by: Erica Byfield Updated:ATLANTA —
Residents in northeast Atlanta are concerned about the lack of lighting on the Atlanta Beltline.
A new 2.25-mile section of the Beltline that runs from midtown to the Old Fourth Ward is expected to open in July. Citizens said they want to feel safe on the network of trails.
A Beltline representative told Channel 2's Erica Byfield lighting will be added during phase two and is slated to happen within the next five to seven years.
"As it stands now there is a significant amount of ambient light from the surrounding properties. So, even at night there is decent visibility. However, we will improve that in the future when there is funding for it," said spokesman Ethan Davidson.
Some residents who live in an apartment complex in the Inman Park neighborhood that backs up to the Beltline disagree.
"It could definitely use a lot more lights," Garrett Burns told Byfield.
Cece Ukatu said she was also concerned.
"Definitely in the winter months, if you want to stay out until like 7 walking around, it’s going to be a little concerning, especially since there has been some concern about the crime around here," said Ukatu.
Other residents fear the Beltline will become an escape route for criminals, But Davidson said that won’t likely be the case.
"Previously, if someone wanted an escape route, it would have been much easier because it would have been harder to find them. It's understandable that people have fears, but I think the opposite will be true," said Davidson.
The Beltline will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Davidson said Beltline leaders are working closely with Atlanta police to address safety concerns.
He added if the 1 cent transportation sales tax proposal passes in July, the timeline to install lighting along the Beltline should drastically improve.