November 10, 2008

Island Greenway Update


Supporters of the Pleasure Island Greenway initiative have been very busy lately. The following is an update of their recent activities as well as a schedule of their upcoming meetings. Please show your support for this wonderful island initiative and attend any of the upcoming public meetings.


10/27/08 8:00 AM meeting with Kure Beach Operations.
A meeting is scheduled to take place in Kure Beach with the Operations Department. At this meeting, Mike and others will discuss the latest revisions to the plans for a Bike/Pedestrian Greenway that will go through Kure Beach.

Report from Mike Kirkbride: The meeting went well. We updated them with our latest proposal for Kure Beach. Sunny, director of Public works made it clear we did have to meet with him regarding our path through his facility around 7th Street just south of Joe Eaks park, so that we could come up with a solution for that specific area. The Police chief mentioned that he did not foresee any issues with crime based on how safe the area is in general. Jim Vatrt was particularly interested in the costs associated with the path since that is a major concern. I reiterated that trails located on destination islands create returns on investment like the outer banks, where for every dollar they spent once they expect a return of $9 a year. Many of our sister islands data research indicates this: just look at the press section Kiawah Island news, they are extending their bike path across the bridge (off island) so that their residents can safely bike and walk to their food store and shops.

11/06/08 afternoon meeting with Steve Bevington, East Coast Greenway representative
This meeting is to discuss Pleasure Island as a destination for the East Coast Greenway and how our Chamber and Island efforts can create a partnership to make that happen. This is a how we can fund some of their effort long term.

Our meeting with Steve Bevington, Brendt Barnwell, Duke Hagerstrom, Alan Pacek and I was a discussion about collaborating with the East Coast Greenway on creating Wilmington and our coastal beach towns as one of their seven destinations. I think we should make Steve Bevington a proposal that includes 6 routes: a bike and walk loop in the town of Southport, a bike and walk loop at the Fort Fisher Aquarium east coast greenway path, a bike and walk loop at Carolina Beach's east coast greenway path including Carolina Beach state park and the carnivorous plant walk, a bike walk loop including Greenfield lake and River Road and the River to Sea path including the east coast greenway sections there, and a river walk walking loop.

The central purpose of this would be to use TDA funds to market our area with a bike and pedestrian green theme and create a long term partnership with the East Coast greenway in that effort. Brendt Barnwell and Duke Hagerstrom represent two board members of our respective towns TDA boards. Alan and Duke are also Pleasure island Chamber board members.

With respect to this heads in beds effort of the TDA add campaign the great thing about the bike/walk tourist is that they really fit best in our shoulder season as in having the possibility of expanding it. I see this conversation as just another level of WMPO coordination that requires our attention.

Ultimately Our goal would be to tie our whole region together but as with the East coast greenway being only 21% complete, our region being in the beginning stages we need to start somewhere. Choosing our best 5-6 routes would be a good place to start. From this preliminary meeting I placed this conversation onto the next meeting’s agenda of our WMPO bike/ped group.

11/06/2008 Cape Fear Cyclists Annual Meeting
The Highlight of the meeting was Joshuah Mello’s report on how new bike pedestrian path projects are being completed and the status of new ones being funded and scheduled for beginning. With the WMPO effort being just in its second year Joshuah is really leading the charge in getting many things bike/ped wise going. Lots of kudos to his efforts.

The second highlight was the numbers of user’s at the newly developed Blue clay off road bike facility created by the Cape Fear cyclists in conjunction with Sirbikesalot. To date for the year those that have signed in to use the park totaled 4,000; 500 of which were from out of state. Our new Parks superintendent Scott Barnard said that typically only 25% sign in so that 4,000 actually represents more like 16,000 users. From his perspective that was an amazing number for a park built by residents on county wetland that is now generating that kind of use while the county had only to contribute some clay and lumber and land that can only have that kind of low impact use. It was good for us to get on Scott Barnard’s good side with this effort, since our pleasure island effort will be somewhat similar involving New Hanover County as the holder of the easement of our path through Army property. And again that army property can only be used for something like a low impact path. One other note that particularly interested me was that Scott commented that the Blue Clay park was self maintained and secured. That means that the county park service does not have to clean up along the path other than maintain trash service in the parking lot.

The final highlight of the Cape Fear Cyclist group was them receiving a citation from the state that they had been active “Adopt a highway” continuous participants for a 2 mile section of river road for 20 years, a distinction afforded to only 2 others in the state’s history.In short this is a great organization to be a part of under Al Schroetel’s leadership.

11/08/08 at 8:30 AM at Beach Walk
This Saturday's upcoming Meeting at Beach Walk is to present our latest alternative path through their HOA in Kure Beach. Any members of that HOA we could sure use your support for that meeting.

We presented our latest proposal for Kure Beach at the Beach Walk HOA board meeting which has no portion behind Beach Walk homes and basically shares the roadway through Beach Walk on Settlers Lane going south bound and along 4th Street, Anchor and Sloop lane going north bound. The idea being to create a bike and walking loop in the community with possibly tempered speed limits on those streets. The Board said they would seek the communities feedback before they gave us their feedback. We look forward to their feedback even their alternative proposal. One of the issues that remains is the actual experience that the neighborhood is the primary beneficiary and user of the amenity. I would refer people to our web site: http://islandgreenway.org and go to the resources tab and click on the Omaha Trails study which really tried to get to this sense of experience of a trail after it was built through a community. I think the other aspect of a more bike and pedestrian friendly island has to do with the residents quiet enjoyment of their life. Returning to a time when some of us were kids and we biked and walked to school and playing fields, a time when we exercised throughout our day because our world back then was much more bike and pedestrian friendly, as in our mothers allowed us. Again on our web site go to the press tab and bring up the Coastal living article: “bring your own bike”. Our island with just a small turn towards a more bike and pedestrian friendly future could produce a dramatic shift in our residents health and well being, let alone the economic benefits many of our sister islands are experiencing whose trails are their #2 amenity.

11/10/08 at 6:30 PM Carolina Beach Town Council
At this Town Council meeting, we will present just a light preview of our report proposals to council

11/13/08 at 7:00 PM - P&Z Meeting
We plan to review our path proposal with P&Z. This is a meeting we need to have our full support for our plan from everyone and particularly Carolina Sands neighbors north and south and Snows cut neighbors so that we can get the recommendation from this board for our plan.

12/09/08 at 6:30 PM Carolina Beach Town Council
This is the meeting where we hope that the Council will hear and act on a recommendation by P&Z to approve our plan. At this meeting we need the support of everyone, locally and the region.

Visit the Island Greenway website and click on "Meetings" to keep up to date with the latest information.

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