by Connie Engel, partner, Childress Klein Properties
Movement throughout the Cumberland CID is an ongoing topic of conversation. It’s not just about gas-powered vehicle transportation anymore. It’s movement. How do we efficiently move people in, out and throughout the district?
During my 33 years at Childress Klein Properties my focus has been on attracting tenants to the high-rise office buildings at the Galleria and that means pursuing traffic and transit enhancements.
Cumberland is not looking to become the next Midtown — with its urban density making it difficult to get in and around the area — however, we are intent on making Cumberland more accessible and available for all modes of transit. We have spent 15 years constructing the Cumberland Trail Network, which is a 60-mile network of multi-use trails around the Cumberland area and will eventually connect to the Atlanta BeltLine. To date, the CCID has completed 38 miles of the network connecting to the Silver Comet Trail, Mountain-to-River Trail and Noonday Creek Trail, providing pedestrians and bicyclists miles of passage through Cobb County’s natural landscape. Most recently, we opened a one-mile extension to the Bob Callan Trail in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, making the project’s completion a greater reality.
Another project I am quite excited about is a three-mile complete loop for pedestrian and bicycle traffic that connects the four quadrants of I-285 and Cobb Parkway — like a mini Atlanta BeltLine. This will give commuters options to exercise, get lunch or visit The Battery without having to get into a car. Fewer cars on the streets means less congestion, making it easier to move throughout the district. I also envision future autonomous vehicles circling this loop, where travelers can easily board and disembark at various destinations along the way.
Completing the Akers Mill ramp also will be a great accomplishment for the CCID as the Cumberland and Galleria area will benefit from efficiently moving more than 100,000 daily commuters to and from the I-75 Northwest Express Lane system. The last CCID transportation project of this magnitude was the construction of the Kennedy Interchange.
While the Cumberland CID is well-designed right now, there will always be changes and improvements to make, and I believe we should be good stewards of our property owners’ taxes. Being a CCID board member has been both a challenge and reward that I have enjoyed for nearly 20 years, and I take great pride in improving our district for businesses and residents to flourish and succeed.