Prioritization projects

The Henderson County Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) has been asked to select three projects from the Henderson County SPOT 5.0 Project Prioritization document (prepared by the French Broad River MPO) to “prioritize” for NCDOT funding at their meeting later this month.

In anticipation of that selection process, CLG has reviewed the projects listed and submitted our recommendations to the Flat Rock village council for consideration.

We determined that there are two projects that directly affect the Village of Flat Rock:

SPOT ID H172172: NC 225 (Greenville Highway) from Spartanburg Highway (U.S. 176) to Erkwood Drive (SR 1164) (see document page 6)

While this project does not come inside the village municipal lines, anything affecting Greenville Highway ultimately affects Flat Rock. It’s our understanding from the May 24, 2018, MPO meeting that this project is not likely to be prioritized at this time. We have asked the village council to request additional information from NCDOT as to this project’s need and scope. The project list describes “modernization” as the goal, but it’s unclear what that means, especially since Greenville Highway already has sidewalks on this portion of the road, a main focus of NCDOT “modernization.”

SPOT ID B172145: Flat Rock Greenway – bike/ped path from N. Highland Lake Road (SR 1783) to Carl Sandburg (see document page 7)

Given that the feasibility study for this project has not yet occurred, we find it questionable to request project funding–it implies that the decision to construct a greenway has already been made, yet no study has been completed.

This funding request came at the May 17, 2017, TAC meeting, when the Flat Rock representative presented this greenway project for approval. There was no discussion or vote by the village council before the May 17 TAC meeting on whether or not to support this project. The May 30, 2017, agenda minutes note that “the greenway sidewalk is in the NCDOT plan to be approved, but it is on a list of projects to be considered for funding.”

All bike/ped projects require a 20 percent match by the participating local government. This project, currently estimated at $988,264, would require a match of at least $197,653 from the village. In addition, any greenway/path along or near Greenville Highway would have a significant impact on the historic district (including St John in the Wilderness and the Lowndes House), the tree canopy, multiple private property owners, and the NC 225 Scenic Byway.

Before requesting funding for any project, especially one as disruptive as the greenway project, CLG recommends that the village council conduct:

  • extensive study on whether or not this is desired by the village community
  • study of any impact on historic buildings and/or landscapes
  • review of all construction and maintenance costs
  • discussion on the use of eminent domain, etc.

We don’t think a decision on any project should be up to one council member but should only be made once all studies are complete and the council as a whole has voted after listening to the community.

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