Go Mills River Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan
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.
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 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, 2021 the Town learned it was approved for the grant and the official grant agreement was signed on March 18, 2021. Once the agreement was signed the Town immediately began 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.
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.
The plans purpose consists of three priorities.
- Identify Connections
- Build the Network
- Foster a Pedestrian and Bicycle Friendly Mills River
The steering committee has identified four goals for the Go Mills River plan.
- Create the Network. Connect greenways, sidewalks, and bike facilities to key destinations and schools.
- Build Safe Streets. Create connections that are comfortable for people of all ages and abilities.
- Identify Policy. Identify policy recommendations that facilitate greenways, sidewalks, or other multimodal improvements.
- Promote a Culture of Walking and Biking. Develop a culture that celebrates walking and biking.
Throughout the spring of 2023 the Town's Planning Board and the Parks, Trails, & Recreation Advisory Committee will review the plan and once satisfied with it make a recommendation to the full Town Council. The Planning Board saw its first presentation of the draft plan on March 7, 2023 and will be reviewing it again at its next meeting at 6:30 pm on April 4, 2023.
The Parks, Trails, & Recreation Advisory Committee will see the presentation on March 28, 2023 at 7:00 pm.
Town Council was provided a fully copy of the plan, in draft form, on March 10, 2023. It will continue to review the plan while the other two Boards do the same. To view or download a copy of the plan, please click the link below.
Daniel Cobb, AICP - Town Staff - Daniel.Cobb@millsriver.org - (828) 890-2901
Kristy Carter, AICP - Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. - firstname.lastname@example.org - (828) -575-0133
Teresa Buckwalter, P.L.A. - Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. - email@example.com - (828) 575-0133
For more information and to view recordings of the public input session click here.