“Reasons Why I Love the BeltLine” (a teenager’s point of view)

We were thrilled to see this article in the Inman Park Advocator with a teenager’s take on the Eastside Trail and wanted to share it with all of you. It was written by Grady High School student Will Taber. Enjoy!

Guest blog by Will Taber

1. I can now ride my bike safely from the end of my street to Grady High School in just seven minutes ,which is much shorter than by car or school bus. I also don’t have to ride in the car with my sister before 8am or rely on her getting us to school on time while listening to her choice of music.

2.  Riding my bike is much more adventurous, fun, and scenic than sitting in a car or school bus during morning rush hour. The cool morning air is invigorating and I get to see all the new art and sculptures that continue to pop up.

3. I feel more awake in first period and this better energy seems to last throughout the rest of my school day. I don’t feel sleepy in some of my classes anymore.  Endorphins are definitely changing my brain chemistry in a helpful way.

4. The Beltline is by far the coolest thing to happen to my neighborhood since Freedom Park was built and of course the annual tradition of Festival.  I am extremely proud to live in Inman Park. There was a time that I wished I lived closer to most of my friends in VA Highlands, but now I know I’m very lucky to live where I do.

Eastside Trail spur to Stone Mountain Path and Freedom Park
This spur trail on the Eastside Trail offers a direct connection between Elizabeth Street in Inman Park, the Stone Mountain Path, and Freedom Park. Photos credit: Christopher T. Martin.

5. After school, I can choose to ride my bike over to Piedmont Park with my friends to play basketball, football, or soccer. One day, my friends and I actually ran into and got photos taken with Woody Harrelson. I wouldn’t have had this cool experience if I had to ride the bus home or wait for a ride with my sister.  I like the new freedom my bike gives me to go home when I want to.

6. Since I depend on my bike for transportation now, my Dad and I spend even more time together in the backyard shed that we built together, learning bicycle mechanics on my various bikes.

I feel very lucky for this unique opportunity to watch Atlanta history take place by witnessing Ryan Gravel’s innovative vision of the Beltline become a reality.  It has been very exciting to see dirt  turned into completed concrete sections being enjoyed by more and more people everyday!

Piedmont Park and Eastside Trail - aerial photo
Residents can now have an uninterrupted journey from five different neighborhoods to Piedmont Park and Grady High School (seen in the foreground above).

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