Atlanta BeltLine Inc. says it is seeking consultants to begin planning the Northwest Trail’s route through Buckhead and other areas, with a separate study of a transit route to follow.

ABI’s request for qualifications from possible consultants was announced March 8 without a specific planning timeline. A separate request for consultants to conduct a feasibility study of the transit part of the route will be issued in the spring, ABI said. The announcement comes as ABI is in the midst of a controversial call to create a special tax district to fund completion of the trail portion of the 22-mile loop around the city, which is intended to be paired with light-rail transit. ABI has said its current funding cannot cover the cost of building the entire trail.

An Atlanta BeltLine Inc. map showing the general proposed route for the Northwest Trail between the Westside and southeastern Buckhead.

The Northwest Trail would be a roughly 4.4-mile section of the BeltLine between the Peachtree Creek in Buckhead’s Armour area to Huff Road near the new Westside Park. The Northwest Trail would incorporate the already-built Northside Trail segment in the area of Atlanta Memorial Park and Colonial Homes. In the Armour area, the Northwest Trail would connect with the Northeast Trail, which is partly under construction along Monroe Drive but has run into complex right of way issues on the Buckhead end

The Beltline’s existing Northside Trail along Atlanta Memorial Park in Buckhead. (File)

The Northwest Trail route will be complicated, too, ABI said in a press release. It described “unique challenges due to existing active freight rail lines” that could mean the trail and the transit run on different courses. 

“ABI will be investigating creative alternatives to assemble the real estate for this corridor,” the press release said. “The work will likely include repurposing existing road and sidewalk infrastructure, using land adjacent to waterways, and actively working with property owners in this region.”

ABI in the release noted the opportunity to connect the BeltLine with such trail-only systems as Buckhead’s PATH400.

For more about the BeltLine project, see beltline.org.

John Ruch

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