The first planned connection from the Peachtree Creek Greenway to Buford Highway has hit a snag in the form of a gas station’s dumpster, residents discovered during an Oct. 16 open house on the project.
The connection was supposed to be placed at a new QuikTrip coming to 3249 Buford Highway, adjacent to Northeast Plaza.
Plans approved in 2016 included a 5-foot wide sidewalk and 10-foot greenway strip that would connect the business and Buford Highway to the Greenway. QuikTrip officials also promised bike racks and a bike repair station. At the time, Betsy Eggers, chair of the Peachtree Creek Greenway board of directors, hailed the planned connection as “a gateway to the Greenway” and said she understood the area would be like a promenade.
While a spokesperson for QuikTrip said that the corporation will follow through with its promises to the city, Eggers said the design and site plans she and the Greenway’s engineers have reviewed have dramatically changed.
“The issue is what the pedestrian experience will be as she walks from Buford Highway to Northeast Expressway, behind the QT and avoiding egresses for car traffic,” Eggers said.
“It was to be a 5-foot sidewalk with 10-foot of green/grass or shrubs for a protection before the parking lot,” Eggers said. “Now there’s no green strip. It looks like the parking lot is just extended to the fence, with 5-feet allowed for pedestrians who are ‘protected’ by bollards — far from the promenade that was included in the City Council packet.
“And now the sidewalk dead-ends into the dumpster,” Eggers said.
“Pedestrian safety has been pushed aside,” she added. “There’s room for pizza, there’s room for beer, but there’s no room for pedestrians. That’s the problem.”
At the Oct. 16 open house, Brookhaven Fund Development Director Patty Hansen said QuikTrip was doing only what it was legally required to do.
“It is not as illustrious as they committed,” she said. The city is currently putting some “good-natured pressure” on QuikTrip to live up to its commitment that included landscaping and direct access to the trail, she said.
Eggers said she is still hoping QuikTrip will make the area more pedestrian-friendly and possibly include public art.