Bicyclists and pedestrians could be traveling the PATH400 multi-use trail between Buckhead and Perimeter Center in about four years as a design process for a “missing link” recently gained Sandy Springs approval.

The Sandy Springs City Council on Nov. 15 approved $160,000 in matching funds for design of a PATH400 extension north of Loridans Drive to the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange. A transportation-targeted sales tax boost approved by Fulton County voters Nov. 8 is estimated to raise $5.5 million for construction.

Buckhead residents Dexter and Amanda Patterson take their regular Saturday run Nov. 19 on PATH400 at Ga. 400 and Lenox Road. (Photo Phil Mosier)

“This is a big step for our community. … This is really a monumental night tonight,” Sandy Springs City Councilmember Andy Bauman said, of authorizing a design start.

Councilmember Tibby DeJulio, who has walked PATH400’s existing segment in Buckhead, said, “The project they have down there is really wonderful,” and that he wants it extended into Sandy Springs as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, on the Buckhead end, a separate city of Atlanta transportation sales tax increase will help PATH400 expand faster and could build out other trails such as one planned to run adjacent to the Blue Heron Nature Preserve to Chastain Park.

Originally proposed as a 5-mile trail, PATH400 currently runs between Lenox and Old Ivy roads in Buckhead, and has phased extensions north to Loridans Drive either under construction or already planned.

Last year, the state Department of Transportation agreed to add a segment of PATH400 to its upcoming reconstruction of the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange. That piece would run between the Glenridge Connector and Peachtree-Dunwoody Road in Sandy Springs’ Pill Hill medical district.

That leaves the “missing link” section to be designed and built. Its exact route and timeline remain to be determined. Garrin Coleman, Sandy Springs’ director of Public Works, said the trail likely will take a year to design and construction may line up with the I-285/Ga. 400 project, which is slated for completion in mid-2020.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.