Having a walkable and bikeable community is important for our quality of life so residents and visitors have opportunities for recreational use, physical activity, and alternative transportation.
Designing, securing right-of-way access, and constructing multi-use trails takes significant funding (on average, between $1 million and $2 million a mile).
The quarter-cent transportation sales tax could provide a dedicated source of revenue to develop interconnected multi-use trails and sidewalks, create new and safer crosswalks for some of the city’s major corridors, and add new bike lanes – all to help improve the connectivity and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists throughout the county, city, and beach communities. Local funding could also be leveraged for state and federal grants, to bring in more funding for projects and priorities.
About 39 percent, an estimated $56 million, of the quarter-cent sales tax would be used to help improve bike and pedestrian infrastructure throughout the county over the first 10 years.
Below is an outline of the goals for bike and pedestrian improvements both in the near term and the future, and how this sales tax funding would be used. These are initial projects based on current needs that would continue to be assessed and refined, based on the community’s vision.
Multi-Use Trails & Sidewalks
In the unincorporated county, multi-use trails would be developed that include safe intersections and crossings as part of the projects. These would connect to city trails and sidewalks along with current NCDOT projects on Market Street, Military Cutoff Road, and Gordon Road, as well as to bus and microtransit stops.
In the first five years, the priority would be to build core trails in the northern and southern portions of the county that could then be extended from in the future.
Those initial trails include:
- North College Road Trail: 2.5-mile paved trail from Gordon Road up to Northchase Parkway (this project is in the design phase, but sales tax funds could help ensure the construction could be completed within the next several years)
- North College Road Extension Trail: .7-mile paved trail extended from the N. College Road Trail down Northchase Parkway to the county’s future library site at 4400 Northchase Pkwy W
- South College Road Trail: 2.5-mile paved trail from 17th Street down to Monkey Junction (this project is in the design phase, but sales tax funds could help ensure the construction could be completed within the next several years)
- Masonboro Loop Road Trail: 2.7-mile paved trail on Masonboro Loop Road beginning at Navaho Trail (where the city’s planned trail ends) to Monkey Junction
In the City of Wilmington, multi-use paths and sidewalks will help improve connectivity and improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.
In the first five years, projects would include:
- Downtown Trail Multi‐Use Path: 2.2-mile paved trail from 3rd Street to the Love Grove Bridge, with several connections at 5th Street and McRae Street (this project is in the design phase, but sales tax funds could help ensure the construction could be completed within the next several years)
- Sidewalks along Medical Center Drive, Cardinal Drive, Oriole Drive, Wilshire Blvd., and College Acres Dr. for greater connectivity to transit, and safer access for walking and biking.
These trails would all allow for greater transportation and connectivity across the community.
Intersection & Crosswalk Improvements
Improvements to existing intersections would include high visibility crosswalks, countdown signals, and signage to improve safety and provide access for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit-dependent riders where it doesn’t currently exist.
Intersection improvements would include HAWK (High-intensity Activated Crosswalk) rapid-flashing beacons, and the implementation of crossing facilities at intersections where there are currently no supporting facilities like sidewalks or ramps. Priority intersections include:
- Market St. & 29th St.
- Princess Place Dr. & 26th St.
- College Rd. & Pine Valley Dr.
- 17th St. & Wellington Ave.
- 16th/17th St. & Hospital Plaza Dr.
Crosswalk improvements would include painted crosswalks, pedestrian signal heads with symbols, and signal phasing at intersections that already have some supporting facilities for pedestrian crossing like curb ramps. Priority crosswalk improvements include:
- 3rd St. & Dawson St.
- 17th St. & Glen Meade Rd.
- Military Cutoff Rd. & Wrightsville Ave.
- Military Cutoff Rd. & Destiny Way/Fresco Dr.
These improvements and additional bike and pedestrian projects would be prioritized to help reduce dependability on motor vehicles, improve the health of residents, and enhance residents’ ability to commute safely, while also providing recreational and social opportunities, and connecting residents to businesses.
Bike/Ped in Beach Communities
Funding could be granted to the beach communities from the sales tax to help create more greenway and bike/ped projects that connect people throughout the beach towns and across the bridge to additional transit options. Below are several examples:
- Carolina Beach: The town developed a Pedestrian Plan in 2019, which can be viewed here and outlines priority projects like high visibility crosswalks, multi-use paths down Harper Avenue from Dow Road and the Greenway to the central business district and boardwalk area, and a sidewalk along 7th Street to connect neighborhoods with the Town Hall, Recreation Center and fitness trail. The plan’s vision is to enhance the livability of Carolina Beach by creating an appealing, walkable environment for both residents and visitors, and the transportation sales tax could be one of the funding sources to help make this plan a reality.
- Kure Beach: The town has developed a draft Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, which can be viewed here and outlines pedestrian access and K Avenue crossing improvements, bike lane crossings, and the extension of the Island Greenway from where it ends in Carolina Beach into Kure Beach to Settlers Lane, Town Hall/K Avenue, and Fort Fisher to provide bicyclists and pedestrians a way to walk or ride off the busy roads. The transportation sales tax could help support some of Kure Beach’s planned future bicycle and pedestrian facilities to connect residents and visitors to all that the town has to offer.
- Wrightsville Beach: the town has a Comprehensive Transportation Plan and Salisbury Street Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan that outline the importance of bicycle and pedestrian connectivity on the island through projects like bike lanes and connectivity along Salisbury Street from the Heide-Trask drawbridge. The transportation sales tax could help support future planning efforts and the implementation of projects resulting from those planning efforts.
Priority Projects After Five Years
Additional trail priorities could include:
- 2.9-mile trail on Carolina Beach Road from Independence Blvd. to Monkey Junction
- 0.6-mile trail on Harris Road from Smith Creek to Gordon Road
- 5.85-mile trail on Carolina Beach Road from Monkey Junction to Snows Cut Bridge.
- Extending the downtown trail multi-use path 1.1 miles from the Love Grove neighborhood down across Princess Place Drive to Market Street, and then further extending the trail 0.7 miles from Market Street to Colonial Drive, near Forest Hills Drive
Additional sidewalks could include:
- Pine Valley Drive
- Wilshire Blvd.
- College Road from Shipyard to Holly Tree
Additional Intersection improvements could include:
- Hawthorne Dr. & Oleander Dr.
- Eastwood Rd. & the Lumina Station Entrance
Multi-use trail priorities 10 years out could include:
- 4.3-mile trail along Middle Sound Loop
- 3-mile trail on Porters Neck Road to Porters Neck Elementary
- Old Market Street Connector trail to Porters Neck Road
- 2.6 mile trail along Murrayville Road from Hanover Reserves to College Road
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