With help from PATH400 and the Georgia Department of Transportation, the cities of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody could one day be connected via multiuse trails to Atlanta’s BeltLine.
“Good stuff is happening with [PATH400],” Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, said at a recent North Buckhead Civic Association meeting.
With Phase 1 of the trail that runs along Ga. 400 complete from Lenox Road to Old Ivy Road, the organization is now working on Old Ivy to Wieuca, with future phases including Sidney Marcus to Miami Circle; Wieuca Road Mountain Way Common; and Lenox Road to Peachtree Road via Tower Place Drive and will eventually connect to the Atlanta BeltLine.
Additionally in Brookhaven, work is underway on a trail along the north fork of Peachtree Creek which will eventually stretch as far south as the place the BeltLine and PATH400 will converge, and as far north as Duluth.
But with pressure from cities like Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, who want to connect to the PATH400, that trail could also go north.
“There’s a lot of pressure now coming from Sandy Springs and Dunwoody to connect in to [the trail],” Starling said. “They are loving the idea of being able to access PATH400 and get to the BeltLine.”
City officials in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Brookhaven as well as local non-profits and chambers have recently signed resolutions urging GDOT to allow expansion of the trail network through the Ga. 400/I-285 interchange.
To extend north into the suburban cities, PATH400 will need to cross I-285, which requires the cooperation of the Georgia Department of Transportation, which is planning a major revamping of the Ga. 400 and I-285 interchange.
Ed McBrayer, executive director of the PATH Foundation, which is working on PATH400 with Livable Buckhead, said that his group met with GDOT several weeks ago, and the transportation agency said it would not preclude provisions for trails in its plans. He said his group plans to meet with GDOT again soon.
McBrayer wrote in a recent column for Reporter Newspapers, “This interchange divides Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Brookhaven into four islands with virtually no safe connection for pedestrians and cyclists. This is a perfect place to start knitting the region back together on a human scale.”
He said he’s hopeful that as the interchange is being built, trails can be constructed along Ga. 400 extending PATH400 and also east-west along I-285.
“I think there’s been a lot of interest from all different organizations and cities,” McBrayer said. “I haven’t heard anybody that thinks it’s a bad idea and I don’t think GDOT thought it was a bad idea.”