Feedback on plans for the future greenway system in Zebulon has taken on a different form.
Consultants working to form a greenway master plan for the town have taken all the input from meetings held over the past five months with the public and a members of a town-sourced advisory committee and mapped it out.
The maps, which were presented during an update to Zebulon commissioners on Monday, can be found online at zebulongreenways.com. The blog-like website has been updated regularly since January, to keep the public up to date on the latest shape the plan is taking.
An official draft of the greenway master plan is expected to be presented during the town board’s work session July 22.
Brian Starkey, of OBS Landscape Architects, showed town leaders a concept diagram of a greenway system that looks much like Raleigh’s beltline – with outer loop sections and trails connecting those locations to preferred destinations toward the town’s core. Starkey also gave a run down of 10 designated corridors for the system.
“In any corridor, there could be multiple greenway projects,” Starkey said. “Just because it’s one corridor doesn’t mean it has to be one trail in that area.”
Since his group’s work includes estimating the cost of the two corridors identified as the most popular, and since the turn-key cost of a paved greenway runs about $1 million per mile, Starkey gave the town board an idea of which corridors the town should consider tackling first.
The consultants considered several factors in assessing the corridors, including construction and easement costs, the possibility of immediate use, access to nature and the potential for public/private partnerships.
Four corridors rose to the top:
▪ Corridor 1: Connecting Weaver’s Pond, Wakelon Elementary School, Hendrick’s Pond and Taryn Meadows to North Arendell Avenue and Pearces Road.
▪ Corridor 3: Connecting Zebulon Elementary School, the Zebulon Boys & Girls Club, Zebulon Community Library and the Eastern Regional Center. “The idea of connecting the library, elementary school and Boys & Girls Club with a fairly short trail and with bicycle and pedestrian improvements is attractive,” Starkey said.
▪ Corridor 4: Connecting Gill Street Park, Zebulon Middle School, East Wake Academy, Triangle East Business Park and the Walmart shopping center, crossing East Gannon Avenue to the south toward a Zebulon Community Park link.
▪ Corridor 6: The longest of the 10 corridors at 3.5 miles, creates a loop to the east side of Zebulon Community Park toward Five County Stadium, with the park serving as a hub. “There’s a real strong recreational component to a loop trail – park your car and get out on the trail,” Starkey said. “There’s potential for immediate use because of the community park, and as I understand it people like to walk a loop. My mother likes to do a loop at the mall.”
The most unique aspect of the plan was left out. A so-called blueway – or waterway trail – spanning 2.3 miles down Little River was considered but Starkey said it would require a considerable amount of work to clear trees and debris from the waterway.
Area roads are being classified in a three-tier system identifying ideal locations for bicycle lanes and shared-lane markings as part of the master plan. The plan will also address potential sources of funding for future construction.
“There’s a lot out there … but the reason we’re doing this is because to pursue any of these funding opportunities, you’ve got to have a master plan,” Starkey told the board.