Hendersonville Lightning: Village Council dumps $40,000 bike-ped plan

The Flat Rock Village Council voted last week to kill a $40,000 bicycle-pedestrian study that envisioned an ambitious network of greenways and sidewalks linking popular destinations along public roads and through undeveloped land.

The board’s action was the latest in a series of moves by the newly elected council majority to roll back or kill projects that former councils had endorsed, including a sidewalk on the south side of Highland Lake Road, a crosswalk to the Park at Flat Rock and a paved bike path through the park. . .

Mayor Nick Weedman also opposed the study’s recommendations.
“To me, all of those trails and potential pedestrian-bike paths are located primarily on scenic byways and there are private owners involved, none of whom have been consulted,” Mayor Nick Weedman said. “And when you take a look at the cost, there’s never been a cost estimate with any of that.”. . .

“The cost concerns me and the fact that we’re identifying private property without any consultation also concerns me,” Weedman said. . .

The engineers projected costs at $150,000 per mile for 5-foot sidewalks, $220,000 per mile for 8-foot roadside bike paths, $220,000 per mile for off-street paths in open space or along streams and creeks and $2,000 per mile for 4- to 5-foot striped bike lanes. Cost of the highest priority projects was estimated to be $5.2 million to $8.8 million. Most highway grants to fund greenways and sidewalks require a 20 percent match from the local government bodies. . .

Coletta said the Village Council’s outreach was inadequate given the magnitude of the bike-ped plan.

“I think that we need to work on public input,” she said. “We had 50-something people participate — we’re a village of over 3,300 people. We really need to do a more comprehensive job of reaching out. To me it was boilerplate. Their solutions to me seemed very generic and did not take into account our historic character and frankly it would have taken a lot of our tree canopy.” . . .

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