Key Points

5. Bicycle & Pedestrian Element Executive Summary/Key Points      Providing bicycle and pedestrian transportation options is one of the key elem...
Author: Gyles Welch
4 downloads 0 Views 2MB Size
5. Bicycle & Pedestrian Element Executive Summary/Key Points     

Providing bicycle and pedestrian transportation options is one of the key elements in building a healthy, livable community. To encourage greater use of active transportation options, the MPO must create a complete network of well-connected bicycle, pedestrian, and greenway facilities. The MPO should pursue policies and ordinances that lead to the construction of complete streets that serve all roadway users safely and efficiently. Education programs are needed to ensure that all roadway users understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to others. The transportation network should be planned and designed to provide maximum safety and comfort to vulnerable roadway users to encourage greater use of active transportation options.

Map and Table References Maps Winston-Salem Urban Area 2035 Network Map Bicycle Facilities Winston-Salem Urban Area 2025 Network Map Pedestrian Facilities Winston-Salem Urban Area 2035 Network Map Greenway Facilities Tables Table 5.1 Winston-Salem Urban Area Bicycle Network Facilities 2012-2025 Table 5.1A Winston-Salem Urban Area 2035 On-Street Bicycle Facilities Project Lists Table 5.2 Winston-Salem Urban Area Pedestrian Network Facilities 2012-2025 Table 5.2A Winston-Salem Urban Area 2035 Pedestrian Project Lists Table 5.3A Winston-Salem Urban Area 2035 Greenway Project Lists

5.1 Bicycle Transportation Citizen demand for improved bicycling conditions, combined with a renewed emphasis on urban development, has created an environment primed for encouraging bicycle travel. Bicycling is a way for citizens to stay healthy, while building a livable community by reducing traffic congestion and pollution. Clearly marked on-street bicycle facilities, bicycle paths, convenient bicycle parking, and showers at destinations are examples of enhancements that would provide an improved bicycling environment and make the Winston-Salem Urban Area a more bicycle friendly locale. With the adoption of the Winston-Salem Urban Area Comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan in September 2005 by the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), a series of goals, policies and standards were adopted to improve the safety, efficiency and convenience of the area’s bicycle facilities. The Comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan is included in the Appendix. Please refer to Table 5.1A On-Road Bicycle Project List and 2035 Bicycle Network Map at the end of this Section for proposed projects.

Figure 1: Shared Lane Marking on Burke Street

Vision Statement The Winston-Salem Urban Area provides a safe and effective system of bicycle facilities that links together existing resources and destinations, supports alternatives to automobile travel, increases recreation opportunities, and advances the community’s mobility, health, and quality of life.

Goal 1 Improve the quality and quantity of bicycle facilities in the Winston-Salem Urban Area by bolstering the bicycle infrastructure, including the installation of bicycle lanes, shared lanes, bicycle parking, bicycle detection for traffic signals, cycle tracks, and other innovative bicycle facilities. Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 1

Objective 1 Seamlessly integrate a complete network of bicycle facilities into the overall transportation system. To encourage cycling as a viable transportation option, the MPO must provide the physical infrastructure that cyclists need to travel safely and conveniently. Bicycle parking, bicycle lanes, shared lane markings, cycle tracks, side paths, showers, and lockers should be provided to accommodate those who choose bicycling as their primary mode of transportation.

Figure 2: Parking Meter Modified for Bicycle Parking

The improvement of street conditions by MPO communities is one of the most effective ways to increase the number of cyclists on the roads. Roadway improvements may include the installation of traffic light sensors that recognize bicyclists, the inclusion of on-street bicycle facilities into all roadway projects, and the construction of wider travel lanes to better accommodate bicyclists. To facilitate the successful implementation of these goals, it is imperative that this Bicycle Plan be incorporated into all local governmental transportation and planning documents.

Objective 2 Create public/private partnerships to leverage limited funding. With limited local funding available to implement bicycle and pedestrian projects, it is vital that communities develop partnerships with private entities to leverage available funds in order to construct infrastructure improvements. The City of Winston-Salem, for example, has partnered with the Piedmont Triad Research Park to create bicycle and pedestrian facilities throughout the PTRP, including a rail with trail project that will serve as the bicycle and pedestrian transportation spine between the north and south districts. Partnerships with health care agencies should be a priority for the Winston-Salem Urban Area. With several large health care providers in the area, the WinstonSalem Urban Area is uniquely situated to encourage greater reliance on active transportation to incorporate activity into daily routines and, ultimately, to improve the health of all citizens. Local community goals to increase bicycle and pedestrian transportation activity complement healthcare provider goals to increase the health of the community, so those relationships should be explored wherever possible.

Figure 3: Future site of PTRP Rail with Trail

Objective 3 Capitalize on concurrent roadway projects. To further stretch limited funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects, local communities should apply Complete Streets techniques to all roadway projects. Integrating bicycle and pedestrian Figure 4: Bicycle lanes installed as part of a resurfacing project on Northwest projects into other roadway projects is the most efficient way to Boulevard add those facilities to the transportation network, saving money by combining projects and adding a significant amount of facilities that may affect travel behavior. NCDOT recently adopted a Complete Streets policy to guide its project development. The WinstonSalem Urban Area MPO has adopted its own Complete Streets policy that will encourage the inclusion of bicycle, pedestrian, and transit facilities in all roadway projects. Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 2

Goal 2 Institute policies, practices, and programs related to bicycle transportation to encourage greater use of active transportation options throughout the MPO and to educate all roadway users of their rights and responsibilities.

Objective 1 Implement programs to educate and to generate more interest and encourage residents in active transportation options. As operators of legal vehicles, cyclists should be recognized as legitimate users of the transportation network. One of the MPO’s primary goals is to acclimate drivers and cyclists to the concept of sharing the road and recognizing that each group has its own set of rights and responsibilities. Educating motorists and cyclists is a vital objective in ensuring the safety and enjoyment of all modes of transportation. The MPO has developed an extensive set of educational materials and the focus should now be on distributing those materials through schools, driver education programs, public libraries, auto dealerships, TV13, and all other available outlets. Messages to the public about bicycling should Figure 5: Kernersville Middle School also serve to encourage them to try an active transportation students learn bicycle safety skills option. Educating and encouraging students is also a priority for Winston-Salem Urban Area, as is evident with the MPO’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. The MPO maintains a trailer and a fleet of bicycles that are used to teach bicycle safety courses to elementary and middle school students. The SRTS education program has proven to be very popular among students and teachers and should be expanded to include additional bicycles that can be used to train students through local YMCA branches, the City’s recreation centers, and other outlets.

Objective 2 Implement policies and ordinances to improve the physical infrastructure for cycling. Complete Streets policies that ensure that all roadway users are considered in all road improvement projects are becoming commonplace throughout the nation and in North Carolina. NCDOT recently adopted a Complete Streets policy to guide the development if its projects and the Winston-Salem Urban Area has followed suit to ensure that all projects being funded through the MPO consider all modes of transportation. In addition, local communities should consider updating their Unified Development Ordinances to include bicycle accommodations, such as bicycle parking, as a standard feature as new developments are reviewed and approved.

Objective 3 Implement programs that encourage and educate the public about using cycling as a mode of transportation. The Winston-Salem Urban Area currently partners with the Forsyth County Health Department and others to host a series of programs aimed at encouraging greater use of active trans-portation on public roads and greenways. Cycling Sunday, Greenway Walk & Talks, Sunday Fun Days on the Greenways, and the Winston-Salem Community Bike Ride are all programs designed to get people out using the biking and walking facilities in the MPO. The programs should be continued in their current states and expanded to other MPO communities to reach Figure 6: Cyclists and pedestrians enjoy car-free a wider audience. streets during Cycling Sunday Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 3

Goal 3 Provide a safe and secure environment that encourages citizens to use bicycles for transportation.

Objective 1 Perform analyses on bicycle and pedestrian crashes throughout the Winston-Salem Urban Area. The City of Winston-Salem recently completed its first analysis of bicycle and pedestrian crash statistics for the years 2002-2011, during which time there were over 300 bicycle crashes and 700 pedestrian crashes. The analysis focused on identifying root causes of the crashes, including engineering problems and driver/cyclist behavior problems. While lack of safe cycling infrastructure is a problem, the analysis also revealed that most crashes could be avoided with changes to cyclists and driver behavior. This kind of analysis is crucial in identifying areas that need additional infrastructure and for identifying populations that could be served by better education as to the rights and responsibilities of all roadway users. Going forward, crash statistics should be updated on a regular basis and the database of crash information should be extended to include all MPO communities. Relationships should be established with all law enforcement agencies to ensure the regularly collection of crash data.

Objective 2 Encourage greater public involvement to identify leading causes of bicycle safety problems and causes for lack of ridership. While bicycle crash analysis can help identify problem areas for cyclists, turning to citizens can prove to be a more effective way to address safety issues. Citizen involvement should be encouraged at the MPO’s Bicycle & Greenway and Sidewalk & Pedestrian Subcommittee meetings. These meetings provide an opportunity for citizen advocates to meet with local staff to identify and discuss projects. Seeking public input at public events and locations is also valuable in identifying why people may choose not to ride a bicycle for transportation. Setting up at events where people are likely to gather increases public participation and may lead to new information about the barriers preventing people from cycling more often. As an example, in September 2005, the City of Winston-Salem produced a bicycle master plan for the MPO. The planning process took nine months to complete and included regular input from local advisory and technical committees related to transportation. Also, as part of the planning process, two public open houses were held and an area-wide survey was sent to residents. The Winston-Salem Urban Area Comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan is included in the Appendix of this report and can be viewed on the City of Winston-Salem website.

Objective 3 Use the latest design standards to construct bicycle facilities and improve cyclist safety. The latest edition of the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities was released in 2012 and the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide was released in 2011. Both guides should be used to design bicycle facilities in the Winston-Salem Urban Area, as they represent significant leaps in the detail and guidance provided compared to previous guides. They cover on-street bicycle facilities and separated paths with greater attention paid to the safety of each facility. These guides, along with the Manual Figure 7: AASHTO on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), should serve as the foundation for Bike Guide developing all bicycle facilities. Table 5.1 Winston-Salem Urban Area Bicycle Network Facilities 2012-2025 Existing Facilities Facility Type Bicycle lanes and SLMs Shared-use path/Greenway Total 1

Mile 8.4 23.2 31.6

Recommended Bicycle Network Facility Type Bicycle lanes and SLMs Shared-use path/Greenway Total

Mile1 65.0 16.2 81.2

Additional centerline miles (facilities on both sides of the road are not counted separately).

Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

1

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 4

5.2 Pedestrian Transportation Over the past 20 years, public interest in walking has steadily increased. Whether for transportation, exercise, or just to meet neighbors, citizens in the Winston-Salem Urban Area have taken to sidewalks, greenways, other pedestrian facilities. Just as important, with rising gas prices and concerns for our urban area’s increasing traffic congestion and air quality problems, people are choosing to walk to work, to the grocery store, and to schools, and are demanding an improved system of sidewalks and pedestrian facilities. Most of the existing sidewalks are in the urban core of our city and town centers: Winston-Salem, Kernersville and Rural Hall. The Town of Lewisville and the Village of Clemmons began installing sidewalks in the mid 1990’s and Walkertown has recently started installing sidewalks as well. Since World War II, Forsyth County has experienced a dispersal of development and a division of land uses resulting in minimal pedestrian connectivity. Roads were designed and built to accommodate this sprawling type of development, mostly without sidewalks. As a result, citizens have moved farther away from the urban core, away from the existing infrastructure, jobs, services and shopping areas, which has made it more difficult to maintain a viable sidewalk network. Over time we have increased our dependence on the automobile and reduced transportation options for all citizens. Since the adoption in 1999 of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County 2025 Multi-Modal Long-Range Transportation Plan, the goal has been to improve the pedestrian infrastructure throughout the county. All nine Forsyth County municipalities have adopted the county’s comprehensive plan the Legacy Development Guide that supports more wide spread pedestrian accommodations. A well-planned pedestrian transportation Figure 1: Street trees provide a  system provides for a more balanced overall transportation system. buffer for pedestrians  Legacy provides a framework for detailed land use plans within the county, area planning and the development guide process. The LRTP Pedestrian Facilities Plan also recommends using the area plan process as the framework to build the pedestrian system along local streets. Since the area plan process is citizen driven, it offers the most appropriate avenue for the evaluation of existing and proposed pedestrian facilities. With the adoption by the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Winston-Salem Urban Area Sidewalk and Pedestrian Facilities Plan in July 2007, (See Appendix 5.2), a series of goals, policies, and standards were adopted to improve the safety, efficiency and convenience of the area’s pedestrian facilities. The Sidewalk and Pedestrian Facilities Plan, was developed with extensive public involvement and compiles the community’s goals and objectives for creating a walkable community. Please refer to Table 5.2 – 2012 - 2025 Pedestrian Project List and 2035 Pedestrian Network Map at the end of this Section for a list of proposed sidewalk projects.

Vision Statement The Winston-Salem Urban Area recognizes that every citizen is a pedestrian at some point and aims to provide a safe and effective system of pedestrian facilities that links together existing resources and destinations, supports alternatives to automobile travel, increases recreation opportunities, and advances the community’s mobility, health, and quality of life.

Goal 1 Improve the quantity and quality of pedestrian facilities in the Winston-Salem Urban Area by bolstering the pedestrian infrastructure, including the installation of sidewalks, pedestrian signals, transit connections, and ensuring that pedestrian facility designs focus on the comfort and safety of pedestrians. Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 5

Objective 1 Construct sidewalks where necessary. New sidewalk construction should be a top priority for MPO communities, particularly in creating connectivity between neighborhoods and important resources, such as schools, parks, greenways, recreational facilities, libraries, and bikeways. Currently, about 35% of streets in the MPO have sidewalks, so it is crucial that important sidewalk connections are identified and funded. A complete sidewalk network is the most fundamental element to encouraging more walking. While Figure 2: Improved sidewalk at Corpening Plaza it may be years before there is a complete sidewalk network, current projects aimed at filling in missing gaps and connecting housing with important destinations can capture a majority of possible walking trips. Bridges without pedestrian accommodations present one of the greatest challenges to creating a complete pedestrian network. There are often no convenient alternative pedestrian routes, and bridges are only reconstructed every 50-70 years. Therefore, it is crucial that when bridges are reconstructed they are designed with pedestrian accommodations included wherever there may be pedestrian activity over the life of the bridge, based on community development plans. Please refer to Tables 5.2 and 5.2A for a list of sidewalk projects, some of which include bridges that are recommended to have pedestrian facilities when rebuilt.

Objective 2 Improve connectivity between pedestrian and transit facilities. Transit users are particularly dependent on the pedestrian facility network as they go to and from transit stops. Typically, transit users are willing to walk up to one-half mile to access a transit stop and that distance may even increase for those with few options. Therefore, a complete network of pedestrian facilities is vital to operating an effective transit system. While a thorough network of pedestrian facilities provides optimal accommodations for transit users, communities in the WinstonSalem MPO are not currently at that level. In the absence of a Figure 3: Transit stop with pedestrian  complete pedestrian network, there are steps that can be taken connectivity and amenities  to accommodate transit users to the best extent possible. When selecting pedestrian projects, special attention should be given to projects that increase accessibility to transit stops. In addition, municipalities should work with transit providers to identify transit stops that are in need of pedestrian facility upgrades, including sidewalks, curb ramps, pedestrian signals, benches, shelters, and other pedestrian amenities.

Objective 3 Install pedestrian facilities, in addition to sidewalks, that improve safety and create a pedestrianoriented environment, including pedestrian signals, crosswalk treatments, signage, refuge islands, and streetscape elements. Sidewalks are a vital first step in creating a walkable community, but sidewalks do not address safety issues at intersections or address pedestrian comfort in many cases. Intersections crossings are particularly challenging for pedestrians when there are no pedestrian signals. The presence of sidewalks may lead walkers to an intersection, but without pedestrian signals, they are left to fend for themselves. Large intersections with multiple lanes are especially difficult for walkers to cross without the assistance of pedestrian signals. Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Figure 4: Pedestrian signals, crosswalks, and  refuge islands at a busy intersection

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 6

Other facilities, such as high-visibility crosswalks, refuge islands, and signage can also aid pedestrians as they attempt to cross busy intersections. Streetscape improvements should be considered by MPO communities when designing pedestrian facilities as well. Lighting, benches, and trash receptacles all contribute to a safe and comfortable pedestrian experience.

Goal 2 Institute policies, practices, and programs related to pedestrian transportation to encourage greater use of active transportation options throughout the MPO and to educate all roadway users of their rights and responsibilities.

Objective 1 Elevate candidate sidewalk projects that provide the most benefit to the community in terms of pedestrian transportation. Because of limited funding, difficult decisions must be made by the MPO and individual communities on which sidewalk projects to fund. Considering the absence of sidewalks in many neighborhoods, almost all sidewalk construction will have a positive impact on pedestrian activity for transportation and recreation. However, residents in some locations are more dependent on the pedestrian infrastructure for their primary mode of transportation. Whether those people use the transit system or they simply do not own a automobile or bicycle, they rely on the pedestrian network for their daily Figure 5: A path worn into the grass conveying the need  for sidewalk  commutes. Sidewalks in those areas take on added significance to the community and should be prioritized over sidewalks that are likely to be used primarily for recreation. In locations where residents rely on walking for transportation, one is likely to find paths worn in the grass, indicating popular pedestrian transportation routes.

Objective 2 Promote walkable communities and land development policies that prioritize pedestrian transportation. Even an excellent network of sidewalk and pedestrian accommodations will not benefit citizens unless that system connects to popular destinations within reasonable walking distances. While local development ordinances require sidewalk on at least one side of the street in most instances, new developments should provide sidewalk connections to the nearest continuous sidewalk segment, just as would be required for water, sewer, or street connectivity. In addition, development patterns designed around automobile travel, may not be suitable for regular pedestrian transportation. Autodependent development separates housing from work, school, and shopping, which creates significant barriers to pedestrian transportation. The Legacy Plan, as adopted by the City-County Planning Board, provides guidance on creating compact, walkable communities and new developments and re-developments should adhere to these guidelines to create communities that are walkable and livable.

Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 7

Objective 3 Implement a program of customized marketing to educate citizens and encourage walking. Trips under one mile for walkers and under three miles for cyclists are relatively quick, but most residents drive even those short distances for many of their trips. Some people identify the lack of bicycle and pedestrian facilities as the cause of their transportation choice, while others cite limited time as the cause. Figure 6: Bicycle and pedestrian education  Others, however, simply may not have considered walking or cycling to their destination. It is important to educate citizens about the transportation options they have, so that people can make informed decisions. Those who are accustomed to driving every-where many not have considered the benefits of cycling or walking for transportation. To remedy this situation, many locations have experimented with custom marketing programs to engage and educate residents on their transportation choices. Those interested in trying to walk or bicycle for transportation can submit information about their transportation situation and MPO staff can advise them on safe and convenient walking, bicycling, or transit routes, in addition to other helpful advice on how to integrate those modes into their daily routines.

Goal 3 Provide a safe and secure environment that encourages people to walk for transportation.

Objective 1 Perform analyses on bicycle and pedestrian crashes throughout the Winston-Salem Urban Area. The City of Winston-Salem recently completed its first analysis of bicycle and pedestrian crash statistics for the years 2002-2011, during which time there were over 700 pedestrian crashes. The analysis focused on identifying root causes of the crashes, including engineering and driver or pedestrian behavior problems. While lack of safe walking infrastructure is a problem, the analysis revealed that most crashes could be avoided with changes to pedestrian and driver behavior. This kind of analysis is crucial in locating areas that need additional infrastructure and for identifying populations to serve by better education as to the rights and responsibilities of all roadway users. Going forward, crash statistics should be updated on a regular basis and the database of crash information should be extended to include all MPO communities. Relationships should be established with all law enforcement agencies to ensure the regularly collection of crash data.

Objective 2 Develop a pedestrian network that makes walking the safest, most convenient, most enjoyable transportation option available. All agencies involved in building pedestrian facilities have made great strides in recent years, as emphasis has returned to walking as a legitimate transportation option. Sidewalk construction has increased, as has awareness for providing ADA accommodations, as well as other pedestrian amenities. All agencies are ready for the next step in improving the transportation network for walkers. In many cases, sidewalks have been built at the back of the curb and are about five feet wide. This type of sidewalk, particularly if it is located next to a high-volume, high-speed road provides minimal pedestrian accommodation. While the sidewalk is present, it is not likely to Figure 7: Street trees help create a walkable  be used unless absolutely necessary, because few people will environment choose to walk in that type of location. Pedestrian facilities should be built to encourage more walking and planners and engineers need to determine what those facilities should look like and how they should operate. Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 8

Objective 3 Provide accessible accommodations throughout the transportation network. The pedestrian transportation network must accommodate all users if it is to be considered complete. Obstacles that may seem like minor inconveniences to most pedestrians may prevent someone in a wheel-chair from reaching their destination. Communities should continue to make strides in improving the pedestrian transportation network by installing curb ramps, detectable warning mats, audible pedestrian signals, and adhering to the Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) for all projects. In addition, the MPO should work with NCDOT to ensure that all statemaintained roads have appropriate signals and sidewalks that do not create barriers for pedestrian travel. Standardized, state-wide guidance on pedestrian facilities will help ensure that pedestrians are able to travel unimpeded regardless of where they are in the state. Figure 8: Fully accessible pedestrian signal with  audible warning 

Table 5.2 Winston-Salem Urban Area Pedestrian Network Facilities 2012-2025 Existing Sidewalk Facilities

Miles 514.9

Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Recommended Sidewalk Facilities

Miles 49.9

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 9

5.3 Greenways The pedestrian and on-street bicycle facility recommendations outlined in this chapter will go a long way to providing a complete transportation network that encourages the use of active transportation options. However, residents regularly comment on the need for improved transportation options via separate paths. While bicycle lanes serve confident cyclists who are comfortable riding on the roads, many potential cyclists will not willingly ride on roads with automobiles. To encourage more cycling, potential cyclists should be trained for vehicular cycling using the existing network of streets. Even with that education, however, many residents still prefer to ride on separated paths. The MPO, therefore, needs to identify the transportation needs of residents and build a network of greenways that connects destinations, such as housing, schools, recreation areas, and employment centers. The recently completed Greenway Plan Update (See Appendix 5.3) goes a long way in identifying and ranking potential greenways to be constructed in the MPO over the next 15 to 20 years. The goal of the plan is to improve the quality of life for residents of Forsyth County by expanding coverage of the existing greenway system, providing recreational opportunities, protecting our natural environment and open space, and creating opportunities for walking and bicycling to a variety of destinations. The Winston-Salem MPO TAC, the City/County Planning Board, Forsyth County, and the City of Winston-Salem adopted the county-wide Greenway Plan Update in 2012, which calls for expanding the existing 24-mile greenway system through a series of strategic projects to link all of the existing major greenway segments and expand them beyond their current limits. The plan places the potential greenway projects into different tiers based upon their potential to serve residents and their constructability. Tier 1 and 2 projects are the projects most likely to be constructed within 20 years, while lower tier projects may need further study. Please refer to Table 5 A-3 – 2035 Greenway Project List and 2035 Greenway Network Map at the end of this Section for a list of proposed greenway projects.

Figure 8: Salem Lake Trail 

Vision Statement The Winston-Salem Urban Area provides a complete network of separated paths and greenways that links existing resources and destinations, supports alternatives to automobile travel, increases recreation opportunities, and encourages active transportation amongst a broader range of citizens.

Goal 1 Improve the quality and quantity of greenways and multi-use paths in the Winston-Salem Urban Area.

Objective 1 Create an interconnected network of greenways focusing planning and construction efforts on connecting all existing greenways via new greenways, on-street bicycle facilities, and sidewalks. The current greenway system in the Winston-Salem MPO consists of a series of paths that are, for the most part, isolated from one another and from important destinations. Early greenway construction focused on providing recreational opportunities for various neighborhoods, so it was natural to spread the construction efforts. However, as the greenway system has become more popular and more residents are looking for alternatives to motor vehicle transportation, there is a strong need to provide connections between the existing greenway segments.

Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 10

Whether for recreation or transportation, a greenway network serves residents best when segments are connected, allowing for longer trips exclusively on greenways and separated paths. The focus of the recently adopted Greenway Plan Update was on determining the constructability of greenway segments that would connect existing greenways. As a result, several of the top tier projects identified were extensions of existing greenways, rather than new segments scattered throughout the urban area. Along with this effort to connect the existing greenway segments, the Figure 9: Bridge over Salem Creek provides a greenway  MPO should continue to explore options to connect the connection to the Gateway YWCA  greenways to neighborhoods via separated paths to give residents an exclusive bicycle and pedestrian route to the greenways, which will allow greater use of the greenway network for transportation. In some instances, greenways may not be able to be connected directly because of terrain or property issues. In those cases, the MPO should focus sidewalk and on-street bicycle facility planning and construction on routes to connect the greenway segments. Bicycle lanes and sidewalks will provide adequate connectivity between greenways for many residents.

Objective 2 Create a greenway network that provides viable transportation options to all citizens by creating a complete network and adding features, such as lighting, wayfinding, and restrooms. Creating a well-connected greenway network is the top priority for the MPO, but that network is just one of the requirements for creating a bicycle and pedestrian transportation system. There are a number of other features that must be incorporated into the greenway system to allow for increased use a transportation system, including lighting, wayfinding, and other amenities.

Figure 10: Wayfinding sign along a  greenway in Raleigh 

Currently, the greenway system is closed between sunset and sunrise, just like all other unlit parks. Unlike the other parks, however, the greenway system can provide value at night to bicycle commuters, particularly in winter months, when either a morning or evening commute is likely to be done in the dark. Pedestrian-scale lighting should be considered for all new greenway construction, but also for existing greenways that have the potential to serve as transportation corridors. Figure 11: Restroom facilities on a greenway in Charlotte

Wayfinding systems are also an important feature to consider as the greenway network transitions towards a transportation solution. Many regular greenway users may not be aware of how close they can get to various destinations by simply using the greenway network. Destination-based signs, therefore, can indicate distances and directions for various key destinations, including schools, shopping areas, and cultural destinations. Guests will also appreciate the wayfinding signs as they attempt to transition from one greenway to the next. Finally, as the greenway system expands, efforts should be made to incorporate amenities, such as restrooms, drinking fountains, benches, public art, and bicycle repair stands into the designs. Those types of amenities will encourage mores users and make their experiences on the greenway system more enjoyable. Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 11

Objective 3 Develop a comprehensive active transportation plan that integrates bicycle, pedestrian, and greenway components. The Winston-Salem Urban Area has a bicycle plan, a pedestrian plan, and a greenway plan, and each of those plans makes mention of importance of creating a full network of integrate sidewalks, bicycle facilities, and greenways. However, the overlap between the plans ends there, as there is no comprehensive active transportation plan that focuses on the connections between all three facility types. It will be many years before the Winston-Salem Urban Area has a complete network of bicycle, pedestrian, and greenway facilities, but planning those facilities at the same time will ensure that as the MPO progresses with the construction that those facilities will complement each other to enhance connectivity. To that end, the next bicycle and pedestrian planning effort should be a comprehensive active transportation plan that incorporates all aspects of bicycle and pedestrian transportation, including on-street bicycle facilities, sidewalk and other pedestrian facilities, greenways, and transit.

Goal 2 Institute policies, practices, and programs that encourage the creation of a network of separated bicycle and pedestrian transportation facilities.

Objective 1 Work with NCDOT to create a policy to provide bicycle and pedestrian accommodations on, and greenway accommodations below, all bridge construction and replacement projects. Bridges present one of the greatest challenges to bicycle and pedestrian transportation, because it can be difficult and dangerous to cross a bridge if cyclists and pedestrians are not taken into account during the bridge design process. Narrow bridges with only enough room for motor vehicle travel lanes leave no room for sidewalks or bicycle lanes, so pedestrians and cyclists are forced into the travel lanes where clearances are often tight. Only those residents who absolutely have to walk or bike over a bridge of this nature are likely to do so, severely limiting the number of possible active transportation users. The MPO should work with Figure 12: Brushy Fork Greenway and First Street Bridge NCDOT to identify bridges that serve, or will serve, as important connectors for all roadway users. Bridges are replaced very infrequently and are expected to last a minimum of 50 years, so it is vital that the MPO and NCDOT consider future land uses and how an area is likely to change decades into the future. In addition to bicycle and pedestrian accommodations bridge decks themselves, the MPO and NCDOT should work together to identify bridges that cross future greenway corridors and build the bridge in such a way as to allow a separated crossing for greenway users. Building a separated greenway crossing under an established bridge has proven to be costly and difficult.

Objective 2 Reserve, obtain, or acquire right-of-way easements for proposed bikeways, sidewalks, multi-use paths, and greenways if facilities are not required to be constructed as part of the development approval process. Obtaining easements for greenway construction once development has occurred in an area is extremely difficult; as residents are often hesitant to provide easements at a later time for fear that a greenway may change the nature of their land. In many cases, a single resident opposed to a greenway may be able to stop its construction. Therefore, it is important that right-of-way easements are obtained during the development process. Doing so ensures that the MPO will have the right-ofway necessary to construct planned greenway projects and it provides property owners with early Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 12

notice that the easement may be used to construct a greenway in the future, helping to eliminate surprise and apprehension when new greenways are announced.

Objective 3 Educate citizens about the value and benefits of greenways. Many residents are wary about new greenway construction through their neighborhoods, because of misconceptions they have about greenway users and the greenways themselves. Fears about crime and decreases in property values are common for many residents, though many studies have shown that greenways do no attract crime and have a positive effect on property values. Negative opinions of greenways often stem from a lack of knowledge about greenway design and users. In fact, many people who initially oppose greenways in their neighborhoods eventually come to enjoy using the greenways themselves. The MPO must reach out to residents with evidence of the benefits of living near greenways, including studies of crime and property values, as well as firsthand accounts from residents who live near greenways. Educating residents about greenways will make greenway planning and construction easier for all involved. Figure 13: Salem Creek Greenway

Piedmont Triad Regional Trail Plan & Inventory (2011) The Piedmont Triad Regional Trail Plan & Inventory includes existing & locally proposed trails, and identification of new proposed regional trail connections throughout the 12-County Piedmont Triad. The Mountains to Sea, Deep River and Yadkin River Trails are three State designated trail facilities that cross through the Piedmont Triad. Though these trails are not fully built out, local, regional and State agencies and non-profits are working together to complete these trails systems. There are nearly 400 miles of hiking, biking, equestrian and multi-use trails open to the public in the region. Nearly 2,000 more miles of trail are identified in long range transportation and recreation plans. Locally driven efforts to support trail development are critical to successful implementation and build out of trail plans.

Appendix References Documents Comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan Sidewalk and Pedestrian Facilities Plan Greenway Plan Update

Winston-Salem Urban Area MPO 2035 Transportation Plan Update

 

Bicycle & Pedestrian Element -

Page 13