Atlanta Region Playing Catch-Up

Scores of bike/ped projects flying off the drawing board

A decade or two ago, the Atlanta region was still spreading its wings as people moved further and further into the burbs and solidified their dependence on cars for transportation. Many neighborhoods were built without sidewalks and certainly without trails or bike lanes. Some MARTA stations were motorized vehicle islands without sidewalk connections to nearby neighborhoods.

All that is changing and changing very fast. At the 2013 Atlanta Regional Commission State of the Region breakfast, a study was released that declared the end of sprawl and the emergence of development based on walkable, bikeable communities where cars may become optional.

Chris Leinberger, a distinguished professor at George Washington University, told the State of the Region audience Atlanta was a hot bed for walkUPs (walkable urban places) because we were playing catch up. He thinks Atlanta is poised to be a leader in this development form. “Atlanta embraced the driveable suburban market model and you excelled in that,” he said. “That was the reason you became hotlanta. That was then and this is now.”

For the first time ever, a majority of new office space and residential development in metro Atlanta is in walkUPs rather than sprawl development. Area planners are jumping on board with new and improved sidewalks, innovative bicycle facilities on the road and more multi-use trail projects that will better serve the new development form. The City of Atlanta has embarked on a multi-million dollar bicycle facility improvement plan that includes development of additional bike lanes, cycle tracks, and other cycling facilities previously found only in Europe and more progressive cycling cities in the U.S.. Almost every county and city in the Atlanta region has reassessed their priorities and diverted resources to making walking and biking safer and easier. Here are just a few of the exciting new trail projects involving PATH as the private partner.

A new public-private partnership with Clayton County may result in a county-wide trail master plan and a model mile demonstration project in Clayton County.

 Potential New Trail Projects Involving PATH

The new PATH/Cumberland CID/ City of Atlanta partnership will build a trail from Mt. Paran Road at Northside Parkway to the National Recreation Area along the Chattahoochee and beyond. Funding is in place for design & engineering.

 The town of Brookhaven has interest in developing a trail along the North Fork of Peachtree Creek from Century Center to Lenox Road. PATH may partner with Brookhaven to advance this proposal.

 PATH is working with the City of Atlanta to develop a trail connecting Civil War monuments in East Atlanta. Transportation Enhancement funding is in place to connect Memorial Drive to Glenwood Avenue and East Atlanta Village.

 PATH is partnering with the East Decatur Greenway, DeKalb County, and City of Decatur to build a trail from the Avondale MARTA station southward along Katie Kerr Drive to the Friends School and Columbia Drive.

 DeKalb County has interest in extending the South Peachtree Creek Trail to Clairmont Place on Clairmont Road. PATH is finalizing design and engineering this month.

 The City of Anniston, Alabama wants to extend the Chief Ladiga Trail into the Amtrak station in downtown Anniston. PATH may partner with Anniston to extend the Silver Comet/Chief Ladiga Trail 8 miles which would create a century-plus ride from Atlanta to Anniston.

 The City of Conyers wants to extend the Olde Town Conyers Trail north from Olde Town to the schools and Pine Log Park. PATH will likely work with the City to build this trail.

 The City of Atlanta plans to extend the 10th Street Cycle Track to West Peachtree. PATH will partner with the City as needed to complete this project.

 The City of Atlanta and PATH can proceed with plans to connect the Atlanta BeltLine to Centennial Olympic Park from the west now that the Falcon stadium site has been selected.