Where does the Atlanta BeltLine go from here?

The Atlanta BeltLine’s new Westside Trail doesn’t feel like its other segments—and that’s a good thing

BeltLine Southwest Map
The Westside Trail doesn’t look or feel like the BeltLine’s other segments

Illustration by Brown Bird Design

Joggers and bicyclists frustrated with the Atlanta BeltLine’s crowded Eastside Trail now have a new option snaking through some of southwest Atlanta’s most historic and vibrant neighborhoods. Butting up against old warehouses and the backyards of single-family homes, the roughly $43 million Westside Trail offers a glimpse of what the rest of the $4.8 billion planned loop of parks, paths, and transit will eventually look like. Here’s what to know about the new trail.

1. Washington Park
Developed in 1919 as the city’s first suburb for black people, the neighborhood features bungalows and a 20-acre greenspace with a natatorium, a baseball field, and tennis courts in its eponymous park.

2. Prime Parks
BeltLine officials will soon choose a designer for Enota Park, a planned 12-acre park in Westview, a neighborhood that needs more greenspace. Centered on the headwaters of Proctor Creek, the site includes 100-foot-tall mature trees.

3. Westview Cemetery
Considered the largest cemetery in the Southeast, this nearly 600-acre rolling expanse of land is the final burial place of Asa Candler, Joel Chandler Harris, and other notables and includes a massive mausoleum.Content optimization

4. New Kids Join Old School
Lean Draft House, a bar and makeshift motorcycle museum, opened in June, becoming the first new business to launch along the trail. Greens and Gravy, a soul food sit-down restaurant opened shortly afterward in the nearby Westview Village, joining vegan upstart KarbonStar Vitality and West End’s stalwart raw food hotspot Tassili’s Raw Reality.

5. Warehouse Row
Envisioned as the Westside Trail’s hub for restaurants, offices, and new housing, this more-than-half-mile strip of buildings along White and Donnelly streets includes Lee + White, Stream Realty’s planned food-and-beverage district housing three breweries, a distillery, a gelato production facility, a kombucha maker, and more.

6. Murphy Triangle
ABI purchased this 16-acre former state farmers market from the Georgia Department of Transportation in 2014. Preliminary plans call for small steps—think stormwater upgrades and possibly food trucks—with a long-range potential for housing, greenspace, and retail.

7. Farm Life
Once the site of two abandoned industrial buildings, this triangular parcel owned by ABI is now home to Aluma Farm. The nearly four-acre farm yields cherry tomatoes, Malabar spinach, and purple string beans, along with other seasonal fruits and vegetables, which it sells to local restaurants and residents. The operation will include a barn topped with solar panels, allowing it to run completely off the grid. ABI hopes the project will serve as a model for other initiatives.

8. Off Trail and On Road
Connecting the path to the existing West End Trail along White Street saved money and made the project more competitive for federal funding, says Lee Harrop, a program director at Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. ABI will create an interim hiking trail behind the row of warehouses for walkers and joggers.

9. Public Art Bonanza
Murals by Santiago Menendez-Gil and Hadley Breckenridge’s “The Highball Artist”—slang for a train engineer running fast on the tracks—add a dash of color to a bike path.

10. West End
If southwest Atlanta were its own city, West End would be its downtown. Packed with Victorian mansions and bungalows and rich with diversity and history, the community founded in the 1830s is now undergoing rapid gentrification. According to Zillow, home values rose 49 percent between July 2013 and July 2017, fueling concerns about displacement.

11. Ups and Downs
Near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, BeltLine officials lowered the trail to better connect with the adjacent Mozley Park neighborhood and free up more room for future transit access.

Trail Details
Bright Lights
Unlike the Eastside Trail, the Westside path’s funding included cash for lighting. The lamps are programmed to dim when the path closes at 11 p.m. to save electricity but return to full brightness when sensors detect movement.

Big Brother
Sensors embedded in the trail and on posts provide counts of the number of bicyclists and walkers—and they can differentiate between the two. Twenty-four cameras hooked up to the city’s surveillance center will monitor trail activity.

And Beyond
Plans call for the trail to continue north to link with the Proctor Creek Greenway trail, a seven-mile bike path along the waterway, part of a larger effort to clean up the creek that flows to the Chattahoochee River. —Thomas Wheatley