A rendering of the 25-acre Midtown Connector park. (Courtesy MCP Foundation)

The nonprofit MCP Foundation has launched a new website and will hold a series of virtual community conversations about its ambitious plan to cap the Downtown Connector from 10th Street to North Avenue with a 25-acre park.

The park would also reconnect a number of surface streets broken in the late 1950s when I-75/85 was built and divided the city. Ponce de Leon Avenue, 4th Street and 6th street would bisect the park at grade. A winding, raised walkway would mean pedestrians and bicyclists could traverse the length of the park uninterrupted by vehicle traffic.

A view of the Midtown Connector from 6th Street.

The cost of the project is unknown, but there are estimates of $800 million to more than $1 billion.  Also still being determined is how the Georgia Tech campus will be affected, since the project will require the removal of buildings to allow for structural requirements to support the platform and extend Techwood Drive north of 6th Street to connect with the existing portion that is north of 10th Street.

With the MCP Foundation team, which is led by former Atlanta BeltLine CEO Paul Morris,  now two-thirds of the way through a three-year feasibility study for the project, a series of virtual information sessions discussing facets of the Midtown Connector Transportation Improvement Project are planning for the coming weeks and months. You can sign up on their website for e-mail updates about the sessions.

A view from the elevated walkway that would wind through the park.

MCP Foundation held an initial public information open house last summer, which garnered more than 4,000 visitors and generated a number of questions and concerns addressed at this link.

Georgia Tech, Midtown Alliance, and the Georgia Department of Transportation are  providing technical support and guidance on the project. Midtown Alliance released this statement on the project on Feb. 23:

“Midtown Atlanta is a great place for visionaries who dream big, and by any measure this is a bold and ambitious project. The role of the Midtown Alliance is to help explore and vet ideas that have the potential to meaningfully enhance the vibrancy of this community and our city. We appreciate the feasibility work that’s been done to date with a goal of improving transportation, mobility, access and providing open space for all. We have taken no action on this proposal and look forward to being a part of a public dialogue.”

The idea to cap Atlanta’s divisive interstates isn’t a new concept. There’s the on-hold “Stitch” project that would cap part of the interstate in Downtown, the proposed park over Georgia 400 in Buckhead, and even a plan to cap I-20 and reconnect Grant Park.

For more about the project, visit ABetterConnector.com.

More detail of the Midtown Connector.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.