The PATH Foundation is taking over the process of planning the Atlanta BeltLine’s Northwest Trail route through Buckhead and other areas. 

Atlanta BeltLine Inc., the group overseeing the trail-and-transit loop, says the change “is expected to significantly shorten the schedule for this phase of work,” though no timeline details have been released. And the change allows ABI to devote money to eventual design or construction instead, the group said.

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

ABI will still manage a public input process and a separate study on a light-rail transit route to follow in the spring, according to a press release. The trail and transit route studies will be “seamless,” ABI said.

ABI announced the Northwest Trail planning almost exactly one month ago while it was seeking Atlanta City Council approval of a “special service district” tax increase. The 2-mill property tax increase for commercial properties and apartment complexes roughly within a half-mile of the BeltLine, approved March 15, is necessary to pay for completion of the 22-mile loop around the city, ABI says.

The PATH Foundation is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that also builds pedestrian trails. Due to PATH taking on the Northwest Trail responsibilities, ABI said it has canceled its own request for qualifications from consultants. 

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

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.