To the editor:

We at Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) appreciate the attention that the surrounding community places on the Northwest Trail and want to emphasize that no decision has been made yet related to the specific trail route. And, for that reason, we want to make sure that the community is fully aware that there is a public process underway, and we want to clarify for your readers the details of this process.

We asked that the community provide alternative trail alignment recommendations by September 15th to enable our consultants from Glatting-Jackson to consider them as part of their analysis of alternative routes. At the next Northside Study Group Meeting, on Tuesday, September 25th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Peachtree Hills Recreation Center, the community will have an opportunity to review goals and objectives and discuss trail alternatives. Following additional field work, final recommendations will be presented to the Steering Committee on Thursday, September 27th.

As established by City Council, ABI has responsibility for managing the implementation of the BeltLine, working as part of a BeltLine Team with the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and the Department of Planning and Community Development to determine all master plan components. And the BeltLine Team is committed to developing final plans for all aspects of the BeltLine based on a process that relies on active input from the public and key stakeholders with technical guidance from the consultants.

In making decisions regarding the trail route, we will follow these guiding principles: (1.) Connectivity in a 22-mile loop is one of the BeltLine primary objectives, and, a significant benefit for the community. (2.) At this time, the CSX right-of-way cannot be viewed as a trail route solution, given the intensity of rail activity and the topographical challenges. (3.) BeltLine trails will be constructed to provide safe and effective mobility for all non-motorized modes of wheeled transportation on surfaces that are cost effective to construct and maintain, with special treatment given to environmentally sensitive areas. (4.) The trail is to be routed through the Howard property, since the property was acquired for trail purposes.

The BeltLine is a unique opportunity to create more livable communities through transit, trails and added parks. We look forward to working with this community to ensure the full benefits of the BeltLine are realized here.

Tina Arbes, COO

Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.