Aberdeen Adopts Pedestrian Plan
Aberdeen has taken a step toward becoming more pedestrian friendly.
The town now has a comprehensive pedestrian plan that will give it a framework to help create a more pedestrian-friendly community in the future. The town board of commissioners approved the plan earlier this month during its meeting.
“Ultimately, what we will have is a much more walkable community with connections to our surrounding communities,” said Pam Graham, a planner with the town.
The town received a grant from the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to develop the plan. Greenways Inc., a Durham-based environmental consulting firm, created the plan. The town hired the firm back in December.
Greenways Inc. also helped create a comprehensive bike plan for Southern Pines, which was adopted last year.
The plan contains a series of recommended changes to Aberdeen’s physical environment that will create a safe, accessible and connected pedestrian network throughout Aberdeen.
Those changes are broken into four main areas: sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly crossings, greenway and multi-use trails and traffic calming.
The plan identifies 13 projects that have a key impact on pedestrian connectivity and safety. The first on the list is to create a safe way for pedestrians to cross U.S. 1 to get from downtown to Aberdeen Lake Park.
Matt Hayes, of Greenways Inc., said most towns have large highways that can be hurdles in creating a pedestrian plan, but what makes Aberdeen different from most is its layout in relation to U.S. 1.
“What’s different about it is that you almost have half of the town on one side of the road and half on the other,” he said.
The plan recommends a signal crossing and a median refuge island to allow for safer passage across the highway.
Another thing that makes crossing U.S. 1 tricky is the fact that the road likely will see some changes or improvements in the future.
“We are really going to have to be flexible as to what is going to happen on that road in the future,” Hayes said.
A second key recommendation in the plan is an Aberdeen Lake trail project, which calls for improvements and expansions to the current one-mile loop around Aberdeen Lake and connect it to local schools, residential areas, nature areas and downtown.
There are no current cost estimates with the plan, which is intended to be a long-term initiative.
“Money is always a factor in getting things implemented, but what we do have now is a nice plan to guide us,” Hayes said.
He said improvements won’t happen all at once.
“It takes time, but having a plan is where you have to start,” Hayes said.
He praised the town for its hard work and said its engagement is a good omen for success in the future.
“The town has been very engaged, and that is huge,” he said. “If you have the interest in the plan from staff and citizens, then the plan is less likely to collect dust.”
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
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