Help Us Create a Comprehensive Bicycle Plan for Haywood County!
The Haywood County Comprehensive Bike Plan now in final version for review!
Bicycle Haywood NC has taken several big steps recently to launch Haywood County’s first-ever comprehensive bicycle plan. Read on to learn more and see how you can help.
What Does the Plan Include?
This plan addresses the needs of all cyclists – recreational cyclists, commuters, and tourists. In terms of content, this is not just about bike paths along a creek somewhere. The plan focuses on five key issues, which are commonly referred to as “the 5 E’s:”
- Engineering (e.g., designated bicycle routes, bike lanes, bike paths, bike racks, and traffic lights that are set to change for cyclists, not just heavy cars and trucks)
- Education (e.g., teaching cyclists how to ride safely; educating motorists how to share the road safely with cyclists)
- Encouragement (e.g., promotional programs like Bike Rodeos for children and Bike-to-Work Week)
- Enforcement (e.g., both the existence of laws related to safe cycling and sharing the road, and enforcement of those laws for both cyclists and automobile drivers)
- Evaluation & Planning (e.g., measurements of cycling activity, accidents, and so on; as well as measuring actual implementation and updating of the plan).
Ultimately, we want this plan to provide a realistic course of action to address all of these issues in order to improve cycling opportunities and safety throughout the county in the years ahead.
Does the Plan Only Benefit Cyclists?
While the focus of the plan is clearly on cycling, we think even non-cyclists will support the effort, because cycling provides many positive impacts for our entire community, including:
- promoting health and fitness for individual cyclists of all ages and abilities
- providing a cost-effective way to commute to work or school and to run errands
- reducing the use of fossil fuels, related air pollution, and impacts on transportation infrastructure (versus motorized transportation)
- creating tourism opportunities and related economic development – cyclists all over love to find new, bicycle-friendly places to ride, including bicycle races, organized tours (like the Blue Ridge Breakaway run by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce), and self-directed trips.
Who is Involved?
Bicycle Haywood NC has taken the lead on this effort. Many other groups and individuals are also helping out:
- The French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization will provide most of the planning funds for this project.
- The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina has awarded a grant from their Next Steps Fund.
- Blue Ridge Bicycle Club has provided a grant to support the project.
- Businesses like Mast General Store have also contributed funds.
- Many individuals have made personal contributions to finance the plan.
- Haywood County has agreed to host the planning effort.
- Other county agencies and groups supporting the project include:
- the Haywood County Recreation Department and Recreation Advisory Board,
- County and town planning departments
- Healthy Haywood
- Haywood Advancement Foundation.
Now that the plan has been unanimously adopted by the Haywood County Board of Commissioners we will move forward with implementation of the concepts outlined in the plans. Some items can be developed and implemented now using community wide resources while other aspects of the plan may not come to fruition for several funding cycles. We have both short and long term goals in mind.
How Can You Help?
Please participate in the implemenation effort by attending meetings and sharing your thoughts on how we can improve cycling in Haywood County. Please encourage other cyclists, as well as non-cyclists, to offer their thoughts, too. We will be sure to post the latest planning and meeting information here on:
Please also consider sending a tax-deductible contribution to Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, PO Box 309, Asheville, NC 28802; please make a notation regarding “Haywood Co. Bicycle Plan” on your check and/or in related correspondence. (Blue Ridge Bicycle Club is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so all donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.) We will utilize your funds to help create, publicize, and implement the new plan.
Thank you for your interest in creating a more bicycle-friendly Haywood County!