Public input requested for greenway study

Published 6:15 am Wednesday, April 19, 2023

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A greenway has been talked about for years, but the Mid-East Rural Planning Organization, with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and Greenville Urban Area MPO hopes to put some action behind those discussions. 

Recently, a survey was announced requesting the public’s input about how much they would use a greenway that would connect downtown Washington to the existing South Tar River Greenway in Greenville. Survey responses would help the three aforementioned organizations determine which of three possible routes would be most used by residents in Beaufort and Pitt counties. Each of the routes would be approximately 20 miles. 

Sam Singleton with Mid-East Rural Planning Organization said the idea of adding a greenway resurfaced in the last three years, because of an influx of cyclists in Greenville and Washington in addition to people spending more time outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. A “high priority” of the greenway is to provide cyclists with a safe path versus riding alongside motorists in order to prevent collisions. 

“Providing an area for them – a safe corridor for traveling – is a high priority for us here,” Singleton said. This is not exclusive to cyclists, because the greenway is aimed to be a safe place for pedestrians to walk and enjoy being in nature. “This gives people a recreational opportunity to have a safe corridor where they can walk, jog, run or ride bikes.” 

Another goal is to bridge the two communities to create a “mutually beneficial relationship,” he continued to explain. It is hoped that the greenway will bring visitors to Beaufort County who will spend their dollars here and vice versa it will bring people to Greenville to shop and dine, Singleton said. Too, it is hoped that should the greenway be built it can draw large crowds of people for marathons and cycling events. 

The survey is open for residents to take until May 19. Afterward, designs for the three routes will be completed and shared with the public for their input. Those designs are expected to be finished later this year. 

Funding for the greenway would come from NCDOT, according to Singleton. It has yet to be determined how much constructing a greenway would cost.