By Gabriel Owens, contributor
The Atlanta Beltline Inc. held a briefing and Q and A meeting Monday night about the construction progress of the Westside Trail, and officials expect the grand opening to happen in September.
The Westside Trail is expected to be a 3-mile multi-use trail, consisting of 14-foot wide pathways with 14 access points with over 40 acres of greenway. It will connect University Avenue to Washington Park in southwest Atlanta.
Project Manager Kevin Burke led a brief presentation followed by a lengthy question and answer session to the local West End community, addressing security concerns, the finishing touches on construction, and weather concerns from the last few weeks of heavy rainfall.
“Seven inches of rain in a month can create difficulties,” Burke said.
One of their storm water ponds that was under construction just for the purpose of keeping the trails from flooding was overloaded, he said. The event gave the project a new challenge and provided valuable lessons learned going forward.
Beyond weather, one of the bigger concerns addressed by the crowd related to safety.
Along with trail lighting, there will be cameras every 90 feet, with a few others covering “blind spots” that have been identified. While the trail will follow Park Service hours (although Burke said they do not fall under their umbrella) of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Burke admitted that some residents “will probably ignore them” so they will maintain light and camera security 24 hours a day.
Burke also stated the railings around Kroger City Center up the “Kroger ramp”, along with the Lee Street ramp and other areas, will be stainless steel and in compliance with the American Disabilities Act.
Some other highlights from Monday’s meeting:
- For safety on the Westside “corridor” there will be restrictions on access to it from private property gates.
- Trash concerns in the areas around the trail were addressed. More community involvement will be needed to maintain the area.
- Burke said ABI is still awaiting environmental approval for future public transit plans.