Whether a person is walking, bicycling, or jogging, and for whatever reason, they are a non-motorized traveler. Every day, thousands of people in mid-Michigan choose non-motorized means of transportation. These trips take place on a variety of different facilities — from those paths reserved exclusively for non-motorized use, to roads heavily trafficked by cars, trucks and commercial traffic.
Charlotte Step-By-Step, a part of Can Do!, is a local advocacy group working to create a comprehensive plan for non-motorized transportation throughout the Charlotte Public Schools district. It has the support of Can Do!, as well as the City of Charlotte Downtown Development Authority, Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital, the Barry Eaton District Health Department and the Charlotte Area Recreation Council, among others. Its goal with this planning project is to help create strong non-motorized connections from commercial, educational, and recreation uses to local neighborhoods.
Planning and maintaining non-motorized transit infrastructure is something that needs our attention now, and for the future. The settings, local population, available right-of-way, nearby land use, topography and projected use are just a few of the factors that must be considered. Likewise, details of location and design of the sidewalks, walkways, crosswalks, curb ramps, bike lane striping, bike parking and similar items must be professionally planned if they are to be effective. Ensuring the system is accessible to all users, and incorporates appropriate signage, markings, parking, benches, lighting, landscaping and other amenities are also critical factors
Most importantly, projects and principals must be adopted and planned in advance if the community is to be successful in pursuing the necessary funding.
Many of the improvements Charlotte Step-By-Step hopes to facilitate will have to be paid for by grants and other supplementary funding sources.
The Step-By-Step initiative plans for and prioritizes local projects, and identifies the potential funding sources that could pay for them. It helps coordinate our community’s efforts with the various funding agencies, and also helps local leaders make better, more informed decisions related to non-motorized transportation.
Charlotte Step-By-Step is working with the Award-winning firm of Williams & Works from Grand Rapids to create this Master Plan for Non-Motorized Transportation. The initiative will help local leaders plan and position local projects for successful grant applications and other funding that might otherwise be out of reach.
The focus of grant makers today is on collaborative projects and regional cooperation, and this will bring local agencies and stakeholders together in a single plan that we can all benefit from.
Please feel free to download and check-out the preliminary facilities map showing the non-motorized connections Charlotte can make now and in the future.