The conversation of how the Beltline trail should be built to cross DeKalb Avenue continued this week as Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. staff discussed plans with community members in two different meetings.
ABI held a citywide conversation on Tuesday evening to talk about the streetcar program, but also included information about the DeKalb Avenue crossing. They met with the Inman Park Neighborhood Association on Wednesday evening.
The entire presentation at the citywide conversation can be seen here.
The crossing presents a challenge with the complicated intersections of DeKalb Avenue, the freight rail line, above-ground MARTA tracks and Hulsey Yard creating what has become a roadblock of sorts to the project.
In the last few months, ABI has looked at various options that included one possibility of separating the transit route from the pedestrian trail. Community leaders, including Beltline visionary Ryan Gravel, expressed concern about some of the plans.
The most recent iteration keeps the trail and transit together in a tunnel that could pass under DeKalb Avenue. The tunnel – including walls – would need to be about 50 feet wide. The length of the tunnel would be determined based on current conditions at the time the funding is available to build it, ABI spokesperson Ericka Davis wrote in an email response to questions about the tunnel. No cost estimates are available for the tunnel since it has not been designed, she wrote.
In a letter to the Inman Park Neighborhood Association, Gravel wrote the implications of not building a tunnel would be disastrous and urged officials to be careful about making sure it is done in the best possible way.
“We’ve always known that this particular parcel is a critical link in the Atlanta Beltline and our ability to deliver on its promise, so we need to be extremely careful,” he wrote.
Davis said ABI will submit a document to the Federal Transit Administration that outlines two options for transit to cross Hulsey Hard, while continuing to preserve the tunnel option.
“At the time funding is identified for this project, City of Atlanta leadership and the citizens of the City will determine which route is advanced,” she wrote.