Five years after Atlanta taxpayers voted in favor of funding a multipurpose trail that would provide several eastside neighborhoods a direct BeltLine link, the project is undergoing final tweaks for a potential groundbreaking within months, officials tell Urbanize Atlanta.

Officially called the Eastside Trolley Trail now, the PATH Foundation project will branch off the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail in Reynoldstown, wend eastward through Edgewood, and connect with existing PATH sections that were installed prior to the 1996 Olympics.

The result would be a seamless, nearly two-mile route for non-drivers from the doorstep of the Pratt Pullman District redevelopment in Kirkwood to the BeltLine, and vice versa.  

Eventually, the Eastside Trolley Trail could extend into Decatur. Its name is a nod to the historic Atlanta-Decatur trolley car line that once snaked through eastside streets between Cabbagetown and Agnes Scott College.    

“I think such a strong connector trail really needs to happen,” says Greta deMayo, PATH Foundation executive director. “I’m ready to have that one built.”

The latest scope of the forthcoming Eastside Trolley Trail project, with protected PATH Foundation portions shown in yellow. On-street sections are undergoing final designs at the city level. Courtesy of PATH Foundation

Jonathan McCaig, PATH Foundation’s project manager, said Eastside Trolley Trail plans and bid documents were submitted to the city for review about three months ago, and approval could take several more weeks. City officials reviewing the plans didn’t respond to requests for updates.

According to PATH Foundation leaders, the project will go out for bid later this year, with a groundbreaking expected in early 2022. Construction should take about a year.

Earlier this year, PATH agreed to build the trail for a maximum of $2.3 million, funded by TSPLOST dollars earmarked for improving transportation alternatives in the city. McCaig said final cost estimates won’t be known until the lowest bidder submits their proposal in coming months.  

The plans had been presented and vetted at four or five public meetings in recent years, McCaig noted.

One proposal for creating the trail from an existing street lane in Kirkwood, connecting with a wooded PATH section near Gilliam Park and the Pratt Pullman District. PATH Foundation; designs, Perez Planning + Design

Zooming in on specific sections, where the trail crosses busy Moreland Avenue, the Georgia Department of Transportation plans to install a dedicated signal for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Sections of the trail in Reynoldstown will remain on-street until the city and neighborhood determine the best route for connecting the project with the Eastside Trail. Elsewhere, the new trail will be protected with grass strips where possible, McCaig said.

Designs are still being finalized, but this is one alternate for bringing the trail through a busy Edgewood intersection next to El Tesoro restaurant, at left. PATH Foundation; designs, Perez Planning + Design

One tricky piece is along Arkwright Place in Edgewood, where street lanes often act as parking for popular El Tesoro restaurant.

McCaig said the trail is designed to be implemented directly in front of the taqueria, but on-street parking will be installed just to the east, between Arkwright Place and Montgomery Street.

The restaurant has “become the popular destination, and I think having a trail bring people to them versus trying to drive is really going to be a benefit, too,” said deMayo. “It’s tight. That whole project, in a built environment, it’s just challenging.”

Connection between Ponce, BeltLine's Eastside Trail to finally begin construction (Urbanize Atlanta) 

Trolley Line Trail study (City of Atlanta)