SERVING THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF DRUID HILLS
A COMMUNITY NESTLED IN THE HEART OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA
Where did this idea originate? In early 2015 the Urban Land Institute (ULI) conducted a study of ways to improve Emory Village including increasing connectivity to other places. One suggestion from ULI to Emory Village Alliance (EVA) was to explore the idea of a multi-use trail along Lullwater Rd. connecting Emory University to the PATH Network at Freedom Park.
May 2015: EVA asked Becky Evans, Sally Sears, and Mark Goldman to explore this concept with the Druid Hills community.
November 2015: Lullwater Road residents received a letter via USPS with a map of a trail along Lullwater Rd. The point of contact listed on the letter was Cathy Vandenberg, President of DHCA. Residents showed up with this letter at DHCA Board Meeting that week. DHCA disavowed any connection to the letter, but acknowledged some knowledge of the proposal.
December 2015: First official introduction of the idea to DHCA Executive Committee by Becky Evans and Van Biesel, members of the DHCA Transportation Committee: “Proposal to Connect Emory to the PATH Trail Network”. The EC advised the presenters to talk to all the stakeholder groups and homeowners on Lullwater Road to confirm interest or opposition.
February 1, 2016: members of DHCA Landmark District Preservation Committee and Pres. of DHCA attended a “Lullwater Trail Study Committee Meeting with City of Atlanta” – a meeting facilitated by Alex Wan, at the request of Becky Evans & Van Biesel of our Transportation Committee - that included City of Atlanta officials and a presentation by Ed McBrayer on the Lullwater PATH Proposal. At the last minute, Dan Frymire, Chair of our LDPC, was invited to attend and alerted his committee.
February 16, 2016: Lullwater Estate Owners’ Association Board voted its opposition and issued a resolution allowing no public use of their private property as proposed in the route options designed by PATH. This resolution was sent to PATH Director Ed McBrayer and DHCA.
March 28, 2016: DHCA hosted a Town Hall meeting at Paideia School auditorium for the purpose of informing the neighborhood of the PATH proposal. Ed McBrayer and his team gave a presentation and participated in a Q&A. We estimate 300 people attended.
Spring 2016: DHCA received a lot of feedback from the Stakeholder organizations and a large percentage of owners of the 222 homes along Lullwater Rd. The vast majority were strongly opposed to all PATH options in the proposal.
Spring 2016: Lullwater Preservation Coalition was formed by Druid Hills residents.
May 2016: Our own DHCA Landmark District Preservation Committee went into action and after a site inspection drafted a report stating: “…Committee finds the proposed Lullwater Trail, connecting Freedom Trail and Emory Village, inappropriate for Druid Hills.”
June 13, 2016: As a result of the mounting opposition and a long discussion at DHCA EC meeting, DHCA President Anne Wallace met with Ed McBrayer.
June 23, 2016: Mr. McBrayer met with the leaders of all the stakeholder groups and residents on June 23rd to discuss a compromise that might be worth consideration as a win/win and potentially design an asset acceptable to the neighborhood. The meeting on June 23rd took place at Druid Hills Golf Club was facilitated by Anne Wallace, President of DHCA.
Results of the meeting:
1. The 4 previously proposed PATH options have been retracted and removed from the PATH website.
2. Everyone agreed to consider the possibility of striping Lullwater Road to create a type of Bicycle Facility that would potentially achieve the safety and connectivity desired while not adding any infrastructure to the road.
3. Paideia representatives suggested a “Design Charette” facilitated by a professional at PATH’s expense to work with this group and also to come up with suggestions for the Ponce/Lullwater/Fairview intersection and crossing Paideia’s land to access the Freedom PATH.
4. This next step is planned for mid-August.
The Druid Hills Civic Association recently facilitated a discussion between community stakeholders and the PATH Foundation regarding the proposed Lullwater Trail connecting Emory to the PATH Network at Freedom Park. As a result of that meeting, the PATH Foundation, Inc. agreed to eliminate proposed plans A, B, C, C Alternate, and D that were presented at a DHCA sponsored Town Hall Meeting on March 28, 2016. The plans involved a proposed ten-foot wide multi-use trail and a four-foot buffer along Lullwater Road; some plans involved using private property and Lullwater Road right-of-way. I am pleased to tell you those plans have been removed from the PATH website.
This agreement was the result of conversation between leaders of community stakeholder groups, directly affected because of their physical location along the proposed route, and The PATH Foundation, Inc. The stakeholder groups’ representatives met to discuss the proposed bike plans connecting Freedom Park with Emory. After listening to concerns, the group unanimously agreed to remove the biggest objections by eliminating the proposed plans from further consideration. PATH representatives listened to the stakeholders’ needs and expectations as related to a potential design that may be acceptable to the neighborhood. The PATH Foundation, Inc. has agreed to hire a third party design professional to work with the stakeholder organizations in order to develop potential alternative plans that combine the best of historic preservation with appropriate and safe walking, biking, and residential traffic. This will occur via a workshop (aka “Design Charrette”) to be held in mid-August.
This productive group effort was an important positive step forward in a unified approach to preserving the Druid Hills historic community and removing the threat of an unsolicited intrusion. The stakeholders are committed to searching for a mutually agreeable plan that is potentially acceptable and supports the long-standing Druid Hills Historic Guidelines.
The community stakeholder groups include:
Other groups to be consulted as options/designs are developed include:
Anne H. Wallace, President
Druid Hills Civic Association
DRUID HILLS CIVIC ASSOCIATIONP.O. Box 363, Decatur, GA 30031
©2020 Druid Hills Civic Association. | Druid Hills Civic Association, Inc. is a Georgia non-profit corporation.