Bike/ped & greenway projects

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Alternative Transportation Feasibility Study, 2013

The Village of Flat Rock is currently working on two bicycle / pedestrian / greenway plans:

  • Village of Flat Rock Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, August 2017/Draft
    • Grant for study received in March 2016 from NCDOT Bicycle and Transportation Division’s Planning Grant Initiative along with a local match from the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club
    • Concerns:
      • Generic, boiler-plate language with little understanding of Flat Rock’s historic or rural character. Only reference to Flat Rock’s history is in one goal statement: Promote the Village’s historic pre-automobile character. Yet there is no reference in the plan as to how or if that promotion will happen or what it means.
      • Demographics show that the median age in Flat Rock is 63. Plan recommendations emphasize providing ways for children to walk to school even though the number of school-age children in the village is small and the distance to the closest school would be too far for most.
      • Demographics show that, because of Flat Rock’s attraction to retirees, only 36% of the population is active in the workforce. Providing ways to walk or bike to work should be a low priority.
      • If the NCDOT Complete Streets initiative is followed, many property owners will lose their land in the over-reach to accommodate multi-use paths and lane widening. This would destroy the historic character of many of our tree-lined and curving roads.
      • The Complete Streets initiative seems most applicable to urban areas, not historically rural ones. This is a one-size-fits-all, top-down approach that does not accommodate special situations.
      • Many different areas in Henderson County are looking at greenway expansion, yet there is no overall greenway plan for residents to study. This is a piecemeal approach that leaves residents in the dark.
      • One of the main reasons for building greenways throughout the county seems to be tourism. Flat Rock has a very small commercial area that already benefits from the Flat Rock Playhouse and the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. There is limited room for tourism growth in the village. That growth, and the increased traffic that comes with it, does little to enhance the quality of life that residents desire.
  • Greenway feasibility study plan on connecting the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site with The Park at Flat Rock 
    • Study funded as of August 2017
    • Currently out for bid through the French Broad MPO to hire a consulting firm to handle the study
    • Greenway construction is already on the list for Henderson County new bike/ped projects for SPOT 5.0
    • Concerns:
      • Construction funding already being sought before feasibility study completed
      • Project already listed as HEND-BP-6 in the Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2040 for the 2021-2025 time horizon (shown on pages 227 and 286-288)

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10 thoughts on “Bike/ped & greenway projects

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  1. I am all for keeping Flat Rock as rural as possible. However I take issue with the assertion that it is a retirement community. It has a lot of subdivisions built with that theme but historically it was not a retirement community. I think Little Charleston of the Mountains welcomed all ages.
    Also though I am a few years away from 60, I and many of our 60+ residents would benefit from walking or biking to town instead of driving. There were historic walking paths, one important one in particular.
    As the houses bloom like mushrooms behind our historic home I cannot agree that it will be 60 years or more before we need some changes to handle the traffic. If you keep putting items in your grocery basket you have to get a cart.

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  2. One more thought . . . I think Historic Flat Rock’s most famous resident who wrote THE PEOPLE YES! would encourage us to be inclusive and forward looking for the preservation of HFR and the well being of a multi-age well rounded community. Keep our roads two- laned, keep our trees but consider healthy options to driving- surely we can spare some small pieces of land for such an option.

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  3. All of the concerns enumerated above are very disconcerting. Flat Rock does not need sidewalks and bike paths. We can’t even get people to carpool, much less use a bicycle or walk.
    Where does this come from? the Bicycle Club lobby must be very strong.
    All of this wasted taxpayer money on studies!! Allowing the DOT and the MTAC to destroy our quality of life defies imagination. We need a dose of common sense here. We’re going to have to be vigilant in the future because these outside influences are insidious.
    Just like the Highland Lake Road project. What a travesty! And, again, a huge waste of taxpayer money for something even the DOT says we don’t need.

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  4. I think I agree with both comments above. I am an “under average age resident” and I’m not crazy about that retirement community moniker either. We are however, a Village located on the National Register of Historic Places. Not bad, something to be coveted.

    I like trails and paths and even paths for bicycles– the kind with little kids with baskets on the handlebars– which should be differentiated from BIKE LANES for semi pro cyclists from across the area to come and race or whatever . But I digress.

    HOWEVER: I will almost NEVER accept EMINENT DOMAIN TAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY for the “use of others”. Not for something as frivolous as this. What are these people thinking? Are they so callous, so arrogant ? Does this not BURN YOUR BOTTOM? When did this become acceptable?

    So, that said, I agree with Mary, trails are good. But only if property owners voluntarily give up the right of way (see Village sidewalks) or if located outside of Flat Rock in areas that are more URBAN. Flat Rock is NOT urban.

    And I totally agree with Theodore, this N Highland Lake Rd project is a colossal mistake, waste of taxpayer money and a disaster to our Historic legacy. Further it is a slippery slope. The plan is to have these “multi use paths” along every major road in town!

    Don’t believe it? Village council told you “not on the drawing board”???—just go to page 16 of the Comprehensive Land Use plan (linked from this website) and see for yourself.
    Victor

    BTW: A wider and smoother N Highland Lake Rd, will invite trucks from 26 and Upward to continue to Greenville Hwy
    An added bonus!!!.

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  5. Thanks Victor. As to others . . . from the time developers, with dollar signs for eyes, added huge subdivisions to Flat Rock, it was urbanized and the urbanization continues to grow while visual pleasures like a historic barn are torn down to add one more house and manicured lawn. Our best hope is to keep Flat Rock as green as possible and to encourage non sedentary lifestyles and activities of the sort true rural folk once knew. Check out the number of miles Frederick Law Olmstead walked for pleasure.

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  6. FYI Mary: The population of Flat Rock has grown by a whopping 140 or so people in the last 7 years. Hardly a “mushrooming”. That Flat Rock is “growing fast” is simply not born out by fact. I for one will NEVER “spare some small pieces of land”, as you suggest, for you or anyone else to ride their bikes on. With all due respect, you can donate your land but please stay away from mine!

    And as for Carl Sandburg, I’m not sure what he would think about TAKING a mans land for another to use, but I’m VERY sure that the Sandburg NHS will not give up the park land for a bike path!

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  7. It seems that “connecting” Flat Rock to Hendersonville, via Greenways or trails is seen as desirable…so we can be connected from Sandburg to the Park to the BRCC and on to Jackson Park, Sierra Nevada, and Brevard…WHY? Has anyone DONE A SURVEY OF FLAT ROCK RESIDENTS? Is that what they want? Or is that what Sierra Nevada wants…or what the Merchants want, to sell more Pizza and T shirts?

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  8. I am a little concerned with the statement “Only 36% of the population is active in the workforce.” I’d say 36 percent is not negligible. Regardless, greenways make sense for people 0 to 90. When people turn 60 or 65 they don’t suddenly become bedridden. Look at The Park At Flat Rock if you want to see a successful project. Keep an open mind. From 2000 to 2010 the population of Flat Rock grew 21 percent. The increase was nearly twice that much the decade before.

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    1. Hi Kathy – Thanks for your comment. One thing to consider is that from 2000 to 2010, the Village of Flat Rock annexed two areas into the village, which increased the village population without actually adding more people in the area. This accounts for some of the population increase at that time.

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      1. Annexation may have been part of the reason for growth, but between 2000 and 2010, the number of construction permits for new homes was booming in Flat Rock. Henderson County also is estimated to have grown from 106,692 people in April 2010 to 114,385 people in July of 2017, Census estimates show. That’s a difference of 7,693 people, or 7.2 percent. These people need someway to get around. I’d rather promote greenways as an alternative and alleviate the need for large road projects. If we really want to prevent the need for big road projects, we need to invest in alternatives.

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