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Here's how you can weigh in on Raleigh's master greenway plan

Posted September 14, 2021 7:28 a.m. EDT
Updated September 14, 2021 5:51 p.m. EDT

— Dwight Otwell has been getting around Raleigh by riding his bike since he was a kid.

"Lots of the sewer trails we used to explore have been paved and are now some of my favorite Greenway trails," he said.

Now, he serves as chair of the Bicycle Planning Committee for Raleigh. The city's newest Capital Area Greenway Master Plan is focusing on expanding trails across the city.

This is the first update to the city's Greenway trails since 1989.

The city of Raleigh is collecting feedback from the public on its first master plan for the Greenway. The 358-page plan proposes maintenance improvements, safety upgrades, more connectivity, and163 miles of new trails. Several virtual open houses and an in-person meeting are coming up over the next few weeks.

"I think this is a really great turning point for the way the city is managing the Greenway trails," he said.

The city budget includes nearly a million dollars this year to add wayfinding signs, tunnel lighting, and trail markings.

After a bicyclists died while riding on the Greenway in August last year, city leaders are hoping to amp up security so that everyone feels safe while getting some exercise. The city approved funding for 6 police officers in a new Parks and Greenway Patrol Unit.

Raleigh Police say they are still in the process of hiring those new officers.

Kris Nikfar, Greenway Trails Planner at City of Raleigh, said there have been "very few" incidents of personal attacks or assaults on the greenway.

The master plan recommends police compile and routinely report crime data along the trails. The plan also recommends designing trails with safety and security in mind and prioritize safety in trail planning.

“I think one of the biggest challenges with personal safety on the Greenway system is the lack of visibility and the feeling of sort of being isolated out in nature, which you know, it’s like a double edged sword," Nikfar said. "It’s what’s most attractive about the system, but it can lead to a feeling of lack of safety."

The master plan proposals will likely end up as a bond that residents will vote for. The city previously delayed a 2020 parks bond referendum.

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