Bike & Pedestrian

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
  • What are the goals for the future of trails and transit in New Hanover County? 

    The overarching goal is for our community to achieve greater mobility, accessibility, safety, and access to opportunities for the best quality of life possible. The sales tax can help accomplish that by:  Connecting people to jobs and education, benefiting our economy  Expanding reliable and efficient bus service and on-demand transit, giving access to everyone  Enhancing […] more…

  • How is this going to benefit me and our community? 

    Public transportation provides personal mobility and freedom for people from every walk of life. With dedicated and increased funding, Wave buses could run more frequently and take more direct routes, including routes with less stops so that it could become a functional part of everyday life for citizens who choose it. A robust and efficient […] more…

  • How will the transportation sales tax make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists? 

    The greater Wilmington area is consistently ranked among one of the most dangerous regions in North Carolina for bike/ped safety based on collisions with motor vehicles. According to the NCDOT, in 2019, there were 134 reported bicycle and pedestrian crashes with 11 of those being fatal. So bicycle and pedestrian safety is a major concern […] more…

  • How will the transportation sales tax benefit the environment? 

    Transportation contributes about 36% of all greenhouse gas emissions in North Carolina, making it the largest contributor, according to the NC Department of Environmental Quality. Providing a range of transportation choices and walkable communities where people can drive less improves air quality and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, as noted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). […] more…

  • What are the health benefits of trails and transit? 

    Active transportation like biking and walking to destinations can increase physical activity. It is associated with better fitness, reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, and lower rates of obesity and diabetes. By improving bike and pedestrian infrastructure, more people can utilize it to get to public transit and also recreationally – which both lead to better […] more…

  • How would this benefit our economy? 

    Public transportation infrastructure improvements, including sidewalks, trails, crosswalks, and bike lanes, can produce tangible economic benefits and create jobs. According to the America Public Transportation Association, every $1 invested in public transportation generates $5 in economic returns.  It also benefits businesses to have access to a broader, more diverse, and specialized labor market with the […] more…

  • How could this benefit all residents – from children to seniors? 

    Transportation – the cost of getting to work, school, and other places – is the second-largest household expense (only housing costs more). But our community has lagged others in making the investments to ensure that more people have transportation options that are affordable, healthy, and expand job opportunity and access.  Greater transportation options through a […] more…

  • Why do we need this transportation sales tax when we still have city trails projects in the design phase? 

    The majority of transportation projects from the city’s 2014 bond are complete, however several are still underway and have taken time to come to fruition based on design needs, easements and right-of-way acquisitions, and project administration and priorities. Those projects remain important and are moving forward and could be further enhanced with longer connections and […] more…

  • Will the public be able to provide input on the trails and transit priorities established? 

    Yes. If voters pass the sales tax in November, a county-wide transportation plan would be developed by the county, city, beach towns, Wave Transit, Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO), and community partners to outline priorities for future growth. While initial and near-term transportation priorities have been outlined, this plan would serve as a foundation to […] more…

  • What other North Carolina counties have passed a transportation sales tax? 

    Other counties in NC to pass a transportation tax include Durham County (.5 cent transit tax), Mecklenburg County (.5 cent transit tax), Orange County (.5 cent transit tax), and Wake County (.5 cent transit tax). The tax in all of these counties has focused on their transit systems. New Hanover County’s tax would be a […] more…

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