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Milton works to update its trail system

City Council views 3 priority projects



MILTON, Ga. — Additions to Milton’s trails system have been stalled due to funding issues for years. But now the city says it has reliable backing sources and plans are moving forward.

A public information meeting was held last week, and at Monday’s City Councill meeting representatives from Kimley-Horn consultants laid out a proposed plan that includes 53 miles of trails through the city.

Current funds in the city’s parks and trails coffer, TSPLOST funds and impact fees have allowed the city to pursue updating and adding to the trail system to the tune of approximately $10 million. The figure does not include potential funds from the Greenspace Bond.

“We now have a more reliable source of funding,” public works director Carter Lucas said. “Federal grants can also be considered as well.”

Those resources could go to three “golden opportunities” trails presented by Kimley-Horn at Monday’s meeting.

These primary projects were chosen based on their cost, proximity to existing trails and their accessibility to regional trail systems, such as the Big Creek Greenway and Alpharetta Loop.

The three include a Crabapple Loop, Central Milton Trails and Deerfield Connectors.

The two-mile Crabapple Loop could run from Freemanville Road through Milton High School by Northwestern Middle before connecting at Mayfield Road near the Milton Library and Crabapple Village. The trail would include one mile of greenway paths and one mile of sidewalks along roads or “sidepaths.”

With the sidewalk projects along Mayfield Road, the trail would connect with Milton and Alpharetta’s future joint park space along Mayfield that was acquired in August.

The Central Milton Trails, the longest of the primary projects at 5.9 miles, would run from Birmingham Falls Elementary to Summit Hill Elementary. With completed sidewalks along Providence Road, the trail would connect to Providence Park at its southern border.

Two miles of greenway paths and 3.6 miles of gravel road, or shared-use equestrian trails, would add to the 1.7 miles of sidewalk paths.

The 3.8-mile Deerfield Connector would include Cambridge High School at the north, then running along Cogburn Road and turning onto Webb Road.

There would also be the potential to create a loop along Ga. 9.

The Deerfield Connector would be comprised solely of sidewalk trails.

Lucas said residents will see some of the city’s existing trails come to fruition when the Mayfield Road sidewalk project moves forward and newer sidewalks are installed along Cogburn Road and Webb Road. He said sidewalk trails are a focus in intersection development, including the Charlotte Drive extension now in the works.

“You’ve already started to see the beginnings of trail sections in some areas,” Lucas said. “The 53 total miles (in Kimley-Horn’s proposed plan) are a long way down the road, but certain elements are coming into play right now.”

For the regional connections, Lucas said the city will need to coordinate with Alpharetta. But, he added, “they have always been on board with us.”

That cooperation includes a study conducted by both cities and the North Fulton Community Improvement District in 2014 for potential connections to the Big Creek Greenway.

Though the city does have a connection with the trail – sidewalks running from Windward Parkway to Marconi Drive to the trailhead – Lucas said Milton seeks to provide a “better experience for the user” in its potential network.

But in order to do that, the city must evaluate how it would address a connection with a proposed widening of Ga. 9, as well as crossing Ga. 400.

According to the city’s 2016 Community Transportation Plan survey, residents are ready for the city to do just that. Walking and biking trails ranked as the second most important transportation issue, right behind vehicular travel.

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