Neighborhood Hears PATH Proposals
The Druid Hills Civic Association welcomed more than 200 neighbors to a meeting about the PATH Foundation’s preliminary proposals for a multi-use path connecting Emory Village with the PATH Network near Jackson Hill Baptist Church on S. Ponce de Leon. The March 28 meeting was held at the Paideia School auditorium.
DHCA 1st Vice President Phil Moise moderated the meeting. He introduced the topic and the four guest speakers stating, “There is a time for advocacy and a time to listen and learn; tonight is a chance to listen and learn.” The DHCA has not assumed a position on the proposals at this time.
The panel of speakers included Ed McBrayer, Executive Director of the PATH Foundation; Doug Young, Assistant Director of Historic Preservation, City of Atlanta; David Cullison, Senior Planner, Historic Preservation, DeKalb County; and Dave Pelton, Interim Associate Director, Transportation Department, DeKalb County.
PATH’s presentation, led by McBrayer, opened with an overview of three proposals (A, B, and C) for a north/south trail primarily along Lullwater Road. A fourth modification (D) would alter the final portion of the three proposals to connect to Emory Village behind, rather than in front of, homes along the north end of Lullwater Road.
The Lullwater Estate Board of Directors has expressed opposition to any public use of their private property to develop a trail. Nonetheless, proposals A and B would require access to Lullwater Estate property and depend on the historic Lullwater Bridge to route bicycle and pedestrian traffic under Ponce de Leon Avenue.
Each government panelist commented on his agency’s role in a project of this type and described the process required to come to a decision about its viability. Doug Young pointed to the long-standing plan for a north/south connection through Druid Hills that has been part of the Connect Atlanta comprehensive city plan for at least two years. David Cullison shared his concerns about preserving the historic trees along Lullwater Road and discussed how his department managed the process at Deepdene Park and more recently, Fernbank Forest. Dave Pelton noted that narrowing a roadway can provide traffic calming, a concern many have raised about the area that would be served by the proposed path. He offered several examples.
Audience members shared questions and concerns that included tree loss, erosion, and environmental impact as well as historic preservation, parking, safety, and funding. Questions were raised about existing studies regarding property values and crime along multi-use trails. The PATH Foundation has information about such studies but none have been done with regard to the Lullwater Road Path proposals.
If the project moves forward, PATH plans to raise approximately half of the required funding from the private sector. The remainder would likely come from matching public funds.
DHCA President Anne Wallace was pleased with the meeting. “It is the role of the DHCA to maintain a neutral position during exploratory phases of new proposals and to create opportunities to raise awareness and share information. We thank the presenters for their time and the neighbors who participated. The purpose of the meeting was to learn about PATH’s proposal.”
If you have questions, concerns or comments, please contact a DHCA officer or director. http://druidhills.org/boards-and-committees/.