In 1991 about the time PATH was organized, the Georgia Department of Transportation was wrestling with neighborhoods in an attempt to build Georgia 400 through Buckhead from I-85 to I-285. We approached GDOT then about adding a trail to the corridor to complete the multi-modal package and make Georgia 400 something really special. (GDOT was already planning to have MARTA transit running down the center of the highway).
In 1991, PATH had no credibility, trails were not as chic as they are today, and GDOT was not in the mood to approach angry property owners for additional right-of-way for a trail. As a result, Georgia 400 was built and PATH put the effort to connect Buckhead to Atlanta’s trail system on hold while we built trails elsewhere.
Thanks to the effort by ‘Livable Buckhead’ and the Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID), PATH may yet build a trail from Buckhead into the City.
In 2010, the CID commissioned a study to identify opportunities for greenspace and trails in Buckhead. The Livable Buckhead effort at the Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association (BATMA) revisited the vision of building a trail parallel to Georgia 400. Denise Starling, Director of BATMA, identified PATH as a logical partner to implement the project. PATH will likely raise private funding to develop the trail as well as help manage construction.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity to connect neighborhoods north of Buckhead to the commercial district, Lenox Mall, the Lindbergh MARTA, and ultimately to the Atlanta BeltLine.” said Ed McBrayer, Executive Director of PATH. “Buckhead has few parks and very little greenspace. The trail proposed will help create a linear park that will connect Buckhead to other greenspaces throughout the city. The proposed connection to the Atlanta BeltLine is huge.”
PATH and Livable Buckhead envision a spur from the trail across the Gordon Bynum Bridge to Lenox Mall and a bike arrival station next to the mall. The arrival station would include covered bike parking, air, water, vending, and stroller rentals. A proposal to develop the spur trail and bike station will be made to the mall owners later this year.
Livable Buckhead and PATH are co-managing the pre-construction phase of the project. Planning, design, engineering, and public involvement will begin this fall. If all goes well the first segment of the six mile-long trail will be underway in 2012. The partnership plans to complete the entire trail from Loridans Drive to Peachtree Creek in 2015.