Harnett Co. Commissioners Approve Bicycle, Pedestrian, And Greenway Plan

Earlier this year, Harnett County Commissioners approved the Harnett County Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenway Plan. This long-term plan focuses on bicycle, pedestrian, and greenway routes and trails, setting the stage for implementation of a County-wide multi-use trail system.

These trails will link parks, schools, municipalities, cultural points of interest, and residential areas within Harnett County, and will be designed to connect to surrounding counties. The goal of the plan is to develop a community-supported plan that can be successfully implemented through a capital improvement plan as well as through programmatic strategies and operations.

“Improving access to parks and trails is a critical part of our work to strengthen communities and improve the quality of life for Harnett County residents, “stated Harnett County Parks and Recreation Director, Carl Davis. “We’re creating a County-wide Bicycle, Pedestrian, & Greenway Master Plan to shape the development of future amenities for walking, cycling, and trails and to make Harnett County a more attractive place for prospective residents and businesses.”

Currently, Harnett County has only five miles of greenway trails available for citizens to use on a regular basis. With the Harnett County Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenway Plan, nearly 100 miles of multi-use trails is recommended to expand recreational opportunities throughout the County.

PLANNING

Harnett County collaborated with Alta Planning + Design, North America’s leading multi-modal transportation firm, to facilitate this plan. A steering committee was also established that includes several partners, such as the East Coast Greenway Alliance, the Conservation Fund of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, regional planning agencies, and local trail advocates to create this County-wide Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenway Plan.

In June 2020, planning began for the Harnett County Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenway Plan. The planning process provided a guiding framework with five phases that included project start up, data collection, draft plan, final plan, and plan adoption, that offers input from the public, participation and direction from the project Steering Committee, and public presentations of draft and final plans.

A public input survey was launched in Summer 2020 to encourage individuals to provide feedback and help shape the development of future Harnett County recreational amenities. Over 850 County residents and visitors completed the survey, providing comments and ideas for the multi-use trail network.

In October 2020, two virtual workshops were held to discuss the plan and results from the public input survey. Over 50 County residents and visitors attend the workshops.

The plan was finalized in December 2020, and presented to the Harnett County Board of Commissioners in January 2021, where the plan was approved.

TRAIL TYPES

The plan lists different types of trail pathways that would be used in the Harnett network.

There are multiple unique trail cross-sections that could be used to complete the proposed projects, depending on the context of each specific trail segment. Most of these cross-sections fall under the umbrella of ‘shared use paths’. A shared use path provides a travel area separate from motorized traffic for bicyclists, pedestrians, skaters, wheelchair users, joggers, and other users. The types of shared use paths in the plan include:

  • River adjacent trail: multi-use paved surface or crushed gravel surface trail next to a river that is typically 10-12 feet in width.
  • Major highway sidepath: multi-use paved asphalt trail near a major highway that is 10 feet in width.
  • Minor highway sidepath: multi-use paved asphalt trail near a minor highway that is 10 feet in width.
  • Residential sidepath: multi-use concrete trail in a residential area that is 10 feet in width.
  • Gravel road: paved or crushed gravel trail used by hikers and cyclists on roads with very low traffic volume that varies in width.
  • Paved shoulder: paved asphalt trail used by cyclists on the shoulder of a road that is 4- 6 feet in width.
  • Boardwalk: multi-use wood decking trail that is 10 feet in width.
  • Natural surface trail: native soil trail in a natural area used by hikers and mountain bikers that is 3-5 feet in width.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The plan recommends nearly 100 miles of a multi-use trail network. The trail network is composed of priorities that were the most consistently mentioned in previous planning efforts, committee meetings, stakeholder discussions, and public outreach during this planning process. They fulfill a variety of prioritization criteria that will help them score high in future funding applications, and are geographically distributed across the county.

The recommendations for the trail network include:

  • Raven Rock State Park to Lillington River Park: trail that includes 3.6 miles of sidepath from Raven Rock State Park to S. River Road trailhead and 4 miles of rail-to-trail paths from S. River Road trailhead to Lillington River Park.
  • Lillington to Coats: trail that includes 7 miles of shared use paths and sidepaths from Lillington to Campbell University and 4 miles of shared use paths and sidepaths from Campbell University to Coats.
  • Coats to Dunn-Erwin Rail Trail: trail that includes 5 miles of shared use paths and sidepaths
  • Coats to Angier Rail Trail: trail that includes 8.4 miles of shared use paths and sidepaths
  • SW Harnett County On-Road Bicycle Route: trail that includes 41 miles of signed routes and paved shoulders
  • Barbecue to Spout Springs: trail that includes 13.5 miles of shared use paths and sidepaths
  • Hector Creek Trail: trail that includes 9.7 miles of shared use paths and/or natural surfaces

Harnett County has created an educational video that provides an overview of the greenway plan.
 

Interested individuals can also review the final approved plan at www.harnettgreenwayplan.com/the-plan.html.

For more information on the Harnett County Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenway Plan, contact Carl Davis, Harnett County Parks & Recreation Director, at 910-893-7518 or cdavis@harnett.org.