Reimagining Connectivity in South Metro Atlanta

Monday, August 2, 2021 Project Update


ATLANTA – (Aug. 2, 2021) – The latest phase of the AeroATL Greenway, a concept for a network of connected trails in South Metro Atlanta, is now complete.

Engaging multiple stakeholders across seven distinct communities, Pond worked with the ATL Airport Community Improvement Districts (AACIDs) and the Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance on this transformational initiative beginning in early 2020.

“The ATL Airport Community Improvement Districts are a catalyst for infrastructure enhancement through new investments, project planning, resource management and partnership development. We focus on initiatives that include beautification and public safety, and the model mile falls in line with our efforts. It is ideal and aligned with the vision of the Aerotropolis area. Because we have seen what trails have done throughout the region, what better way to have a more connected community around Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, than through a greenway network, especially in our districts?” said AACIDs’ Executive Director Gerald McDowell.

Historically auto-centric with minimal pedestrian mobility options, the communities in South Atlanta required a connectivity overhaul. This project connects people to jobs, nature, and one other, spurring economic development and providing opportunities for alternative modes of transportation. Pond led discussions with each community, capturing unique needs to create tailored model mile greenways.

The plan showcases design concepts for a model mile trail in each community: Atlanta, Union City, Forest Park, Hapeville, Clayton County, East Point, and South Fulton. Analyzing the public’s preferred route, engineering constraints, cost estimates and overall feasibility, Pond designed concept plans for trail segments that are protected, comfortable and accessible. While the AeroATL Greenway will connect people and serve as an economic generator, it also aims to reinvigorate nature and ecosystems by introducing local residents and visitors to these areas with renewed appreciation.

“Implementing this plan would be a gamechanger for South Atlanta, encouraging a more walkable and livable area. At Pond, we pride ourselves on our problem solving, and we saw this as an opportunity to create a true model for collaboration, focusing on inclusion and equality when designing the trail network,” said Project Manager Andrew Kohr.

Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance President & CEO Shannon James added:

“The AeroATL Greenway Model Mile represents the first step towards bringing balance to Metro Atlanta’s trail network and shows that leaders in the Aerotropolis region are dedicated to building equity and resilience into our built environment. These first seven model miles mark a milestone for Aerotropolis Atlanta as we collectively have taken the idea of a trail network for the airport area, which was an idea born out of our Blueprint many years ago, through the initial planning phases into implementation. It is a testament of the collaborative spirit on the Southside, too, that seven different jurisdictions in Aerotropolis Atlanta worked together with Pond to develop model mile concepts that will eventually connect them to their neighbors. As the Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance continues to advocate for quality growth for the communities and businesses on the Southside, this spirit of collaboration is a wonderful sight.”

The team successfully mobilized and advanced work on this project throughout 2020, despite COVID-19 challenges. Using virtual venues for community engagement contributed to increased inclusion and accessibility by allowing a dedicated session for each community.

For this project, Pond provided planning, conceptual design, and schematic design solutions to enhance the environmental aesthetic and user experience of each model mile corridor. With the plan finalized, the AACIDs and the Alliance will seek additional funding in partnership with its local government partners to begin designing and building the trail network.

Learn more about the project in this video.

About Pond

Pond is a full-service consulting firm providing integrated engineering, architecture, planning, and construction management solutions to public and private clients since 1965. Our staff, located throughout the U.S. and globally, is committed to delivering tailored solutions. Recognizing that clients benefit the most when multi-disciplined expertise is leveraged, Pond builds teams based on client and project requirements, regardless of location, reinforcing our “One Pond” culture. 

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