Here’s the route the Beltline could take through NW Atlanta into Buckhead

A rendering showing what the Beltline could look like cutting under I-75 in northwest Atlanta.

Combined ShapeCaption
A rendering showing what the Beltline could look like cutting under I-75 in northwest Atlanta.

The Atlanta Beltline on Thursday unveiled the route it believes is the most feasible way to traverse through northwest Atlanta into Buckhead — part of a complicated segment that will eventually complete the Beltline’s loop around the city.

The path that, according to a yearlong study, would be easiest to build, runs from the end of the planned Westside Trail near Westside Park, east through Blandtown, just north of the city’s water reservoirs, across Northside Drive, under I-75, through part of the Ardmore and Brookwood area and connecting to the south end of the existing Northside Trail.

Officials said during a public meeting Thursday that they plan to move forward with surveying and in-depth engineering studies on that corridor of the Northwest Trail.

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This path, outlined in dark blue, is the top-ranked route for the Beltline's Northwest Trail.

Credit: Courtesy/Atlanta Beltline

This path, outlined in dark blue, is the top-ranked route for the Beltline's Northwest Trail.

Credit: Courtesy/Atlanta Beltline

Combined ShapeCaption
This path, outlined in dark blue, is the top-ranked route for the Beltline's Northwest Trail.

Credit: Courtesy/Atlanta Beltline

Credit: Courtesy/Atlanta Beltline

“We’ll be having more community engagement on this, of course, as we go,” said Shaun Green, a senior transportation engineer for the Beltline.

The agency, however, said it needs more time to study another portion of the Northwest Trail, a stretch that will traverse from the east side of Bobby Jones Golf Course to the Peachtree Hills neighborhood. The Beltline is considering several options to go through Buckhead neighborhoods, and said there are still too many unanswered questions about the feasibility of those options.

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A map created by the Beltline shows all of the possible routes for the Northwest Trail. The Beltline the preferred corridors ranked by feasibility are: 2, 1, 4 and 3. Officials are still studying which is the preferred choice among corridors 5, 6 and 7.

Credit: Atlanta Beltline

A map created by the Beltline shows all of the possible routes for the Northwest Trail. The Beltline the preferred corridors ranked by feasibility are: 2, 1, 4 and 3. Officials are still studying which is the preferred choice among corridors 5, 6 and 7.

Credit: Atlanta Beltline

Combined ShapeCaption
A map created by the Beltline shows all of the possible routes for the Northwest Trail. The Beltline the preferred corridors ranked by feasibility are: 2, 1, 4 and 3. Officials are still studying which is the preferred choice among corridors 5, 6 and 7.

Credit: Atlanta Beltline

Credit: Atlanta Beltline

More than 200 people tuned into the meeting over Zoom, during which officials outlined what went into their study and ranked the possible northwest corridors in order of feasibility. The Beltline also released a 104-page report with the findings.

The Beltline’s Northwest Trail is the most complicated portion to build because it is the only part of the loop without an existing abandoned rail corridor. It also involves going over or under I-75 and across several active rail lines.

The agency has been working with the PATH Foundation for the last year to study multiple possible paths to cut through Northside neighborhoods and consider which would be the most doable. Officials considered a host of factors including constructability, cost, trail steepness, right-of-way access, development opportunities and feedback from residents.

ExploreAs the Beltline plans to pass through Buckhead, it’s become neighbor vs. neighbor

Each possible path goes through more than a dozen different properties, many of them deemed “challenging” to work with.

Behind the scenes over the last few moths, several residents and neighborhood organizations in Buckhead have urged the Beltline to select options located further from them, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported earlier this week. Some sent petitions and open records requests to the Beltline.

“We got a lot of feedback on this,” Beltline CEO Clyde Higgs said during the meeting, adding that he even heard from some neighbors’ attorneys about the options.

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The Beltline is trying to find ways to cut through northwest Atlanta and Buckhead neighborhoods to connect with the existing Northside Trail. (Natrice Miller / natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

The Beltline is trying to find ways to cut through northwest Atlanta and Buckhead neighborhoods to connect with the existing Northside Trail. (Natrice Miller / natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Combined ShapeCaption
The Beltline is trying to find ways to cut through northwest Atlanta and Buckhead neighborhoods to connect with the existing Northside Trail. (Natrice Miller / natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Green said the agency heard from several neighborhoods in Buckhead that didn’t like the idea of the Beltline coming through near them, while neighborhoods just outside of Buckhead in northwest Atlanta were more supportive. Some said they were worried about crime, though existing public paths in that area have not been hotspots for crime, police data shows.

Kim Wilson, the Beltline’s vice president of design and construction, emphasized that the agency is still in its planning process for the Northwest Trail, and not yet in the design and engineering phase. Plans for the path goes could still change as the agency moves forward.

The Beltline hopes to build the Northwest Trail, along with the remainder of the Beltline, by the end of 2030.