Bikeshare could be used at COP bike depot.

Bikeshare could be used at COP bike depot.

For twenty-three years, PATH has been developing a system of greenway trails and cycle tracks that radiate from the city into the suburbs. Our partnership with Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. has produced several segments of the Atlanta BeltLine which will soon circle the city with a trail worthy of national recognition. Now that the PATH trails and Atlanta BeltLine Trail are taking shape, it is time to plan for the hub at Centennial Olympic Park (COP) to create the most fantastic trail network in the country. In order to have a vibrant, successful hub, the spokes of the system need to feel safe and lead to desirable destinations. The spokes we are presently developing meet the criteria:

John Portman Boulevard (Stone Mountain Trail Extension into downtown): PATH began developing the trail between Atlanta and Stone Mountain in 1993 in an effort to build a trail between the Olympic venues at Georgia Tech and Stone Mountain Park. This trail weaves through Freedom Park and continues along Highland Street to Piedmont Avenue and Baker Street, connecting the Eastside BeltLine Trail to downtown. PATH, in partnership with Central Atlanta Progress, and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District is presently extending this trail as a separated cycling facility into Centennial Olympic Park by eliminating a travel lane from John Portman Boulevard. This spoke will reach Centennial Olympic Park in 2015.

Westside Trail: In 1994, PATH and the City of Atlanta partnered to build the Westside Trail between Mosley Park and the Ashby Street MARTA station. The same partnership is utilizing a Transportation Enhancement allocation to extend this trail through Vine City to the new Atlanta Falcons stadium, including a spur to Atlanta University Center. PATH, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Georgia World Congress Center plan to extend the trail from Northside Drive through the old dome site into COP This trail will link southwest Atlanta and the Westside BeltLine Trail (being developed) into the hub at COP.

Cycle Track from West Midtown: The PATH design team is presently working with Georgia Tech, Coca-Cola, and the City of Atlanta to design a cycle track and pedestrian way from Northside Drive, along the Georgia Tech Parkway and Luckie Street into the park. The preliminary design involves converting the southbound Tech Parkway into a cycle track and wide pedestrian walkway and converting the northbound side of the Parkway into a two-way road. The preliminary plan also includes a cycle track on Luckie Street into COP. This spoke could be constructed in 2015 assuming the partners agree on a plan early next year. Centennial Park officials have suggested a circumferential cycle track around the park to connect the radial trails.

In preparation for these great connections into the city, PATH has been meeting with Centennial Park officials to determine the best location and design components for the hub. The PATH/COP partnership will refine the concept during 2015. Possible components of the hub include Atlanta’s bike-share program, water, air, and covered parking.

The PATH vision for the Centennial Park hub is a place where visitors to downtown can rent a bike and travel through the city and around the BeltLine. It would also be a place where Atlantans can ride in from surrounding neighborhoods, park their bikes, and visit the incredible venues around the park. There would be a new reason to go downtown: a bike trip to get there.

By the Spring of 2016, PATH and its partners will be directing thousands of cyclists into Centennial Olympic Park along John Portman Boulevard and Luckie Street. Soon after, even more bicycles will arrive from west Atlanta through the old dome site. It is time we prepared for their arrival!