03/10/14 — Grant to make health focus of pathway planning

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Grant to make health focus of pathway planning

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on March 10, 2014 1:46 PM

The core planning group for the Goldsboro pedestrian transportation plan met Thursday with health professionals from Wayne Memorial Hospital as well as the Goldsboro Family Y to discuss the health aspects of the plan.

The pedestrian plan will encompass greenways, sidewalks and bicycle transportation but a portion of the plan is also devoted to improving health in the community.

Discussions Thursday focused on implementing safe pedestrian travel lanes to places where pedestrians are already trying to go, whether they be sidewalks, bicycle lanes or dedicated paths.

Following the news the city received $8,000 to fund the planning of the health portion of the transportation plan, discussions continued on how to improve health in the county.

The community transformation grant, funded through the Centers for Disease Control, will allow the plan to encompass specific data about the health benefits different aspects of the plan will offer.

"It opens the door to other money that we can get," Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said. "In this case, we needed the grant to pay for the plan to get more grants. Without this funding, we would be kind of inferring health benefits and this allows us to really get into it. The (North Carolina Department of Transportation) is paying for a transportation plan, so if we used that money for health aspects, it wouldn't be good."

Barnard said having the health aspect allows him to apply for different kinds of grants than just transportation grants.

"One of the first things these granting agencies want to know, right under your name and phone number, is do you have a plan that supports this and with this we can check off that box," Barnard said.

Sara Burroughs with Sage Design said she was out doing site work surveying Goldsboro and keeping track of paths people have been taking.

"People have paths that they are already taking to get where they want to go," she said. "We need to look at making safe ways for them to get there. The Wal-Mart shopping center on Spence is an example. People are walking to that bus stop down there."

Wayne Memorial Hospital Vice President of Operations Tom Bradshaw brought up the idea of including bicycle racks in the city planning codes.

"The city requires a certain amount of sidewalk space and number of parking spaces for a business so why not bike racks," he said. "They could be required under all of the other support facilities."

The Goldsboro Metropolitan Planning Organization is the planning organization for the work on the pedestrian plans.

The MPO entered into a contract with Alta/Greenways, which worked on the Mountains to Sea Trail, to plan out the city's pedestrian plan for $226,000.

The city's 20 percent match for the planning will be $43,000, with an $8,000 health component being paid through a community transformation grant.

NCDOT will pay the remaining $172,000.

The MPO also hired 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 NCDOT picking up the rest of the bill.