Connecting existing bicycle and pedestrian networks across the Augusta region is key to a new plan unveiled at a Thursday meeting.
The Augusta Regional Transportation Study revealed the new draft during a public meeting in Evans that suggested ways to improve, expand and make bike and pedestrian pathways more user-friendly.
The draft is an update to the regional bicycle and pedestrian plan that was adopted in 2003.
The long-range plan also looks at new policies and programs to promote a safe and inviting network of biking and pedestrian routes.
Consultants John Cock and Jean Crowther with Alta Planning and Design gave a presentation that addressed the need for safe biking and walking options and the benefits of such activity.
While multiuse paths were recommended on sections of Hereford Farm Road and William Few Parkway, targeted areas for striped bike lanes were suggested down North and South Belair Roads as well as Lewiston Road.
Prioritized walkways in Columbia County include areas around Westmont Elementary School in addition to busy portions of Washington and Columbia Roads and on Katherine Street in Grovetown to Gordon Highway.
“The infrastructure is the piece of this that is going to take the longest,” said Cock, noting that adding signage and passing ordinances are ways to start the process now. “It’ll take time and political will.”
The ARTS area includes Richmond County and portions of Aiken, Columbia and Edgefield counties.
About 25 people attended the meeting.
“It’s something that’s very much a part of my family’s lives,” Sharon Fausnight said of biking and walking.
For 15 years, the Evans resident has lived in the Bridlewood subdivision off Furys Ferry Road that has a posted speed limit of 55 mph.
With no sidewalks in her neighborhood, Fausnight said she is forced to drive her family to places such as Savannah Rapids Pavilion or the North Augusta Greeneway to exercise in a safe environment.
“We’ve been kind of trapped in our subdivision,” she said.
Before the draft goes before the ARTS policy committee for final approval, it will be sent off to the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The plan could be adopted as early as April.
Those who could not attend will have a second opportunity from 5-7 p.m. today at Aiken Technical College. More information is available at www.