Land use ideas sought

Published 12:51 am Friday, October 14, 2011

Does Beaufort County need more sidewalks and bicycle paths?

How about more public transportation like bus or rail service to your destination?

Is it more important to have four-lane, high-speed roadways or maintain the county’s rural culture and landscape?

These are some of the questions local planners want the public to answer in a survey of county transportation and land use issues currently under way.

For the first time in about 10 years, planners with the Mid-East Commission along with the Transportation and Planning Branch of the state Department of Transportation are working to update the county’s transportation and land use plans for Beaufort County.

The update, expected to be completed in early to mid-2012, will be used by county and transportation leaders to make decisions affecting the county’s land use and transportation needs for the next 25 to 30 years, according to Bryant Buck, planning director for the Mid-East Commission.

“We are soliciting involvement and participation from all the county’s citizens,” Buck said in a recent interview with the Daily News.

The survey, which will be included in the plan, is a means on identifying transportation and land use needs that are important to Beaufort County residents, local officials and businesses, he said.

It will also help planners demonstrate the community’s need for services when applying for grant funds for specific transportation or land use projects such as funds for the construction of bicycle paths or walking trails, Buck said.

The survey includes 19 questions and takes less than 15 minutes to complete.

It asks respondents to rank the importance of seven transportation and land use planning goals including increased transportation choices, increased public transportation options, faster automobile travel times, community and rural culture preservation, environmental protection, economic growth and services for those with special needs.

It next asks respondents to rank the importance of several strategies used to increase road capacity, preserve community and rural culture, protect the environment and spur economic growth and development.

It asks respondents if they are concerned about safety or traffic accidents at specific locations in the county, congestion on particular roadways or truck traffic in a particular area.

Respondents are also asked if there are particular routes – such as Interstate 95 or U.S. Highway 17 – or locations – such as New Bern, Kinston or Raleigh – to which access needs to be improved.

And it asks if and where respondents would use sidewalks, off-road trails or greenways or park-and-ride lots.

Finally, the survey asks a series of demographic questions including a respondent’s age and the part of Beaufort County in which he or she lives.

Copies of the survey can be found at the Beaufort County Administrative Building, the George H. and Laura E. Brown Library, the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, the Bath and Pantego Post Office, and municipal offices in Aurora, Belhaven, Chocowinity, Washington and Washington Park.

The survey should be returned to the Mid-East Commission, 1385 John Small Ave., Washington, NC 27889. It can also be completed online at