the BeltLine,” Higgs said. “Ultimately, this is going to connect the Eastside Trail to the Westside Trail.”
Councilmember Jason Winston added: “Many here weren’t sure if this day would actually happen, however thanks to ABI, we are marking the groundbreaking of what will be a pivotal point in providing much-needed mobility access for pedestrians, cyclists and [offer] relief to congested streets in District One. If you look around, you can already see the Atlanta BeltLine effect — Southeast Atlanta is growing and thriving.”
So far, nearly 16 miles of the 22-mile BeltLine have been finalized. Higgs hopes to have 80 percent of the trails under construction or completed within the next two years.
This is a busy time for the BeltLine crew. On Wednesday, March 22, the city will host a groundbreaking ceremony on the Westside Trail. Segment Four, a 1.3-mile stretch, is the final unfinished piece on the Westside.
Check out additional snapshots in Kelly Jordan’s slideshow below.
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