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Committee discusses plan for bike trail from Etowah River to Lake Lanier
Forsyth County

A new plan could create a bike plan reaching from the Etowah River in northwest Forsyth to Lake Lanier.

On Wednesday, the District 4 Subarea Plan Committee heard a draft of the bike plan from engineers with GreenbergFarrow to discuss the upcoming plan.

Mack Cain, with the project team, described Hwy. 369 as the “spine” of a bike route that would have smaller spurs to neighborhoods, parks and other areas. Plans are to connect the bike trail with the Big Creek Greenway once the greenway is completed and reaches Sawnee Mountain.

“Lakes, parks, those are your destinations, and those are the things that people would go to and come back the same way,” Cain said.

The route could go only on the north side of the highway.

One reason for the spurs, Cain said, was riders prefer to loop around trails back to their starting point rather than backtracking.

As proposed, spurs would reach Eagle’s Beak, Matt Community, Coal Mountain, Central, Charleston, Six Mile, Bennett and Young Deer parks and the Sawnee Mountain Preserve.

Cain said it would be possible to run the plan through the southeast side of Central Park and across an easement to Freedom Parkway.

“There’s a utility easement running right along the side of Ga. 400 right by Central Park [that is] easy to get the plan around,” he said. “I understand those intersections are in design and planning to be worked on, so that’s where we have early vision.”

District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills said the plan should be in place before development in north Forsyth and that it would be much easier to have a plan to build trails for developers than trying to purchase the land from individual landowners later on.

“We could get development dollars maybe and approach it even from Alpharetta’s standpoint the way they do and getting the developer to pay for some of this if we have a plan,” Mills said. “But, without a plan, we can’t do anything.”

The committee also discussed a 153-nautical-mile paddle trail on Lake Lanier starting near the Dawson County line with stops at parks and other sites all the way to the Fulton County line.

No action was taken at the meeting, and members were given a survey on their thoughts on the features of both plans, including a name for the project, to be discussed at an upcoming meeting.