Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Wrightsville Beach receives NCDOT grant to update bike/ped plan

Wrightsville Beach’s only main pedestrian and walking trail is the 2.5-mile John Nesbitt Loop, yet bikes are not permitted. (Courtesy/Go Time, Pierce Productions)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — A New Hanover County beach town has been awarded state funds for multimodal path planning.

Wrightsville Beach is one of 10 municipalities statewide to receive money from the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s 2022 Multimodal Planning Grants. The awards are jointly sponsored by NCDOT’s Integrated Mobility Division and the Transportation Planning Division.

READ MORE: Wrightsville Beach rundown: CFPUA merger study, employee raises and bike/ped plan

The last time Wrightsville Beach created a bike/ped plan was nearly a decade ago and the board of aldermen approved applying for the multimodal grant in April to update its strategy.

The state funds 90% of the program and requires a 10% match for the town. The estimated planning consultant cost is $40,000, making Wrightsville’s portion roughly $4,000.

Town manager Tim Owens told Port City Daily in April the 4-mile town doesn’t have much space for multi-use paths but is hoping to incorporate more. Now that it’s been awarded the funding to update its approach, it has three months to issue a consultant contract to assist with the process.

According to the information on the grant’s website, once a local government is notified of its award, the specific cost of the plan will be determined through discussions between NCDOT and the municipality or county and through contract
negotiations between NCDOT/municipality/county and the selected consultant.

Since 2004, the Multimodal Planning Program has gone through 19 grant cycles, awarding 254 grants. An approximate total of $8 million has been allocated to 248 municipalities and six counties.

Plans funded are not for one specific project but represent a comprehensive strategy for expanding bicycle, pedestrian and transit opportunities addressing facilities programs and policies to encourage safe walking and biking accessibility.


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