ATT access unites us

Lisa Sorg’s piece about the American Tobacco Trail (“A trail of two cities,” July 15) includes a photo and a reference indicating that Durham’s greenway is part of a much larger trail network.

That larger connection is the East Coast Greenway, the 2,900-mile route connecting cities from Maine’s Canadian border to the southern tip of Florida. The ATT is an important segment of a route uniting communities along the entire Eastern seaboard. From the ATT trailhead at Mile 0 in Durham, one could travel all the way to Clayton and spend fewer than five miles on the road, with 93 percent of that route’s 73 miles on motor-free greenways.

Headquartered at Mile 5.75 on Durham’s ATT is the East Coast Greenway Alliance. The ATT is very important to us as an organization and as individuals who use the trail regularly to commute to work. We appreciate the need for dialogue and progress toward racial and class equity. While the ATT may not be perfect, we feel it is overwhelmingly positive that a variety of communities do have access to the greenwaya shared, free and public resource.

The study on perceived trail safety versus actual safety on the ATT in Durham does present the opportunity for inquiry into our individual and community attitudes about race and class. If the ATT in Durham is safer than it is reputed to be, perhaps it’s our beliefs, rather than the trail itself, we most need to examine. We hope that trail use on the ATT will continue to grow and united us on a shared path of unity, community, sustainability and health.

Dennis Markatos-Soriano, Durham
The writer is the executive director of the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

The ATT is indeed an equalizer. I see the same people day after day, people of all sizes, colours and shapes. Yet none of us know anything, other than what we can see, about one another. The symbols of status are all removed. It is not possible to discern economic position, occupation, religion, or any other thing than what’s visible, and that’s not much. Once in a while a T-shirt may give a clue, but it may be borrowed or bought second-hand as a running shirt. Yes, the ATT is a place where we are all reduced to a shared goal without talking or opinions, just a lot of smiles. Where else do you find that?

Karen L., Chapel Hill