LAKE NORMAN â€“ Lake Norman may have a bike trail in the future that will circle around the entire area of shoreline.
Duke Power has donated $2,500 to the project and Centralina Council of Governments has agreed to match this.
The idea stemmed from Frank Johnson, who used to be a N.C. DOT board of transportation member. The idea came about in 2000.
â€œI just started talking to my two brothers who are great bicyclists, and they thought it was a great idea,â€ Johnson said.
The plan is to use low-volume roads, make improvements to busier roads and develop off-road connectors between residential areas in order to provide a 150-mile bicycle route around the lake.
â€œI know this will take many years to complete, but itâ€™s a great opportunity to provide bicycle transportation and recreation in this fast-growing area,â€ Johnson said.
If any of these routes are implemented, no one will be forced to give up their land.
Currently, the proposal is only a concept. There has been no opportunity yet to research any proposed routes.
Johnson was interested in looking at getting a bike trail so people could have better access to the lake.
â€œI would like to see Lake Norman be a destination for people who do not live on the lake â€“ a place where people could come and stay in hotels and be able to ride their bicycles,â€ he said.
The GIS (Global Information System) at N.C. DOT helped map an outline of where the trail would run.
Some projects are already helping the plan become a reality.
The N.C. Moving Ahead Program, started by Gov. Mike Easley, is allowing the modernization of highways to occur. This will allow lanes to be wider.
â€œIt is not going to be bike lanes, but it will be safer for bikes to ride with cars,â€ Johnson said.
Centralina Council of Governments is also working toward the goal through their Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life program, or SEQL, by approaching the issue of connectivity.
Connectivity is getting from one place to another without having to go long distances out of the way. The council believes a transportation system that allows people to get around by walking, public transit or bicycles and by automobile is very effective for a livable community.
Connectivity can help a community by:
Â· Promoting walking and bicycling, both which are important elements designed to reduce obesity and improve cardiovascular fitness
Â· Providing access to biking and walking trails which increases property values
Â· Enabling residents in neighborhoods the opportunity to walk and bike which encourages social interaction and is effective in reducing crime
Â· Saving money- Bicycling Magazine estimates that you save $1 every time you walk or bicycle for one trip of 2 miles or less
by Amy Wadsworth