Here’s your chance to help decide where the state’s next sidewalks, greenways and crosswalks will be and what they might look like: the N.C. Department of Transportation is using social media to help create its new statewide bicycle and pedestrian plan.
The plan, WalkBikeNC, will consider residents’ ideas for improving walking and bicycling in the state. Ideas can be submitted to WalkBikeNC.com until Oct. 1.
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The website is a community forum, so residents can vote and comment on other contributors’ ideas. More than 200 ideas have been submitted so far. Ideas include “allow bicyclists to run red lights in urban areas” and “ban cell phone use while operating a vehicle.”
The statewide plan is being created by the NCDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Division, which also provides grants for town pedestrian plans. The Davidson office for Alta Planning & Design will act as lead consultant for the plan.
NCDOT says it will pursue public input through the website as well as in public meetings and workshops before the final plan is released in May 2013.
Pedestrian plans are often praised for engaging town residents in the planning process. “Pedestrian plans are an excellent forum for discussion,” said Lauren Blackburn, director of the NCDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Division and formerly planner for the Mecklenburg County town of Davidson. “It’s a democratic process.”
The plan aims to reduce the number of pedestrian and bicyclist accidents in the state. In 2009, 146 pedestrians and 16 bicyclists were killed in N.C. collisions.
The plan also will encourage healthy living habits such as walking and bicycling in order to lower the state’s high obesity rate. North Carolina is the 14th most obese in the nation, according to Trust for America’s health, a nonprofit health advocacy group.
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