CAROLINA BEACH — One of the biggest focuses in Carolina Beach has been the improvement of pedestrians and bicycle safety and accessibility on the island. From the Island Greenway to other mixed-use paths across the small beach town, it seems there are always plans in place to aid in walkability (and bikeability).
Clarendon Avenue in Carolina Beach dead ends into the lake and passes right by the Carolina Beach Elementary School, it is a popular route for both pedestrians and bicyclists. That is why the town is looking to create a 2,900-foot mixed-use pathway on Clarendon. The pathway would help provide connectivity between several areas including the Central Business District, the Boardwalk, and Carolina Lake Park, just to name a few.
“The project involves the construction of a 10-foot wide paved multi-use-path (MUP) route beginning at the southeast intersection of Clarendon Ave. and Fourth St. adjacent to Carolina Beach Elementary School and Carolina Lake Park and continuing west within the existing 90’ Clarendon street right-of-way approximately .5 miles terminating at Dow Rd,” according to the town’s website. “Currently the Bid/Construction Plans have been approved by NCDOT. The next steps include completion of Contract Documents and permitting prior to going to bid, possibly in November.”
Once complete, it will provide a separate path for bikers and pedestrians where no motor vehicles will be permitted, according to Town Council’s upcoming agenda.
On Tuesday, Council will hold a public hearing where residents can voice their concerns and opinions on the project.
Plans for Clarendon Avenue are nothing new, in fact, in 2011 the project was identified by the Carolina Beach Multi-Use Plan. In 2018 the town adopted the Carolina Beach Pedestrian Plan which listed Clarendon as a priority project.
But anyone following along with local government spending in Carolina Beach knows the town has run into some concerns with its general fund balance and its decreasing balance. That’s why the town applied for a grant to help fund the project — and this year, it was awarded 80% of the total project cost — $546,450.
The town is still on the hook for the remaining 20%, a more manageable $136,613.
The public hearing will be held on Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m. and is open to anyone who wants to attend.