Cobb County Department of Transportation, Planning Division


Cobb County, Georgia



Cobb County is home to an extensive trail network, including the popular Silver Comet Trail that connects Atlanta to the Alabama state line. Recognizing the strong interest in greenways and trails throughout Metro Atlanta and within Cobb County, the Cobb County Department of Transportation (DOT) sought a framework for expanding its network of trails, bikeways, and other multimodal transportation and recreation facilities.

Gresham Smith (in partnership with Alta Planning + Design) was hired by Cobb County DOT to develop what would become the county’s first-ever greenways and trails master plan. The recommendations outlined in this countywide document highlight ways in which Cobb County can expand its overall trail network, encouraging investment in projects that will have a positive impact on connectivity, mobility and safety. More than just a plan on a shelf, the Cobb County Greenways & Trails Master Plan has helped build momentum for the implementation of a number of trail expansions, including the Silver Comet Trail Connector project.

miles of proposed trails
cities within Cobb County
priority projects identified for implementation
Biker in Cobb County

Giving the Community a Choice

Although Cobb County has been building a trail network for many years, it has been piecemeal in nature without a central strategy or guiding document. Providing a cohesive vision for an interconnected trail network, the master plan guides the planning and development of new trails and greenways to enhance access to key destinations such as parks, schools and activity centers. Simply put, the plan gives people a greater choice in how they get around.

Map from Cobb County greenway plan

Enhanced Access & Connectivity

The document includes 200+ miles of proposed trails, which represent the long-term aspiration of creating a vast, interconnected network across the county and beyond to bolster the regional network. This unified network will enhance access as well as connectivity in all six cities and three community improvement districts (CIDs) within Cobb County. It will also strengthen connections between lakes Acworth and Allatoona, as well as Kennesaw Mountain and the Chattahoochee River, by filling gaps in the existing trail network.

Cobb County greenway plan rendering
Cobb County greenway plan rendering

Whittling Down the List

When this planning effort began, dozens of trail projects had been identified in previous plans and studies. Gresham Smith was challenged with refining this list to a set of trail projects that represented the desires of the community, was implementable in terms of time and available funding, and had support from County, City and CID leadership. We ultimately recommended eight priority projects for the County to focus on over the coming years. These projects will provide significant benefit and value to residents while aligning with the County’s desire to spend its tax dollars wisely.

Cobb County path
Cobb County trail

Creating Better Connections

Cobb County’s existing Mountain-to-River Trail is comprised of several trail projects that connect Kennesaw Mountain—the site of a National Park and Civil War battlefield—to the Chattahoochee River. Several portions of the trail have been completed while others are nearing completion. Gresham Smith expanded on this concept by proposing an extension of this system to Lake Allatoona as well as parklands that are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Options from Cobb County greenway plan

Context Matters

Oftentimes, multiuse trails are lumped together as off-street facilities without regard to context or setting. The master plan differentiates trail typologies based upon factors such as user types, the setting and potential conflicts. It provides design guidance for both on-street and off-street trails, while distinguishing between the types of environments in which they’re located, and how they might be built to maximize comfort, safety and respect for the surrounding environment.

Public engagement for Cobb County greenway plan
Public engagement for Cobb County greenway plan

Getting Engaged

Throughout the project, we facilitated multiple activities to engage our client, key stakeholders and the community at-large. We worked with each of the six cities and the three CIDs within the county to incorporate their priorities for the future and to build upon and expand their projects. This process included attending community festivals, in-person intercept surveys, biking and walking tours, and an interactive, online website where people could map their suggestions for greenways, trails and access points.