A full house met Wednesday at the Aberdeen Town Hall for the first public hearing on Aberdeen’s new Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. This meeting is the third step in a yearlong process to update Aberdeen’s Pedestrian and Bike Paths network. The last time this was looked at was 2015. Once the final plan is decided on, requests for implementation will be presented to NCDOT.
Currently, NCDOT has eight projects ongoing in Aberdeen. Some are relativity minor, like adding sidewalks to Poplar Street and Johnson Street. However, one of these projects is the widening of Highway 5 between Highway 1 and Trotter Drive/Blake Boulevard. This is a yearlong project that is only in the preliminary stages. According to Aberdeen Planning Director Justin Westbrook, “This is a long-term project with the possibility of a 10 to 15 year lead time.”
So far, the committee has heard input concerning:
- Making regional connections
- Connecting to Weymouth Park
- Connecting to All-American Trail
- Connecting Aberdeen Lake paths to neighborhoods
- Connecting downtown Aberdeen to neighborhoods
- Use the existing sewer easements to create a network of trails
- Include bicycle and pedestrian connections in the redevelopment of Aberdeen Elementary and the former Pit golf course
- Improving signage on NC-designated bicycle routes through a wayfinding program.
Sandhills Sentinel spoke to participants at Wednesday’s meeting. One common concern was safety for bicyclists. It is currently illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk. A common complaint was cars that were unwilling to share the road or oblivious to bicycles and their riders.
Several citizens also expressed a desire to see more inner connectivity both in Aberdeen and the surrounding community. According to Aberdeen Mayor Robert Farrell, Aberdeen is part of a tri-city commission consisting of Aberdeen, Southern Pines, and Pinehurst. The most recent meeting discussed interconnecting the three towns with bike paths and walking trails. According to Farrell, Aberdeen is “actively involved in this process.”
According to Westbrook, “The intent of this plan is to guide Aberdeen through the next 10 years.”
For more information, you can click here.
The board will have a work session on Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.
Feature photo: Citizens offer input at a public hearing on Aberdeen’s new Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan on Oct. 6.
~Article, photo, and videos by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Chris Prentice.