Atlanta reconnecting southside with 31-mile trail network

The city of Atlanta will use $64.9 million to build a 31-mile trail network to connect underserved communities to critical amenities. Plans include building trails and investing in greenspace to reduce air and noise pollution, heat island impacts and flooding.

The Flint River Gateway Trails project is a multi-jurisdictional initiative between Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), Clayton County and three cities. The project will reconnect communities that were divided by highways, railways and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). The trail network will help communities access schools, hospitals, job centers, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) stations, the BeltLine and employment centers.

The funds will contribute to the project’s $159.3 million total cost. Plans include building 3.2 miles of multi-use trails in four sections. Plans also include preparing 16 miles for future construction across eight segments. The city will explore connecting the Flint River Trails network with existing and upcoming trails in the South Metro area.

The city will also provide technical assistance to help local governments effectively manage building and planning the trail network. The project will invest in green construction to manage stormwater runoff and flooding. The city will facilitate ongoing community engagement to inform the project vision.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) provided the funds through the Neighborhood Access and Equity (NAE) grant program. The project builds on decades of trail projects and plans designed to reconnect Atlanta’s southside communities.

The NAE program is designed to improve walkability, safety and affordable transportation access in disenfranchised communities. The Reconnecting Atlanta’s Southside Communities: Atlanta BeltLine to Flint River Trail project is one of 132 projects that will receive a portion of the $3.3 billion USDOT awarded for Fiscal Year 2023.

Photo courtesy of Trees Atlanta

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