Last year, the city received a $22,000 grant from DOT for pedestrian walkway planning. The pedestrian planning grant is to improve the city’s pedestrian transportation network and become a more “walkable” community with safer and more improved ways for citizens to move to and from work, school, shopping areas and home.
A Clinton Pedestrian Plan Steering Committee has been organized and a website created, at www.clintonwalks.org, in order to help make the plan the most comprehensive possible in meeting the community’s needs.
The steering committee, consisting of 16 city and county officials, department heads and local recreation and health representatives, gave a presentation to consultant Jason Epley with Benchmark, at the committee’s kickoff meeting this month. In that meeting, they outlined the target areas and what they hoped to accomplish.
Target areas would encompass the downtown area, neighborhoods, shopping and recreation areas and problem intersections. The plan would encourage community and social interaction through well-planned sidewalk improvements, but also economic development by connecting residents safely to local business and places of employment.
The primary goals are safety and connectivity to key destinations, along with walking opportunities, safe crossings, traffic calming measures and overall sidewalk improvements. One of the main goals is to raise the awareness throughout the community concerning pedestrian safety and benefits of walking, and planning officials want to hear from the community, interim Clinton-Sampson planning director Mary Rose said.
“There is a survey on our website which we encourage citizens of Clinton to complete,” said Rose. “This survey will enable us to identify the pedestrian needs of Clinton and assist in our development of a pedestrian plan which will make Clinton a more connected city and a safer place to walk.”
There will be data collection and assessment done throughout March, including reviewing existing policies, plans and programs and conducting a sidewalk and photo inventory, as well as preparing maps of existing conditions. There will be the opportunity for public involvement, including two open house meetings in April and June, with a draft plan prepared at the end of the summer. That plan will be reviewed in September, and the final version will be submitted in the fall.
The plan development process will be completed no later than January 2012.
The pedestrian plan will be incorporated into the city’s overall land development and transportation plans to ensure each is compatible and shares common goals. “It is important that any new development or redevelopment be planned with pedestrian facilities in mind,” Rose stated.
The plan will assist in identifying areas where future pedestrian projects will be of the most benefit to citizens. There has already been discussion about adding sidewalks along Sunset Avenue and, last September, the city agreed to provide 20 percent of the construction cost for a DOT-planned sidewalk installation along both sides of Sunset, from Sampson Community College and Forest Drive to the U.S. 421 overpass.
The city’s share of the construction cost would be approximately $54,000, officials have said.
Residents are encouraged to visit www.clintonwalks.org for more information, and to complete a survey. The first public opportunity to give feedback will be an open house scheduled for April 21 at the City Hall Auditorium. At that “drop-in meeting,” citizens can help identify existing pedestrian issues and review background information regarding walking conditions in Clinton.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 121, or by email at email@example.com.