More than 100 people turned out in Lynwood Park on May 19 to give their opinions on Brookhaven’s plans to develop bike and pedestrian trails throughout the city.

“Where in Brookhaven do you want to go?” Richard Fangmann, an engineer with Pond and Company, asked the group. “That’s what this meeting is all about, getting your first comments and input into this process.

“This is a starting point for us.”

Brookhaven has a $96,000 contract with Pond and Company to develop a comprehensive bicycle, pedestrian and trail plan for the city. The project’s focus will be developing a map for future development as well as a prioritized list of feasible and cost-effective projects.

The meeting was the first in a series of community input sessions.

“This huge turnout is evidence that transit and pedestrian issues are important to us,” said District 3 City Councilman Bates Mattison, whose district includes Lynwood Park. “The results of this effort will give us a clear path as to what future steps we need to take.”

Residents first had the chance to prioritize projects, such as bike paths, sidewalks and multi-use trails, on a series of maps. Attendees then participated in a series of workshops with Pond and Company personnel to further what the community wants in terms of bike and pedestrian paths and trails.

“Our goals are to gain a variety of perspective on bike paths for both kids and adults, and running and walking trails,” Fangmann said. “I was at the recent Brookhaven Bolt, and I was amazed at how many people were in attendance. It shows how much this community is engaged in walking and running activities.

“And we want to develop ways of integrating biking, walking and running into our overall transit plan.”

Mattison said Brookhaven has many thoroughfares — such as North Druid Hills, Clairmont, Peachtree and Ashford-Dunwoody roads — that are clogged by commuters who are just passing through, and don’t live in the city.

“All of these roads are gridlocked during peak traffic hours,” he said. “I’m hopeful these efforts will give us the opportunity to connect our local schools, businesses and parks with multi-use paths and trails, and provide a transportation alternative to automobiles.”

As a model, Mattison points to plans for the North Fork Peachtree Creek Greenway, a project to create trails along the North Fork Peachtree Creek, located between I-85 and Buford Highway.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our city to connect to the Beltline,” he said. Brookhaven has a $153,000 contract with Heath and Lineback Engineers to develop the plan, he added.

Brookhaven’s bike and trail efforts won’t be realized overnight, Fangmann said.

During a meeting at Lynwood Park, Graham Malone, right, of Pond and Company describes proposals for a series of bike and pedestrian trails in Brookhaven.

“Our overall recommendations are anticipated to identify improvements that can be implemented over several years and will be short-, mid- and long-term efforts,” he said. “Our next steps are some more community input sessions, and then bring back to the public some streamlined recommendations by the end of the summer, and then a more finalized set of recommendations by November.”

-Tim Darnell