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Brookhaven voices crime fears about Peachtree Creek Greenway trail plans

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Perturbed residents reportedly storm out of meeting detailing city’s forthcoming “model mile,” an eventual Beltline link

An image of the Peachtree Creek Greenway, which would build off existing infrastructure and bucolic surroundings.
The greenway would build off existing infrastructure and bucolic surroundings.
Peachtree Creek Greenway

Sometime in 2018, Brookhaven should be cutting the ribbon on a scenic, one-mile concrete bike path with an architectural bridge and benches that eventually could link to the Atlanta Beltline and Buckhead’s PATH400.

But not everybody’s cool with that.

At a meeting this week, Brookhaven residents got their most detailed glimpse to date of the city’s planned “model mile,” a linear-park section of the larger Peachtree Creek Greenway.

The city hired the PATH Foundation earlier this year to tackle designs of the 14-foot-wide trail, and at the meeting, the nonprofit’s executive director, Ed McBrayer, presented the vision.

According to Reporter Newspapers, a resident of nearby Pine Hills applauded the trail initiative in general but voiced concerns about parking, traffic, privacy, and crime. McBrayer reportedly responded that, in his nearly three decades of building trails, he’s never seen a correlation between new trails and spiking crime, adding: “That’s not a reality ... That’s your perception. If you go to any police department, they will say trails decrease crime.”

But several of roughly 30 attendees weren’t receptive to that. Some shook their heads, one spouted “ridiculous,” and four people walked out, the newspaper reported.

Nonetheless, the mile-long greenway is expected to break ground early next year and take no longer than eight months to complete. Roughly $6 million in hotel/motel tax revenue is footing the bill.

At the meeting, a Brookhaven city official chimed in that police will patrol the trails, and that the city is working with two forthcoming multifamily complexes along the initial phase to ensure privacy, the newspaper reported.

Beyond Brookhaven, the grand vision calls for a 12-mile greenway snaking along Peachtree Creek from the Atlanta Beltline up to Doraville.

The rough scope of the trail.
Peachtree Creek Greenway

The path would be implemented in five phases, which would stretch barely OTP and connect key points including the Atlanta Hawks Practice Facility, Corporate Square, REI outfitters, Mercer University, a historic mill, and even a Waffle House, Publix, and MARTA station.

Plans indicate the trail would cross Buford Highway twice, closer to the southern end.

Incorporated five years ago as DeKalb County’s 11th city, Brookhaven is establishing itself as a place where discerning standards (some would say rampant NIMBYism) reign supreme.

Earlier this year, Brookhaven succeeded in defeating a planned, MARTA-led transformation of parking lots around the Brookhaven station into a mixed-use community. In response, MARTA shifted focus to ongoing transit-oriented developments in Edgewood and Avondale Estates, which have embraced the projects.

For more on the Peachtree Creek Greenway’s initial Brookhaven leg, the newspaper has a bounty of images and details for the planned mile over here.