Granite Quarry to host interactive open house on cycling, walking on Sept. 13

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 27, 2021

GRANITE QUARRY  — After exploring ways to make the town a more pedestrian-friendly destination, Granite Quarry officials will ask the community for additional insight.

The town is hosting an open house to help develop its “GoGQ” pedestrian and bike plan on Sept. 13 at town hall. The town describes the plan as a community-driven effort. The public can drop in any time between 5-6:30 p.m. and speak to staff about the project.

Town Planner Steve Blount said so far the town has had a steering committee meeting and the open house will be the first public input session.

A map will show existing sidewalks, trails and parks in town. Officials want to know where those amenities should be extended and connected, as well as where bicycle lanes should be added.

This is one of the first steps along the way to creating a plan the town can act on.

Blount said after the open house the steering committee will meet again, take the input and “massage” it into something practical. Then the town would hand off the result to a planning firm to create a proposed plan.

The town will then host another public input session so people can make suggestions on the plan.

The town has been discussing improving the walkability of the town since at least 2016, when the board of aldermen adopted a downtown master plan. Walkability was one of the aims. In 2020, the town placed sidewalks and streets as a high priority during its budgeting process

Blount said at the local level, adding more sidewalks and bike lanes would improve access from subdivisions to parks. In some cases, people need to load bicycles into their cars to go for a long ride and the town wants to address that as well.

“That’s a silly thing,” Blount said.

Zooming out to the region, when someone moves to the Charlotte metropolitan area they look for communities with convenient amenities and having easy access throughout the town is attractive.

Blount said public input is a good thing for planning, but it is also required for most major grant funding. The N.C. Department of Transportation has grant programs for sidewalks and trails. The plan shows where money will be spent and involvement from the people that live in town shows community buy in.

There is also possible funding from Carolina Thread Trail, which has connections throughout the county.