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Is the Beltline Too Crowded Already? Some Think So

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A debate rages after Creative Loafing posted a helmet-camera clip taken by a bicyclist on Saturday to illustrate the Eastside Trail's carnival-like weekend patronage. Granted, this past Saturday brought pristine February weather and a Mardi Gras shindig at Parish restaurant, which abuts the popular Beltline thoroughfare. But the filmmaker's cockeyed point (see the video) is taken: The Eastside Trail can swell to overcapacity when conditions are right. Mayor Kasim Reed has noted as much, recently calling the trail "already overused" in a pitch to keep the Betline's momentum going. But is the issue really that severe? And are there simple answers that won't sap millions in funding that's being directed to other initiatives, such as linking the trail to Historic Fourth Ward Park and lengthening it through Cabbagetown to Glenwood Park?

[The Eastside Trail, last summer, looked like this (above, right). Photo: AstraGroup]

Buried in the CL comments is this interesting and borderline enraged opinion from the bicyclist commuter who actually posted the video:

"As far as I'm concerned, the recreational joggers, the dog walkers, and the families with kids can f**k right off. There are maybe a billion other places in the city that are just as or more suitable for jogging, dogwalking, and children playing but hundreds of morons pack out the beltline (sic) every weekend just because it's a new thing."

Phew. That's harsh. Years ago, it was clear to us the Eastside Trail had the potential to be Atlanta's version of a boardwalk, especially on weekends. With myriad residential developments under construction in the area, it's safe to say the crowds will only thicken. So is this people-as-obstacles stance a little extreme? Can't we Betline patrons all just get along?

· This is what it's like to ride a bike on the Beltline's Eastside Trail on the weekend [CL]