MOREHEAD CITY — A group of area bicyclists is on a mission to improve access to safe bicycle and pedestrian routes in Carteret County to be used for transportation, recreation and sport.
Founded last October and based in the county, Coastal Bike Impact is a group of biking enthusiasts working to improve the area’s bicycle transportation network with goals of increasing safety and promoting the area as a bike-friendly destination. Alex McCrary, a board member with CBI, made a presentation to the County Transportation Committee Aug. 18 about some of the advocacy work the group is currently engaged in.
“We’ve gained the support of over 150 local area cyclists, we’ve reviewed local town, county (and) regional transportation plans with regard to bicycling and pedestrian use, we’ve networked with several statewide organizations (and) talked with (the N.C. Department of Transportation),” Mr. McCrary said. “…We’ve also begun to meet with local officials about our thoughts and to listen to their thoughts about bicycle and pedestrian transportation, safety and tourism here in the county.”
Mr. McCrary came to the transportation committee with requests for its support in two major goals: developing a comprehensive, countywide bicycle transportation network and establishing a county-level bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee.
Mr. McCrary said the “bones” of a bicycle transportation plan are already in place, but his group wants to expand upon existing plans to create and map a comprehensive biking network for the county. Several area towns – Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Morehead City and Emerald Isle – have adopted their own bike/pedestrian plans, and the county is involved in the Great Trails State Plan, the Croatan Regional Bike + Trails Plan and it also hosts segments of the East Coast Greenway.
“There’s lots of great ideas there, some of them need to be tweaked, but those are all consensus-driven plans that have been adopted by the various townships, the county and by the state,” Mr. McCrary said. “We think the bones of a viable network are there, but we do see a need to improve the implementation of these plans.”
To help the development of a county bicycle transportation network, CBI has begun an effort using GIS mapping technology to survey road conditions and map out possible routes.
Some of the challenges Mr. McCrary said the group has encountered, so far, include lack of coordination between towns and the county in implementing bike plans and a need for funding sources to carry out the design, construction and maintenance of bicycle and pedestrian trails. According to a timeline of work on CBI’s website, coastalbikeimpact.com, the group is currently in the process of networking with local town and county officials and garnering more support for its stated goals.
CBI also intends to be actively involved with development of the County Comprehensive Transportation Plan, which is expected to be updated this fall.
The transportation committee did not take any action Aug. 18 to further either of CBI’s stated goals, but members seemed supportive of the group’s efforts. Committee member Chris Chadwick, a county commissioner who represents Down East, North River and other areas, urged Mr. McCrary and CBI to keep Down East in mind when developing bike plans.
Contact Elise Clouser at email@example.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.