Residents of West Jefferson, and anyone who walks in the town, are being asked to submit comments on a pedestrian plan the town is working on with the help of McGill & Associates Engineering.
Cities and towns across North Carolina are aiming to become more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly with the help of grants awarded through the N.C. Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative. The grants are part of an ongoing planning program that helps North Carolina’s cities and towns plan for bicyclists and pedestrians, and to integrate those modes into their overall transportation system.
Funding for the West Jefferson plan comes from a $20,000 NC Department of Transportation grant. The planning grant initiative is jointly sponsored by the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation and NCDOT’s Transportation Planning Branch. Funds for the initiative came from a special allocation approved by the General Assembly in 2003, as well as federal funds earmarked specifically for bicycle and pedestrian planning by the TPB.
Plans funded by the grants are not limited to a specific project, but represent an overall strategy for expanding bicycle and pedestrian opportunities within a given community.
A community input session was held in West Jefferson last month during one of the Backstreet Park concerts, and folks came from near and far to learn more about the plan and submit comments. Mike Norris and Jim Ford, consultants with McGill & Associates, along with West Jefferson Planner Matthew Levi, provided maps, talked to residents and collected comments.
Levi said this is a plan oriented toward pedestrian-related facilities to enhance pedestrian service and safety.
It is a year-long process in which the town will accumulate comments and suggestions on needs and assessment of existing conditions, what citizens want and feedback on various pedestrian elements.
An 11-member steering committee of residents representing various aspects of the community is discussing the plan and citizen comments. They will report to the board of aldermen for future public hearings.
Anyone who wishes to learn more about the pedestrian plan or make suggestions can contact Matthew Levi at West Jefferson Town Hall at 246-3551.