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Public meeting for those interested in promoting bicycling

By Kathy Chaffin
Rowan County bicyclists and representatives of agencies or groups interested in promoting bicycling are invited to attend a public meeting in Salisbury March 29 on the proposed Central Park Bicycle Plan, N.C.
The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Rowan Public Library headquarters, 201 W. Fisher St., to allow local citizens an opportunity to share their opinions on the proposed plan. It includes bicycle routes in the eight counties surrounding the five Uwharrie Lakes, including Rowan.
Other counties in the plan are Anson, Davidson, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond and Stanly. Jesse Day, regional planner for the Piedmont Triad Regional Council of Governments, which is serving as the planning consultant agency for the project, said turnout has varied from county to county in the six public meetings held so far.
“We had low turnout in Davidson,” he said. “In the Moore County, Pinehurst area, we had a great turnout.” 
Day said people attending the meetings have included bicyclists as well as representatives of the local Chambers of Commerce. The last public meeting will be held in Stanly County on Thursday afternoon following the meeting in Salisbury.
The proposed Central Park Bicycle Plan includes three 120-to-150 mile bicycle routes that might take an experienced biker a weekend to complete. Day said included along the routes are points of interest that a recreational cyclist would find useful such as food, lodging and shops as well as cultural, tourist, historical and natural sites.  
While the Rowan County Bicycle Map – available at the Visitors Center and Rowan County Planning Department in Salisbury – shows some of the favored routes of local bicyclists, Day said the routes in the proposed Central Park Bicycle Plan are designed to bring visiting bicyclists into the area. 
The public meetings will complete the initial phase of the Central Park Bicycle Plan project, he said. Other phases will address signage to be put up along proposed routes and road improvements to make them safer for bicyclists such as paved shoulders, bicycle lanes in urban areas and tying into existing or future off-road trail systems.
The cost of developing the plan is being financed by the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Division, which will also finance approved signs and road improvements. Day said the Piedmont Triad Regional Council of Governments, based in Greensboro, hopes to have the Central Plan Bicycle Plan finished by the end of 2013. “It’s a fairly long process,” he said, “a lot of area to cover.”
The maps are available for public viewing at www.ptcog.org/planning_services/transportation/RPO/RPO_projects.php.

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