With construction underway for PATH400, a walking trail running roughly along Ga. 400, members of Livable Buckhead and the Path Foundation gave a tour of Phase 1 progress, which spans from Old Ivy Road to Lenox Road.

While that 1/2 mile section is expected to be completed late this year, the plan is that the entire 5-mile long trail that will extend from Loridans Drive to the Atlanta BeltLine will serve as the “spine” of the Buckhead Collection, a connected system of trails, parks and neighborhoods.

Phil Pellegrini, project manager for the PATH Foundation, which is overseeing the construction, talked about a possible future connection during the trail tour. (See above video).

“We’re working with the Chastain Park Conservancy and the Blue Heron Nature Preserve on actually making it connect from this point all the way to Chastain Park,” he said, which would involve connecting walkways through schools, across Roswell Road, behind Post Chastain apartments and to Lake Forrest Drive.

Bob Stoner, a boardmember of Livable Buckhead, said that connectivity isn’t just about green walking trails, but sidewalks and roads, too. “We’re using existing sidewalks and roads where possible to keep costs down, just to keep the flow going,” he said.

The trail is a partnership of the non-profit Livable Buckhead, the Buckhead Community Improvement District and the PATH Foundation. The entire cost is expected to be $10 million, and the trail sits on Georgia Department of Transportation right-of-way that the agency allowed to be part of the project.

The trail will be considered a park, with neighborhoods and new and future developments running alongside it having immediate access. With it’s proximity to the new pedestrian bridge at the Buckhead MARTA station, road improvements along Peachtree and eventual connection to the BeltLine, it has a goal of connecting Buckhead residents and pedestrians to the entire city.

The potential also stretches north of the city. “Sandy Springs is doing something on Abernathy [the Abernathy Greenway]; we know that Sandy Springs is watching us,” Stoner said. “We’re hoping that Alpharetta and Sandy Springs can eventually pick up where we leave off, and this trail could eventually go up to the green belt in Alpharetta.”

Pellegrini said that construction will include eliminating some of the overgrown foliage and ivy around the trees running between the trails and the neighborhoods, contributing to a more parklike setting.

“There are other opportunities with GDOT surplus property here to fold into the project so that you’re actually expanding the footprint of greenspace,” said Pellegrini, adding the he envisions adding amenities such as benches and exercise stations in little pocket parks around the trail.

He said the groups will welcome neighborhood participation. “Whether it’s garden clubs, or associations or just neighborhood groups, we’re going to have a palate for them to choose from.” He said that, similar to a homeowners association, the trail design team has come up with a palatte of design standards for benches, trash cans and signage.  “We see a lot of pepple that want to take ownership of this, which is great — we want the neighbors to embrace this.”

Ann Marie Quill

Ann Marie Quill is Associate Editor at Reporter Newspapers.

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