A meeting to discuss the Freedom Bridge, a proposed pedestrian and bike project that would connect Freedom Parkway and Freedom Park, is coming up. Among the questions likely to be raised at the meeting are "How?" and "How much?" and "Why?" though it's likely none of those will be answered, since they're mostly gauging public support. It's the first big meeting after all. And it could be interesting to see just how many naysayers show up.
When the project idea was most recently floated in February it quickly garnered support like it was the community's own space race (if the Russians can build a bridge over Moreland, so can we!) If nothing else, it could be an interesting design piece that would serve as a sort of capstone for locals' planning aspirations. But since the idea has been left to stew, it seems not everyone is brimming with excitement.
For all of the bridge advocates' professed benefits, "connect the neighborhoods," "complete the Stone Mountain Trail," "[enjoyment] for generations," yada yada yada, plenty of locals feel there are better uses of everyone's time and money. Popular suggestions on that front include a complete streets implementation on Moreland, fixing the existing DeKalb Avenue and Interstate 20 bridges, and fixing or finishing pre-existing surface streets and sidewalks. Plus, projects with more momentum, like the planned PATH connection bridge over Interstate 285 into Clarkson for the Stone Mountain Trail and fast-moving PATH400, could bottleneck resources.
To their credit, the movers and shakers of the project — including Ken Edelstein, a longtime Creative Loafing editor and current president of the Candler Park Neighborhood Association, Ryan Gravel, the Beltline visionary and Don Bender, a developer credited with helping revitalize Little Five Points — have pointed out that this is a nascent idea, and advocates would try to avoid taking funding from other deserving projects.
The meeting will be held in that hotbed of freedom and truth, Manuel's Tavern, this Thursday at 7 p.m. But, before that starts, think long and hard about what would be best for the area and let your voice be heard below. Let's keep this simple ...