Go Mills River

Summary

The Town of Mills River has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, and Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. to develop the Town's first bicycle and pedestrian plan. This plan will identify potential routes for the construction of new infrastructure to support alternate modes of transportation including sidewalks, greenways, bike paths, and bike lanes. These are sometimes referred to as multimodal transportation alternatives. 

History

In 2019 NCDOT adopted a Complete Streets Policy which establishes that any multimodal improvements identified in local or regional plans can be included as part of a roadway project following the same route. This is important because it allows towns and cities of small to medium size to implement new bicycle and pedestrian amenities at little to no cost to the local taxpayer.

The Plan

The Town's work on this project officially began in the summer of 2020 with the adoption of Resolution 2020-06 authorizing the Town to submit its grant request. On January 6, 2022 the Town learned it was approved for the grant and work began immediately identifying a steering committee and gathering the required data and documents to establish baseline information to be used in the development of the plan.

Throughout the summer and fall of 2021 the Town's steering committee met to identify goals for the plan and garner feedback from the public. On February 9, 2022 two public meetings were held via Zoom (unfortunately a rise in COVID numbers at that time prevented in-person meetings).

On August 7, 2022 the Town gathered feedback from the public at the annual Party in the Park event hosted by Mills River United Methodist Church at the Town's park. The public was asked 

Why do we plan? To make better decisions. This plan establishes a vision for multimodal connectivity, it positions the Town for future funding and partnerships, supports local goals of multimodal connections, and guides developer participation. 

Plan Vision 

Mills river is a close-knit community with a high quality of life where infrastructure and connectivity is prioritized. People can easily and safely walk and bike for transportation and recreation. Residents and visitors can access the Town's park without a car, and transportation opportunities connect neighborhoods to schools and commercial / employment centers.

Purpose

The plans purpose consists of three priorities.

  1. Identify Connections
  2. Build the Network
  3. Foster a Pedestrian and Bicycle Friendly Mills River

Goals

The steering committee has identified four goals for the Go Mills River plan. 

  1. Create the Network. Connect greenways, sidewalks, and bike facilities to key destinations and schools.
  2. Build Safe Streets. Create connections that are comfortable for people of all ages and abilities.
  3. Identify Policy. Identify policy recommendations that facilitate greenways, sidewalks, or other multimodal improvements.
  4. Promote a Culture of Walking and Biking. Develop a culture that celebrates walking and biking.

What's Next?

Throughout the fall of 2022 the Town's steering committee is meeting to review public input collected from February and August and identify a list of priorities. Following that the Town's Planning Board will review the plan and once satisfied with it make a recommendation to the full Town Council. No dates have been set for the Planning Board or Council's review. Please stay tuned to this page for future dates!

Contact

Daniel Cobb, AICP - Town Staff - Daniel.Cobb@millsriver.org - (828) 890-2901

Kristy Carter, AICP - Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. - kcarter@trafficpd.com - (828) -575-0133

Teresa Buckwalter, P.L.A. - Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. - tbuckwalter@trafficpd.com - (828) 575-0133

For more information and to view recordings of the public input session click here.