Council talks highways, byways

Kevin Spradlin Richmond County Daily Journal

November 12, 2013

ROCKINGHAM — Part of the talk at Tuesday’s public meeting of the Rockingham Mayor and City Council turned to highways, byways and thoroughfares.

Dominique Byrd, with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, told council members that the process of completing the Richmond County Comprehensive Transportation Plan that began in June is on track. A survey that seeks public input on the needs and wants of residents is due to become available online and in print in January.

Janet Robertson, of the Lumber River Council of Governments, said she’s hopeful that Richmond County government and all its municipalities would approve the plan, which comes in two parts. First, the five-year plan identifies the more immediate needs of an area and tries to find funding sources for those projects. Second, the long-range plan, which can extend 20 years or more, is not fund-constrained but attempts to anticipate and address future needs.

Robertson said the online survey is to be distributed in city halls, libraries and other high-traffic areas.

The survey is broken down into five sections. Many questions offer the respondent chances to weigh in or identify issues in long-form rather than simply a multiple choice option.

The first section inquires about a respondent’s household size and driving habits. Section two asks if the respondent is aware of any new construction, such as sidewalks, or improvements.

“We should be able to determine what the citizens in the area want … and problems,” Robertson said.

Robertson said the survey also will be translated into Spanish.

Council member Travis Billingsley sought assurance that any transportation plan developed would use data from towns’ available land-use plans as a starting point. Both Robertson and John Massey, city planning director, assured the council that would be the case.

Byrd said the transportation plan developed would take into consideration not only individual motorists but bicycle, pedestrian, rail and public transportation opportunities.