A pedestrian trail is planned to be added below the Northside Drive bridge during its upcoming replacement.
The Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy and the PATH Foundation are working with the Georgia Department of Transportation to build a trail that connects to the multi-use path already along the road to provide connectivity, officials said at an April 25 Peachtree Battle Alliance meeting.
The trail would allow pedestrians to more safely cross the busy road, said Catherine Spillman, the director of the conservancy, at a meeting held in the former Bobby Jones Golf Course clubhouse.
GDOT plans to close Northside Drive just north of Atlanta Memorial Park in 2020 to replace the aging bridge. The plan would also add a new, separate pedestrian bridge to have somewhere to locate water and sewer pipes and provide safer pedestrian access.
The road closure and bridge construction is expected to take 90 days if the city and neighbors both are in favor of 24-hour construction, said Brian McHugh, the project manager.
The conservancy is overseeing the construction of multi-use paths around Memorial Park. The group recently began the permitting process for the trails on the west side of the park, and construction of trails on the east side is expected to wrap up this summer, Spillman said.
The proposed concrete trail underneath the bridge would connect the east and west sides of Northside Drive. The funding source for the trail has not been determined, said PATH Foundation Executive Director Pete Pellegrini.
It would be built shortly after the bridge construction is completed, Spillman said.
One resident said at the meeting that it could provide a safer for his children to access the nearby playground in the park, which is undergoing its own improvements.
A new playground was completed in early 2017 after it was damaged by sewage and flooding. More improvements are coming to the playground thanks to a $250,000 Park Pride grant the conservancy received in January, Spillman said
The conservancy plans to add rain gardens, landscaping and drainage improvements to the new playground area. It also plans to transform the old playground area into a picnic and gathering area, Spillman said.
The city of Atlanta began cleaning the sewers in the park last July in effort to curb the sewage spills, which Spillman said has been effective. The Department of Watershed Management has so far removed 146 tons of debris from the sewer system, according to a department report.