Work to begin on Southside segment of Atlanta Beltline

The Beltline is coming to Atlanta’s Southside, as construction crews are scheduled to begin work this month on the pedestrian path through the Pittsburgh and Capitol View communities.

Grading and environmental testing are the first scheduled jobs on the three-quarter-mile section of the Beltline's Southside Trail-West, located just west of the Downtown Connector. Beltline officials estimated that the path will be paved in about a year, although pedestrians can walk along the undeveloped dirt-and-gravel corridor now.

The Beltline is hugely popular among walkers and cyclists, but most of its completed sections are located in the Ansley Park, Virginia-Highland and Old Fourth Ward neighborhoods on the east side of town, and the Oakland City, West End and Westview neighborhoods on the west side. Officials have made it a priority to accelerate work on the Southside’s portion to enable other communities to use the circular park, Beltline CEO Clyde Higgs said at a Wednesday groundbreaking event.

“This is a reminder that the Beltline is for all of us, not just for one area of town or one community,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at the groundbreaking.

The first phase of construction on the Southside Trail-West will run parallel to University Avenue and the Pittsburgh Yards commercial development. The segment will include a pedestrian bridge over Metropolitan Parkway, steps to connect the trail with the street and a disabled-accessible ramp.

A large crowd of local residents and community organizers attended Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony. Many have said they want to see construction work move faster in the Southside neighborhoods, Higgs said.

The completed version of the Southside Trail-West will include lighting, security cameras, handrails, stormwater drains and landscaping, similar to other completed segments of the Beltline.

When the Southside work is finished, the largest remaining unbuilt Beltline segment will be in the northwestern quadrant, where CSX operates an active freight rail corridor. MARTA also has earmarked part of that segment for the proposed Clifton Corridor light-rail line, connecting the Lindbergh rail station with Emory University.