Tuesday, at 7 p.m., the town of Rolesville will formally present its findings of more than a yearís worth of studying transportation needs of a different sort: bicycling.
Although experiencing tremendous growth over the last decade, Rolesville is still the kind of town in which one could easily envision folks biking with the kids down to the park. Or letting teenagers wheel over to the grocery store for some forgotten dinner item. Or simply letting the kids bike to the drug store for a candy bar or soda and then over to a friendís house.
The problem with that vision, however, is the danger from the ever-present and ever-growing traffic.
When the bypass around Rolesville opens in another year or so, there will be an immediate sigh of relief for local commuters. Although traffic will diminish, what wonít change is that the roads are still narrow and that any parent would feel squeamish about letting a child navigate around cars, SUVs, vans and trucks.
In addition to the narrow streets and speeds greater than 35 miles per hour, the Rolliní in Rolesville report states that other aggravating factors for would-be cyclists are the lack of appropriate signage, sidewalks and landscaping that help make biking safe and engaging for the casual cyclist.
While Rolesville doesnít currently have the funds for much, if any, of the plan that was put together as a joint effort of the N.C. Department of Transportation, the town and the J.S. Lane Company, they need to go ahead and put into place the overall design so that if and when funds become available from one source or another, they will know exactly what to do.
The plan is extremely thorough, with 1-5 years, 6-10 years and 10 years-plus components. It also covers everything from integrating walking, bicycling and greenway paths, to options to leverage stream and wetland mitigation credits to help finance improvements or encourage private developers to participate in the construction.
Thatís a good thing, as one of the smallest, short-term plans ó to provide a HAWK beacon (high-intensity activated crosswalk beacon) and accompanying crosswalk at Rolesville Elementary ó would cost about $45,000.
The most expensive plan, an east-west connector to bridge Rogers Road to Burlington Mills Road, Chalk Road to Rogers Road and Jones Dairy Road to Chalk Road would cost an estimated $21.1 million.
But again, the town board knows it has other things it needs to address from its budget.
Adopting this plan now, however, gives continued guidance to future boards as all indications point to further growth in town.
Hopefully, a good contingent from the community will turn out to hear about the plan and weigh in with their thoughts. Thereís little more frustrating for a town board than to host a public gathering, have little public turn out, adopt a plan and then have folks be unhappy for one reason or another. Or say they wished it had included a little more of this and little less of that.
We think the comprehensive plan Rolesville is looking at is a great addition to itís overall vision of the future. Although growing, Rolesville still retains the feeling that you could cross the street and borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbor.
Having an integrated system of greenways, sidewalks and biking trails could only be a boon to the community, especially as companies and individuals consider whether or not to make Rolesville their home.
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