Beltline, GDOT, Amtrak reach agreement over tracks near Piedmont Park

Commuter or intercity rail will not run along the Decatur Belt.

Residents and transit wonks hoping for a Friday cease-fire over unused railroad tracks called the “Decatur Belt” got good news today.

Officials from the Beltline, Georgia Department of Transportation, Amtrak and other transportation agencies say they’ve reached an agreement regarding the hotly contested rail segment that stretches from Ansley Park to DeKalb Avenue.

“These parties have reached a consensus on joint actions to develop and implement a plan to accommodate commuter rail, intercity and high-speed rail service in the region that does not require the use of the Decatur Belt rail corridor,” a joint statement says.

The agencies agree that a commuter, intercity or high-speed rail line could operate along modified tracks west of the city. Beltline supporters initially proposed such a concept, but Amtrak and GDOT rejected it, calling it difficult because those tracks are busy freight routes.

A technical committee recommends a long-awaited downtown train terminal proposed near Philips Arena which would accommodate the trains be redesigned, that Amtrak consider possible stations along MARTA’s Northeast line, and that the local, state and regional transportation agencies conduct a study of freight traffic options in metro Atlanta.

In other words: It appears that, barring anything insanely out-of-the-blue, the mixed-use, light-rail Beltline vision proposed near Piedmont Park is safe.

Background and the full release from the agencies after the jump.