Red bike Blue bikeMint Hill was one of 12 municipalities in North Carolina awarded a bicycle and pedestrian planning grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The state DOT awarded the grants at its May 7 meeting in Raleigh. Deputy Town Manager Lee Bailey said the grant will allow the town to develop pedestrian and bike paths.

“This is next step after the Comprehensive Transportation Plan,” Bailey said. “This gets down to a deeper level where we begin to determine where and when they will be built.”

The state estimated the town would need $45,000 based on population. The state covers 70 percent, which is $31,500, while the town matches the grant with 30 percent.

Overall, the N.C. Board of Transportation awarded $315,850 to 12 municipalities. This is the sixth year planning grants have been awarded for the development of comprehensive municipal bicycle and pedestrian plans.

Recipients include Ahoskie, $24,000; Butner, $24,000; Carolina Beach, $20,000; Granite Falls, $24,800; Indian Trail, $35,000; Kill Devil Hills, $20,000; Kings Mountain, $26,250; Morehead City, $24,800; Southern Pines, $45,500; Sylva, $20,000; and West Jefferson, $20,000.

The planning grant initiative is jointly sponsored by the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation and NCDOT’s Transportation Planning Branch. Funds for the initiative came from a special allocation approved by the General Assembly in 2003, as well as federal funds earmarked specifically for bicycle and pedestrian planning by the TPB. Ninety-two municipalities have been awarded grants for comprehensive bicycle or pedestrian plans since 2004. Local matching funds are required.

This year 35 proposals were received from eligible municipalities. NCDOT anticipates that the municipalities selected will initiate the planning process this fall. The department also will be available to provide technical assistance to the municipalities.

In choosing municipalities for the program, the proposals were divided into three regions: Western, Central and Eastern. The grant review committee ensured that the final selections allowed for an equitable funding distribution. This committee is composed of transportation planners from across the state, including representatives of both rural and metropolitan planning organizations along with councils of government.