WalkBikeNC Draft Plan
The draft North Carolina Statewide Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan (WalkBike NC Plan) is now available for public review and input. View the plan PDFs at the links below.
NCDOT is accepting public comments on the plan until May 17, 2013.
Please use this online comment form to provide feedback.
About the Plan
NCDOT launched this project to improve walking and bicycling conditions statewide and develop a vision for the future of bicycling and walking in North Carolina. Important tasks include reviewing the current status of bicycling and walking in this state, researching appropriate strategies for improvement, and identifying the most efficient avenues to apply those strategies.
Imagine a community where your kids can walk or bike safely to school; where your family can take an evening stroll; where you can make a quick trip to the grocery store without getting in the car. We are creating a blueprint for improving walking and bicycling for North Carolina communities.
Investing in sidewalks, bike lanes and greenways add many benefits to a community at relatively low cost:
- Promote physical, mental and social well-being by providing outdoor places to relax, exercise and socialize.
- Provide easy walking or bicycling connections between neighborhoods, schools, parks and trails.
- Increase property values, promote tourism and foster local businesses by encouraging foot traffic.
- Improve overall quality of life.
Other benefits include reduced traffic congestion, fewer vehicle crashes and improved air quality. State agencies also benefit from less wear on roads, which leads to lower costs and more efficient use of our transportation network.
Walking and bicycling are two popular and universal forms of activity, yet there is a lack of access to safe places for these activities. Planning for walking and bicycling – whether for recreation, exercise, or transportation – helps to create a safer, more efficient network everyone can use.
The development of this plan is a year-long process, beginning in July 2012 and ending with the release of the final plan in May 2013. Public involvement is central to deciding the plan’s vision and goals, including providing feedback on the draft plan and ways to improve walking and bicycling activities for North Carolinians.
Ongoing communication, regular meetings and workshops will be used to inform the public of all aspects of the plan. Information will be available at several events across the state and at regional public engagement workshops in the coming months.
Meetings with the steering and advisory committees, as well as a series of regional focus group workshops will compliment public involvement throughout the process.
Sign up for email updates to get the latest developments.
We need your input. What kind of walking or bicycling opportunities would you like to see in your area? How can we best provide the facilities to benefit the health, safety and well-being of your family and community? With your help, we can work to meet the needs of communities to allow people the freedom to safely walk or bicycle to work, school or just for fun.
This is your chance to help us shape North Carolina’s future – for yourself, your family and for generations to come.
Brainstorm with us! We invite you to share your ideas throughout the plan’s development and provide feedback on what improvements you would like to see through our community engagement forum.
No matter how you get involved, we want your input to help shape this plan. We will make regular updates, so be sure to check here often.
North Carolina has some of the best climate for hiking, walking and bicycling. However, a lack of infrastructure for walking and cycling keeps many people from these activities due to safety concerns. North Carolina ranks among the lowest in the nation for bicycling and walking safety. (In 2009, 146 pedestrians and 16 bicyclists were killed on our roads.)
Most North Carolinians agree that adding sidewalks and bike lanes would improve walking and bicycling safety. The statistics support this sentiment:
North Carolina should be safely accessible to all of its residents, including those who walk or bicycle to work, school, shopping or for the simple pleasure of being outdoors in their communities.
Obesity is an increasing health concern everywhere in the United States. North Carolina, in particular, has the 12th highest rate of obesity in the country and is increasing. Obesity increases the risk for a number of chronic physical ailments, including heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.
Mild daily physical activity, such as walking and bicycling can turn that trend around by:
- Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some types of cancer
- Controlling and reducing weight
- Improving mood
- Lowering stress levels
- Reducing the chance of premature death from obesity-related illness
The biggest challenge for North Carolinians is the lack of access to safe environments for walking and bicycling. Sixty percent of North Carolinians say that better access to sidewalks, trails and paths would encourage them to increase their walking and biking activities.
By improving walking and bicycling conditions, we can give all North Carolinians access to better health.
Over the past few decades, North Carolina has diversified from an agricultural and manufacturing economy to a knowledge-based economy of global influence. As a result, North Carolina’s success hinges upon its ability to retain workers within the state and attract talent from other parts of the country and the world.
With this change in economy, we find that workers’ preferences have changed, as well:
- More than half of homebuyers prefer mixed-use communities that have stores and other businesses within walking distance.
- Bike and pedestrian trails are consistently ranked as the most important community amenity by prospective homebuyers – above golf courses, parks, security and other features.
Making targeted improvements in these areas will help build on North Carolina’s reputation as a premier location for people who seek a high quality of life.
Other economic benefits:
- Bikeways and shared-use paths increase the value of homes in the area.
- Retail businesses show increased sales in communities where bike and walking facilities exist.
- Easily accessible walking and biking facilities reduces health care costs by increasing the health of the population.
- Pedestrian and bicycling facilities contribute to job creation.
North Carolina’s population is expected to increase to 12.2 million people by 2030, making it the seventh most populous state. By 2040, 75% of North Carolina’s population will likely live in urban areas.
We need to consider a multi-use transportation system to help North Carolinians travel easily and safely. A plan must be in place to address the diverse transportation needs of our residents, particularly for walking and bicycling.
Nearly half of all personal trips in this country are less than three miles, which can be easily covered by bicycle. Yet a lack of dedicated areas makes bicycling unsafe. Installing bikeways is one of simplest and most cost effective solutions available. Moreover, replacing a single car trip with biking or walking can save money for individuals and society by reducing:
- Fuel costs
- Traffic congestion
- Vehicle wear
- Roadway repair
- Parking fees
- Energy conservation
- Air pollution
- Traffic safety improvements
Pedestrian and bicycle improvements also increase transportation efficiency, making short trips easy and convenient.
From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, North Carolina is home to a unique array of natural, cultural and historical resources. However, we live in a time of rapid change: a fast-growing population, steady migration from rural to urban areas and rapid development. At this point in our history, the question isn’t whether we will grow, but how we choose to grow.
A growth in population is often accompanied by the expansion of residential areas far from cities, which can result in greater consumption of energy and land. Health problems from air pollution and increased costs for governments and citizens are some of the potential negative effects of this trend.
The creation of a transportation system that accommodates pedestrians and bicyclists can mitigate many negative effects of population growth:
- A modest increase in bicycling and walking in the U.S. will save 3.8 billion gallons of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by 33 million tons.
- Replacing two miles of driving with walking or bicycling per day will prevent 730 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
By addressing the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists, we can grow without compromising the beauty and distinctive character of our state.
We would like to acknowledge the people and organizations contributing time, expertise and perspective to the creation of the Plan. Their assistance is helping us create a vision for walking and bicycling that enhances North Carolina’s unique landscape and culture: