To create walkable tree-lined streets and park space, three narrow trenches would allow for canopy tree coverage, unlike the wide trenches used in Los Angeles.
Reenvisioning Atlanta's CSX Corridors
Now that Hulsey Yard is no longer a freight yard, the city has an opportunity to move freight trains underground from downtown to Decatur. Similar undergrounding from Downtown to McDonough Ave could include the creation of a town center by repurposing the Historic Federal Prison to usher forth a new renaissance in South Atlanta.
Initial trench work at Hulsey could focus on the south side of the yard to avoid disrupting train traffic during construction. Narrow train trenches would allow for canopy trees. The trench height could range from 42 to 55 feet, with the lower 30 feet for freight rail and the upper 20 feet for car overpasses below the surface area (at the level of Krog Tunnel). Cars could thereby enter below-ground parking without disrupting bikes, pedestrians and shuttles traveling east-west above.
On the south side of the MARTA rail, where the CSX rail currently resides, a new level route for free mobile storefront shuttles and shared micro-mobility vehicles could connect area residents to downtown and Decatur while allowing MARTA rail to focus on fast throughput.
The lower elevation of the rail trenches would bring water to Hulsey, which could be pumped above ground into a series of lakes using solar energy. By storing the water in a lake on a hill during the day, energy could be generated at night. Mycofiltration could clean storm water for use in a natural swimming pool with a view of the city. An adjacent amphitheater on the northeast side of the hill could also face the downtown skyline.
The freight rail bridge at the 75/85 freeway could be replaced with a rail tunnel, while raising the current dip in the freeway. The Decatur Street bridge could be raised and additional connecting bridges (or a freeway cap) could be added for bikes, shuttles and cars once the rail is moved into narrow trenches.
Results from 2019 pop-up studio community survey provided by the Lord Aeck Sargent:
Hulsey Yard Master Plan - Neighborhood Coalition Website
Glenwood Complete Streets - Transit Lanes and Family-Friendly Biking
Grant Park Gateway - Evolution of the Parking Deck at Zoo Atlanta
Mobile Storefronts - On Demand Retail / Toyota e-Palette