The town of Littleton approved a resolution at the end of April to endorse an application for a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian planning grant. Stated in the resolution, Littleton has a desire to provide its citizens with a safe, convenient, and more complete bicycle and pedestrian facility within the community.
The Greater Littleton Development Partnership appointed Lea Beazley of Lake Gaston to research and apply for a grant that will allow the town to hire a consultant to create a plan. According to Beazely, the first grant from the N.C. Department of Transportation will open up possibilities to get additional grants to implement their plans.
“A grant will allow a consultant to come and study Littleton,” Beazley said. “They will look at the existing roads, crosswalks, sidewalks, bike and walking trails, and just come up with a plan for the town. After they are finished, we will create a steering committee that would meet with the consultant and use that plan to then apply for other grants to get additional funding.”
The goals of the resolution are to provide guidance for modifying infrastructure to safely accommodate walking and bicycling in appropriate locations, move towards an effective network of recreation and exercise, have an approved plan that will support funding from DOT, and ensure land use decisions effectively incorporate multimodal objectives.
Late last month, the Peanut Belt Rural Planning Organization, which encompasses Halifax, Northampton, Hertford, and Bertie counties, adopted a resolution supporting Littleton’s application to the DOT division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation and the Transportation Planning Branch, for a grant up to $50,000 with a 10 percent local match requirement.
According to the Peanut Belt RPO resolution, “communities throughout N.C. are placing more emphasis on providing facilities for biking and walking; and the demand for more bikeable and walkable communities and that focus on smart growth initiatives have combined to highlight the need for better, more complete bicycle and pedestrian transportation systems.”
N.C. DOT encourages towns and municipalities to develop bicycle and pedestrian plans and has created a matching grant program to fund their development.
The town of Littleton will now submit an application to DOT for a grant, to link businesses, cultural, educational facilities, and neighborhoods in an effort to promote health and wellness for its citizens.
Littleton required the resolution from the Peanut Belt RPO in support of their application, and Beazely is working with local businesses to gather letters of support to also attach to the grant application. Currently, she has the support of the GLDP, the police department, and the Lakeland Cultural Arts Center.
The Peanut Belt RPO adopted the resolution to support Littleton on May 21, and a copy of the resolution that will be forwarded to the N.C. DOT.
Beazely said that the overall goal in improving bike and pedestrian pathways is to give the citizens of Littleton a safe way to get around town. Some ideas that have been generated have been improving sidewalk conditions, adding bike lanes where applicable, and increasing crosswalk visibility.