Have you walked the Atlanta BeltLine yet?
If you're not yet excited about the progress of the Atlanta BeltLine, a soon-to-be green route around the city, you will be once you check it out.
Thursday, August 25, 2011 - 14:20
BLAZE A TRAIL: Construction on the BeltLine continues, bringing Atlanta closer to gaining a valuable green space. (Photo: Ecos Environmental Design, Inc./Flickr)
It's been a while since I first set out to cover the entire Atlanta BeltLine via bike — but I did get a chance, before the long days of 100 degree weather set in, to explore some of the parts of Atlanta's future green route.
I started in the Northeast section by Piedmont Park and made my way down to DeKalb Ave. (Here's a map to help you visualize.) Biking the BeltLine didn't work so well (I have a hybrid road bike, and the path is still a little too rugged for anything but mountain bikes), so I ended up walking most of the way. The BeltLine's path takes you through hidden parts of the city that border places you drive past every day. I was amazed to see Atlanta from such a different perspective.
The path runs right behind the Whole Foods/Borders/Home Depot shopping strip on Ponce de Leon Ave., and actually crosses over Ponce at that point (right by City Hall East). A few minutes later you cross over North Avenue (close to The Masquerade). Continue on, and you go under Freedom Parkway and right past the Old Fourth Ward; the BeltLine runs parallel to North Highland Avenue for a bit.
I had never seen Atlanta's streets or buildings at the vantage provided by the BeltLine before. It was really neat, and gave the city a whole new depth.
The bridge above Ponce de Leon Ave that will be part of the BeltLine pathway.
View from the bridge that crosses over North Ave on the BeltLine route.
Although still rough in some places (there is currently construction in the Northeast section; the real development of the route is just beginning), the path was so peaceful and green. I kept thinking that it would be an awesome running spot — something I think Atlanta is lacking, for the most part, especially when compared to green routes in other cities.
The BeltLine would also provide a much more pleasant walking experience than the busy and often sidewalk-less streets that are the current options. Atlanta is not the most pedestrian friendly city, and this new route would give pedestrians, bicyclists and runners a safe and serene avenue to use. Not to mention the trolley cars that will be part of the BeltLine would easily connect people to where they need to go, offering Atlantans an alternative method of transportation in the city.
I heartily encourage everyone to visit the BeltLine. It's worth spending half a day or more exploring what's soon to become an important and (hopefully) fully utilized new Atlanta green space. Not only is it a cool way to see the city and its developments, but it will make you super excited to see (and use!) the end product.
Photos: Our Green Atlanta/Flickr
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