As a follow-up to the Oct. 30, 2007 Northside Study Group meeting, I led a group of concerned and interested neighbors through the (Tanyard Creek) Park on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007 to show them the various proposed trail routes, potential tree damage and different options for bridge/creek crossing locations as presented by PATH on Oct. 30. While I have my own strong preferences and opinions regarding these issues, I tried to keep them to myself during the November 3 presentation and presented the options as impartially as possible.

An interesting and productive dialog occurred during the Nov. 3 presentation, particularly with regard to several innovative improvements to the trail plan suggested by Mr. Lee Richardson. I requested feedback via email from the attendees; in response, several people provided their opinions directly to me and several others also copied PATH, Glatting Jackson, Atlanta Beltline and the Parks Dept. in their responses.

In all, I received 22 email responses, 20 of which supported Mr. Richardson’s ideas, particularly what has come to be referred to as the “diagonal bridge,” and opposed a bridge location at the site of the geotechnical test borings (approximately 175 feet north of the location previously discussed between the neighborhoods and PATH). I received no emails opposed to the “diagonal bridge” or in favor of the more northerly creek crossing; two emails addressed only issues other than the bridge crossing.

Several commenters stated that their first preference would be to see no trail through the Park at all, but concluded that if the trail did have to come through, the west-side route and the “diagonal bridge” was the least objectionable option. Other comments beyond the attached suggestions by Mr. Richardson included:

1. Color: One commenter wanted the trail to be brown, like the rubber trail in the playground, while another suggested dark green

2. Tributary Bridge: The bridge across the Spring Valley tributary should be as close to Tanyard Creek and as far away from Walthall Drive as possible, and the existing dirt crossing near Walthall Drive should be re-engineered to have vertical sides to discourage crossing the tributary at that location.

3. Access: Public access to the trail should be limited; in particular, the entrance road from Walthall Drive should be eliminated or at least restricted to only City maintenance vehicles.

4. Parking: There should be no parking on either side of Walthall Drive from Collier Road to the entrance road discussed above.

5. Trees: Where practical, re-route and/or narrow the trail to save the tulip poplars near the current footbridge.

I want to thank everyone for their input and participation in this process, and for both expressing and listening to the community preferences on this issue.

Steven Hart