01/13/14 — City Council supports transportation projects

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City Council supports transportation projects

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on January 13, 2014 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro City Council last week approved the city's portion of planning funds for two transportation plans through the Goldsboro Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The Goldsboro MPO will sign a contract with Alta/Greenways, which worked on the Mountains to Sea Trail, to plan out the city's greenway system for $226,000.

The city's 20 percent match for the planning will be $43,000, with an $11,000 health component being paid through a community transformation grant.

The state Department of Transportation will pay the remaining $172,000.

The plans will be developed out of information gathered through public input, stakeholder interviews and planning around current roads and waterways, Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said.

Barnard is overseeing on the plan with other city and Wayne County officials.

"We went into this knowing these were two separate plans that needed to mesh," he said. "We went into the hiring process knowing that."

During the hiring process Barnard said that both plans would need to mesh but would not exactly mirror each other.

"These plans need to work together but they are not on top of each other," Barnard said.

The MPO will also hire URS, a Morrisville transportation planning firm, to update the city's transportation plan at a cost of almost $200,000.

Goldsboro will cover about $40,000 of the cost, with DOT picking up the rest of the bill.

The pedestrian plan will encompass greenways, sidewalks and bicycle transport while the transportation update is just meant to keep the plan up to date and meld it with the needs of the pedestrian plan.

The pedestrian plan will build off of the Stoney Creek corridor as well as branching off of the sections of greenway serving as a bike path along New Hope Road but is not locked into those locations.

"Part of the intersection will be identifying shared corridors for bikeways, greenways and sidewalks," Barnard said. "By working both plans we can look for funding for both."

Barnard hopes to have the bones of the plan put together to discuss at the City Council retreat in mid-February.

"I want to put these ideas in front of the Council without any dollars attached to it," Barnard said.

The city is developing both plans to gather public opinion about what the citizens want in a greenway system as well as qualifying the city to apply for grants to complete these plans.

"Without the plan on the shelf we can't apply for these grants," Barnard said.

The health aspect of the pedestrian plan is important for the project as it allows the city to apply for more grants.

"Without having the health component we are limited to transportation grants," Barnard said.

Barnard hopes to have the plans in place to catch the fall grant application period to continue work on city greenway projects as soon as funding can be secured.

"People love the sections we've done out at Stoney Creek Park," Barnard said. "Now they want to know what's next, they want more."

Those people can tell the planners what they want at a string of upcoming public meetings aimed at collecting opinions about the plan, Barnard said.

"We can put about five guys in a room and come up with a plan and then mail it to ourselves and go through this whole process and have a pretty close plan to the finished product," Barnard said. "It might even be the same except for maybe little details but if we don't go through this process we don't know and there will be little things we miss. Maybe more people come in from one side of a park than another and to us it seemed one way when it is really another."

In addition to public meetings Barnard expects to meet with local organizations with a vested interest in the plan such as Wayne Memorial Hospital, Wayne Community College and the Goldsboro Family Y.