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How Atlanta’s infrastructure will evolve in the next 10 years.  

Will Atlanta be a walkable city in the next 10 years? That’s what Eric Ganther, the Senior Transportation Planner for the PATH Foundation, hopes. Thirteen years ago, he was drawn to Atlanta by its dynamic potential. His professional journey in the city started at Coca-Cola, where he served as a Transportation Planner, before the PATH Foundation presented him with an opportunity of a lifetime. For Ganther, whose childhood in Wisconsin was marked by adventures in mapping trails, this opportunity was something he was “born to do.” 

The PATH Foundation has been around since 1991 and has been shaping urban areas of metro Atlanta for decades. Ed McBrayer, Pete Pellegrini, and Maxine Rock formed the organization after they were riding their bikes to Stone Mountain and realized that there weren’t enough paved roads for bicyclists or walkers. This led to the establishment of the organization with the aim of developing greenway trails in the city, according to PATH’s website. In 1995 PATH launched its first capital campaign. Since then, the organization has built over 300 miles of trails throughout Georgia, and the number continues to grow. For the last 33 years the organization has been connecting communities and plans to continue that mission for many more years.  

Connecting communities with Trails ATL

https://twitter.com/PATHFoundation/status/1779902988133249346

Today, the nonprofit is already in the process of developing their next big project, Trails ATL. You might have seen the signs along some of your favorite trails around town, and wondered what it was. The initiative aims to provide Atlantans with access to a trail within 10 minutes from their home.  Ganther describes the project as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to weave together Atlanta’s varied terrain and cultural perspectives.”   

The first step in the project is getting feedback from the community. There are several rounds of surveys that will help figure out where trails should go and where they shouldn’t go. “We’re going to ask you where you want these trails, where do you want to go, what kind of trails do you wanna use to get there?” Ganther says this project is really relying on the community to make this project successful.

The first round of surveys went out in March and will end on May 15. Keep an eye out on their website for the announcement of the second round of surveys. Ganther said if you see these signs around town to scan the QR code and take the survey, if not you can go to trailsatl.com to access it.  For those still interested in learning more about the project, residents can go to public meetings where they can ask question, raise any concern they may have, or just go there to listen, you can find the public meeting schedules on their website.

Once these surveys are complete, the organization will gather the information and present it to city council in hopes that they will approve the plan. After that they hope to implement some of these plans as early as Spring 2025.

Other projects PATH Foundation is working on

Apart from Trails ATL, the PATH Foundation is involved in several other projects around the state including,   

    • PATH400, which is 106 acres of parks and trails near Buckhead that will connect to Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.  
    • Proctor Creek Greenway, a trail from the Bankhead MARTA station to Grove Park and West Highlands neighborhood, “We’re in design, so be looking for construction and that hopefully beginning next year,” Ganther said.
    • Northwest Beltline Trail, an extension of the Beltline.
    • And much more! If you want to learn more about the other project PATH is working on head to their website.

With Atlanta projected to add 1.8 million residents by 2050, according to data from Atlanta Regional Commission, the necessity for pedestrian-friendly infrastructure becomes evident.  Ganther envisions a future where Atlantans are smiling, referring to it as “the infrastructure of smiles.” Through initiatives like Trails ATL and others, the PATH Foundation is making this vision a reality, one trail at a time. 

Photo Credit: PATH Foundation
Photo Credit: PATH Foundation

 

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