Activating and connecting the Dunwoody community is of critical importance to the Dunwoody Parks and Recreation department. Our goal is to develop and maintain superior parks, trail networks, green space and playgrounds which help elevate the overall quality of life for residents.

Brent Walker, director of the Dunwoody Parks and Recreation Department.

From the city’s array of multi-use trails and sidewalks to its parks and open green space, Dunwoody offers a number of options for an active and healthy lifestyle.

Since its incorporation, the city has added three miles of multi-use trails, 11 miles of sidewalks and 13 miles of bike lanes. The city is using newly created trails to connect neighborhoods and parks, impacting quality of life, as well as home and business values, for many years to come.

Trails help link areas of the city to improve connectivity and convenience and potentially relieve congestion and traffic. Many new families and young professionals are drawn to Dunwoody because of the city’s convenient accessibility and amenities, including its expanding network of trails.

An illustration of possible trails from a 2015 Perimeter Community Improvement Districts study. (Special)

The current public passion for trails has not always been as strong as it is today. Approximately six years ago, the idea of a proposed “greenway” along Georgia Power Co.’s high-voltage transmission line right of way was rather expediently removed from transportation plans due to public opposition.

And when the current Brook Run Park multi-use trail was approved and being constructed, groups of residents opposed its creation and even took the city to court to try and stop the trail’s construction.

But something unique and energizing occurred through these incidents. A gradual community acceptance of the trail’s existence was followed by a measured use of the multi-use trail. Today there exists an enthusiastic demand for additional trails and future trail connections.

Residents now express a desire to take a short walk from their tree-lined neighborhood to local stores or restaurants. There’s a growing movement towards active exercise and non-motorized transportation to nearby conveniences, a craving which either did not exist prior or was just undeveloped.

A multi-use trail between Dunwoody’s Brook Run and Pernoshal parks. (John Ruch)

Trails are important amenities for travelers and visitors as well. According to the Dunwoody Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), a number of local hotel general managers say guests often request directions to or information on nearby trails for exercise and enjoyment. A 2015 research study conducted by the CVB documented feedback from visitors to Dunwoody who stated the need for parks and trails accessible by their hotel for walking, jogging, or enjoying nature.

This desire for trails echoes the input Dunwoody citizens shared through the Parks Master Plan Update survey conducted in 2016.

Trail connectivity has sprouted from Dunwoody parks, out of and through neighborhoods, and now is awakening within the heart of the city’s Perimeter Center business district. The Perimeter Center Improvement Districts are currently working with Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Brookhaven to provide transportation and recreation options for the workers and residents in the area.

Currently, the city is exploring an extension of the Dunwoody Trailway coming out of Georgetown Park at Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. The hope is to continue the trail along I-285, through the Georgetown subdivision, and eventually to connect with Perimeter Center East and the greater Perimeter area.

With the continued extension of PATH400 in Buckhead and into Sandy Springs, there is also an opportunity for the city to connect its multi-use trail system into the regional trail network.

Great trails and connectivity support active families and thriving communities. By exploring new trails and paths, Dunwoody is establishing itself as an active and healthy example of a true “live, work, play” location.

Brent Walker is the director of the Dunwoody Parks and Recreation Department.

One reply on “Commentary: Dunwoody trailways are making connections”

  1. The bike path in Brook Run Park was not part of any master plan and not clamored for by anyone. It cost over $1.5MM. The city went ahead and just shoved it in there and in the process, cut tons of trees, cut tons more when you decided to go from 8′ wide to 12′ wide, cuts tons more when you cut more trees to provide a wider clearance than 12′ wide, and basically plopped 1 mile of 12′ wide cement path in the middle of a passive mini-forest. This project was not at all a priority for the city. Although some like the project, most were against it. The city could have just done this project in the future after taking a survey and including the results in a master plan. There were/are way more important projects than that. A waling path, rather than a cement path, would have more desirable such as is around Murphy Candler Park. We need quiet places not cement paths. We can bike on our residential streets. Additionally, paving 11 miles of sidewalks in about 10 years amounts to 1 mile per year. This is nothing! Sidewalks should have been accelerated which means curb cuts so all strollers, bikes, wheelchairs can flow freely on sidewalks, and putting in sidewalks on Tilly Mill Rd southside from N. Peachtree down past Briers North (instead of a ditch), and south side of Womack (instead of letting kids walk on grass to go to school), and west side of Vermack from St Lukes all way down to Ch Dunwoody Rd, and west side of N Peachtree (also rip/replace existing sidewalk), west side of Happy Hollow (shouldn’t have to cross the street to use sidewalk). Also, since you are a Parks/Rec Director, how about actually running rec programs for the youth as occurs in all other towns/cities in the U.S.? And fighting harder to have kept the PVC park as athletic fields (of which we have practically none)?

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