Open House provides insight to ‘bike-friendly’ Ahoskie

Published 8:51 am Tuesday, March 16, 2010

AHOSKIE – A unique plan to make the town of Ahoskie “bicycle-friendly” will be discussed during a public open house scheduled for today (Tuesday) from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Ahoskie Town Hall.

The Town of Ahoskie was awarded a grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, accompanied by a local match from the town, to develop a Comprehensive Bicycle Plan. The Project Consultants from Rivers & Associates, Inc. are working closely with Ahoskie officials, the Bicycle Plan Steering Committee and citizens to identify future bicycle projects, programs and policies for Ahoskie.

Today’s open house is part of the second phase of the project and will be used for the public to have the opportunity to express needs and concerns to make Ahoskie bikeable.

During two meetings held earlier this year by the Bicycle Plan Steering Committee, the following bicycling opportunities were identified during mapping exercises; these are potential opportunities and are not final recommendations:

1. Rails to Trails. The Town of Ahoskie has an area of abandoned railroad line that would provide opportunities for conversion to off-road bicycle or multi-use trails. The abandoned railroad line crossing Catherine Creek Road extending eastwardly to the backside of the shopping centers was identified as a potential opportunity. This potential trail would improve access to commercial destinations.

2. Bicycle Parking Facilities. Bicycle parking facilities should be provided at these locations: all major commercial areas; schools; government buildings (town, county, state); parks and public open spaces; and near all public restrooms.

3. Routes. Roadways and connections were identified to provide bicycling facilities and opportunities for improvement. The steering committee members chose alternate routes to the main thoroughfares throughout town to provide connectivity to destinations and points of interest.

4. Intersections. Opportunities to improve intersections by providing increase bicycle visibility through signage, markings, etc. The following identified areas may benefit from the installation some sort of improvements: Academy St. and Memorial Drive. Currently, this is a lighted intersection and is located along the primary routes through town. Catherine Creek Road and Memorial Drive. Currently, this is a lighted intersection located along the commercial district. This is one of Ahoskie’s largest intersections with multiple turn lanes, no sidewalks, no crosswalks, and is a high-traffic area. All intersections that had vehicle-bicycle crashes sites.

Today’s open house will include five information stations, including a map of the overall project area, photos of existing conditions and one that allows the public to provide comments, suggestions as to where you would like to see improvements, additional destinations you would like to bike to and places you already ride.

Following this open house the project team will begin drafting recommendations based on comments received from the public and the Steering Committee. These draft recommendations will be presented to the Steering Committee in April.

A second public workshop will be held in June.

For more information, contact the Ahoskie Town Hall at 332-5146.