A nearly 6-mile greenway to connect the major parks in downtown New Bern is one of 10 proposed projects selected for equity benefits or connectivity to the larger state trails network.
North Carolina Department of Transportation officials are asking the public for input on this and nine other proposed projects to inform stakeholders what the public would like to see at these sites, as well as help provide more justification for local support and need for the identified projects.
Visit the New Bern Downtown Parks link to provide input through the online survey that opened last week or the main survey page to view all of the proposed projects. As of Feb. 8, there is no closing date for the survey.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Integrated Mobility Division and Transportation Planning Division worked with North Carolina State Parks to create the Great Trails State Implementation Report released in 2022, which builds on the Great Trails State Plan detailing proposed trail connections in all 100 counties.
“We’re excited to hear feedback from the public about what they’d like to see in trail projects in their community,” Integrity Mobility Division Interim Director Brennon Fuqua said in a statement. “With the steps identified in the report and public input, we look forward to continued work with our partners to further improve North Carolina as the Great Trails State.”
The six projects, including the one in New Bern, were chosen for their equity benefits based on the results of the NCDOT Transportation Disadvantage Index, an online tool that illustrates the disproportionate impact transportation barriers have on communities of color.
These projects “seek to improve connectivity in areas of transportation disadvantage, such as communities with a high concentration of zero-vehicle ownership, lower income levels, and minority populations,” officials said.
The 5.96-mile path connects Stevenson Road and Union Point Park in downtown New Bern. Martin Marietta Park, Glenburnie Park, Jack Smith Creek Wetlands, George Street Park, Union Point Park and Riverwalk, Barber Elementary and Oaks Road Elementary are key destinations on the parks link.
The New Bern greenway project, estimated to cost $6.5 million, will become part of the East Coast Greenway‘s complementary route, or eastern alternative to the spine route through the center of the state. The 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway connects 15 states and 450 cities and from Maine to Florida.
The other five proposed projects based on equity are Swannanoa River Greenway Connection, Spencer/East Spencer Trail, Franklinton to Louisburg Rail Trail, Fayetteville Center City Connection (North) and Fayetteville Center City Connection (South).
The proposed projects for Fonta Flora State Trail in Black Mountain, Wilderness Gateway State Trail in Hickory, Deep River State Trail in Randleman and Deep River State Trail in Moncure focus on areas that “support both the Great Trails State Plan and trails designated within the NC State Trails system.”
These projects “explore areas in rural communities where there are ongoing efforts to connect proposed projects with other trails or public lands, where there is a high level of partner investment, and where economic benefit is high,” officials said.