Published On: Wed, Jan 27th, 2010
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Cherokee Pedestrian Transportation Plan presented

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

One complaint many visitors have when visiting Cherokee is that it is hard to walk around town.   The Cherokee Pedestrian Transportation Plan, developed by a committee and Greenways, Inc.,  may help correct the problem.  An executive summary of the plan was presented to the EBCI Planning Board on Monday, Jan. 25. 

The planning effort began in February 2009 and cost around $45,000 to develop.  The Tribe paid a little more than $12,000 and the rest was funded by a grant from the North Carolina DOT. 

Matt Hayes, of Greenways, Inc., gave a brief presentation on Monday highlighting the major parts of the plan which had two major goals: improve safety for pedestrians and increase walking in Cherokee. 

“A number of people are dependent on walking to get places,” said Hayes who spent several months gathering data and comments in the process of developing the plan. 

The report states, “Walkability helps to improve people’s health and fitness, enhance environmental conditions, and contribute to a greater sense of community.” 

Hayes related that comments for the plan were sought from the public in several ways including an online comment form, public workshops, and a booth set up at the annual Ramp It Up Festival in March.  According to the report, 68 people submitted online comment forms and of those:

–          94 percent said pedestrian conditions in Cherokee “were fair or poor”

–          91 percent said improving walking conditions “is very important”

Hayes said that four important traffic hubs were highlighted that need special attention including:  US 19, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino area, Saunooke Village, and Casino Trail/US441 shopping center. 

Hayes said one of the goals was to make the Cherokee Business District more accessible.  “When we were in the field, we were really trying to find out where the opportunities existed.” 

The Planning Board decided to review the plan more thoroughly and will act on it at a future meeting.

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