City pursuing pedestrian planPublished 9:34pm Saturday, October 19, 2013
People love to walk in Washington, especially on its boardwalk and Stewart Parkway promenade along the Pamlico River.
To help enhance that pedestrian traffic, the City Council authorized the city manager to sign a contract (not to exceed $10,000) with the Mid-East Commission to complete a comprehensive pedestrian plan for the city. That authorization came during the council’s Oct. 7 meeting.
A $10,000 Community Transformation Grant was accepted by the city May 20. The plan is expected to be completed by the end of July 2014.
Under contract terms, Mid-East Commission staff will do the majority of the work to develop the plan, including a field survey to determine perceived “hot spots” for pedestrian traffic, potential of off-road connectivity and areas of development where high pedestrian traffic might occur. Mid-East Commission will facilitate any meetings of the project’s advisory committee, which, as part of its duties, will identify any additional stakeholder groups (law enforcement, health, transportation, parks and recreation and planning) that should be interviewed to ensure their needs are addressed in the planning process.
“We did a plan in 2006 that showed where the major needs were. Not only with sidewalks but where we needed some intersection cuts, curb cuts for handicapped accessibility,” said John Rodman, the city’s planning and development director. “What we want to do now is update that plan, see where we are and see where the needs still exist. … Traditionally, you do an update of a plan every five or six years just to see what we’ve accomplished.”
Rodman said the new plan would further identify priority pedestrian areas in the city.
“I know some areas around the hospital are a real concern right now. The update is important because we want to know how much we’ve done and where we still need to go,” Rodman said.
The commission also will conduct a public meeting to inform the public of the project and gather feedback from the public on pedestrian and mobility issues and concerns. That meeting is tentatively set for sometime in January 2014. A second public meeting is planned for March 2014, when the public will have an opportunity to review it.
The plan will follow the N.C. Department of Transportation’s expanded municipal pedestrian plan template and address several items, including, but not limited to, the following:
• immediate concerns and long-term aspirations;
• an explanation of the benefits of walking;
• system map showing each proposed project according to location and type;
• specific project identification and priority list; and
• cost estimates for proposed facilities.