It’s not particularly glamorous work signing agreements, submitting plans and conducting studies for a planned trail, Livable Buckhead Executive Director Denise Starling said.
But Starling and other backers of a planned 5-mile trail along Ga. 400 knew it would take time. That patience and attention to detail may also be gaining them some support from neighbors living alongside the project. The path will connect pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, Buckhead’s businesses, parks and schools to the Atlanta BeltLine.
Starling said planners presented 30 percent drawings to the public in October and November, renderings that give an idea of what the finished product will look like.
The public’s response? So far, so good, she said.
“We went back out to the public and showed them 30 percent and addressed a lot of the concerns and desires that were brought up,” Starling said. “We’ve gotten really, really good response to that.”
Cathy Muzzy, president of the Peachtree Park Homeowners Association, said Livable Buckhead has been tolerable to work with. Homeowners had some concerns about hitting bicyclists as they backed out of their driveway, but that’s been addressed she said.
Even though the 30 percent plans don’t have buy-in from 100 percent of residents, Muzzy said the best strategy for the neighborhood is to try to influence the final product as much as possible.
“Naturally, there were some neighbors who didn’t like it at all and we had to remind them they were (talking about) public streets and there wasn’t a whole lot we could do to stop it,” she said.
Starling said the designs should be complete by April.
“We think we have one of the segments that is going to move forward, but we’re not dead set on it yet,” Starling said. “The project is divided into five key segments. We’re probably not going to do the whole thing at one time.”
She said the 30 percent drawing was to move the project in a direction residents and Livable Buckhead could agree to.
Once the project design reaches 60 percent, Livable Buckhead can get a better idea of how much it will cost to build. Starling said construction is unlikely to begin before 2014.
The anticipated budget is $10 million, but the current designs are a little costlier than that, she said.“Ten million is our construction budget,” Starling said. “That’s what we’re trying to stick to, but we also know we want to see some high design.”
Livable Buckhead will manage it in partnership with the Buckhead Community Improvement District and the PATH Foundation, a nonprofit that has constructed other trails in the Atlanta area. The organizers expect that the Georgia Department of Transportation and MARTA will provide easements for the project.
The trail will be supported by the Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association, Buckhead Business Association, the city of Atlanta and Neighborhood Planning Unit B.