Southwest Apex could soon be home to a new greenway as growth spreads out toward New Hill and Chatham County.
At the town council’s meeting Tuesday, April 21, board members will consider adding the path to its long-range Bicycle, Pedestrian and Equestrian Plan.
If approved, Little Beaver Creek Greenway would stretch between the new Apex Friendship High School campus and Barker Road, which is a few miles east of Jordan Lake and just north of the New Hill community.
“We recognized the need for additional walking and biking opportunities in that part of Apex” said Reed Huegerich, a senior planner with the town.
Just over the county line, Jordan Lake is a popular destination for bikers, although Huegerich said the plans don’t include connecting Little Beaver Creek Greenway to existing trails in Chatham County. However, the greenway would connect with New Hill Olive Chapel Road, which Huegerich said is a “big biking road.”
At Apex Bike Shop, owner Z. Locki said he is excited to hear about the plan because some routes on town roads have become dangerously congested with traffic.
Standing outside his store on Center Street, he gestured to the cars zooming by. About a foot of pavement separates the lanes of traffic from a drop into the drainage ditch.
“This is a bike route right here,” Locki said. “A national bike route. Look at it. You could end up in the ditch just like that.”
Huegerich said the town’s long-range plans include making roads safer for bikers, as well as adding more greenways.
“It’s all about choice,” he said. “If people want to ride on the roads, we want to create a safe environment for them there. If they want to ride trails, we want to create that as well.”
One way to address roads, he said, is by installing multi-use paths. Bicyclists aren’t allowed to use sidewalks, but they can ride on the 10-feet-wide multi-use paths.
Apex doesn’t have any yet, Huegerich said, but plans are in the works to build several.
Locki said he doesn’t mind riding on roads, or at least he used to be a few years ago when traffic was lighter. But he said greenways are a good way for less experienced riders to start out.
“A regular family with kids? They need it,” he said.
A timeline for building Little Beaver Creek Greenway hasn’t been set.
It also could connect with an extension of the American Tobacco Trail that’s tentatively planned for the area. That would let people bike all the way to Durham without ever getting on a thoroughfare.
“There’s been talk over the years about the American Tobacco Trail possibly extending to the south,” Huegerich said. “So we figured if it does extend, then that’s great. And if it doesn’t, we’ll at least have another greenway for all the new homes being built in the area.”
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran