Cycle NC to impact weekend traffic and parking

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Cycle North Carolina is set to bring its annual Coastal Ride event back to Washington this weekend for the first time since 2021, promising a significant boost to the local economy through tourism and community engagement. The non-competitive cycling tour, which kicks off Thursday, April 25, is expected to draw over 1,200 participants from across 33 states and the District of Columbia.

This year’s participants, ranging in age from four to 91, will explore varied routes through Beaufort, Martin and Pitt counties. Routes range from 11 to 100 miles and will begin and end at the Washington waterfront.

“It’s one of those weekends where, fortunately or unfortunately, everyone will have to share the road,” said Police Chief Phil Rollinson, urging both drivers and cyclists to be cautious to prevent any accidents. “Cyclists have just as much right to be on the roadway.” 

All cycling routes will start downtown and are scheduled to operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, closing earlier at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Routes span through scenic areas of Beaufort County with rest stops including Southside Produce, Goose Creek State Park and Griffin Family Farm, among others.

Several downtown areas will see closures to accommodate the event’s needs, impacting available parking spaces in the area. Around 90 RVs will be parked in approved lots around Washington.

“The parking lots behind places like The Mulberry House will be closed for RV parking,” explained Rollinson. He noted that Festival Park would also be bustling with camping activities and event check-in at the Washington Civic Center will also see an influx of traffic.

“Water Street will be blocked off in front of Festival Park, where the cyclists will be camping,” explained Paula Stephenson, the Tourism Development Director for the City of Washington. 

Rollinson advises visitors planning to come downtown to consider parking a few blocks away to avoid congestion. 

“We still want you to come down, have dinner, do some shopping, but just make it easy on yourself and park a bit further out,” advised Rollinson.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to enjoy the bustling downtown atmosphere while being mindful of the increased pedestrian and cyclist presence this weekend.