Better pedestrian and bike access to parks (sidewalks, crossings, complete streets, etc.)
One of the best ways to get people active is through their daily transportation. However, promoting active transportation to parks sometimes means the infrastructure surrounding your parks needs to change. How many people are going to walk to a park half a mile away if they have to cross a four lane highway without sidewalks or a crossing signal? How many people will bike if there isn't a dedicated bike lane on a busy street? Below are some resources and ideas for promoting active transportation to and from your facilities.
Do you know how walkable and bikeable the areas surrounding your parks are? Use a checklist to take an assessment. After determining the impediments to active transportation in your community, prioritize the list by the resources involved in solving the problem. Larger issues, especially if they require collaboration with other agencies, will require more time than adding a new sidewalk on park property. The Walkability Workbook is a great resource for making these bicycle and pedestrian-friendly changes a reality. NCRPA also hosted a Wellness Webinar about bike and pedestrian access to parks that shows some great examples of local agencies that are promoting walking and biking.
Often, agencies know where the problems are, but do not have the expertise or financial resources to fix them. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has a a list of possible groups to partner with on bicycle and pedestrian safety. For financial assistance, try this list of private grant opportunities, or consider a local fundraising campaign.
If you wish to request public funds for your bike and ped projects, here are some details about the different types of federal and state funding available:
To learn the basics about how bike and pedestrian funding happens, read
, and view
to see how much federal money is planned to be distributed this year for bike and ped projects in NC.
Federal funding for bike and ped projects can come from many different sources, only some
of which fall under MAP-21. Each of these programs has different eligibility requirements. To see which funds your project is
eligible for, try Advocacy Advance’s
Find It, Fund it
Despite its name, funds from the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) can be used on
any public road- not just highways. These funds can be used for sidewalks, intersections between a trail and a road, bike lanes, traffic calming,
crosswalks, and other safety improvements. If you are looking to increase safety and access to your parks, this funding could
be a great resource. Learn more
NC DOT distributes most funds from the federal programs, but if your government is in a
Metropolitan Planning Organization, the money is usually sent from DOT to be allocated through the MPO. If your local
government is part of an MPO,
are some tips for working with your planning department and MPO to get your bike and ped projects included in the Transportation Improvement Program.
Finally, good data can help build your case for bike and pedestrian improvements.
These databases track past spending on transportation projects. The
NC DOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Crash Data Tool
can help you pinpoint unsafe areas in your neighborhood (which can be used in your
application for HSIP funds). And this benchmarking report can show you how your community compares to others around the country on bike and ped infrastructure.
Promoting Active Transportation in Your Parks
Once you have improved the bike and pedestrian connections to your parks, let people know about it! This could include walking/biking maps, giveaways, and other programs. A great example is the Roll or Stroll program, created by Cary Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources. In conjunction with Advocates for Health in Action, Cary decided to promote biking and walking on area greenways and sidewalks for short errands, such as children’s activities and shopping local businesses. Citizens living near Black Creek Greenway were targeted, and 4,000 printed flyers were distributed at recreation facilities and schools. The Roll or Stroll flier featured a map highlighting neighborhoods, greenways and facilities that can be accessed from the greenway, as well as a coupon for the free healthy snack from the nearby Great Harvest Bread Company. The programs has since been expanded to highlight active transportation to other locations in town, including local farmers' markets.
First, share your completed project with us. Then, consider one of these ideas to promote biking and walking in your community:
- Community walk or bike ride to celebrate your infrastructure changes
- Kidical Mass ride to promote family biking
- Have a free bike inspection day at one of your greenways
- Work with NCDOT to develop complete street designs for the major state-owned roads in your community
- Work with agencies in your community (and/or region) to develop bicycle and pedestrian plans
- Create a community-wide maps that show pedestrian and bicycle friendly routes
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