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Town of Boone Improving Walkability; $130,000 Spent Annually on New Sidewalks; 55 Current Projects

By Paul T. Choate

Sidewalk installation on Boone Heights Drive. Photo by Ken Ketchie

June 13, 2012. Over the last few years the Town of Boone has been trying to vastly add to the number of sidewalks in town. Some new sidewalks have already been added and plenty more are on the way.

This summer and fall, completion is scheduled for sidewalks on Boone Heights Drive, Deerfield Road, Rivers and Water streets.

“It is actually going a little better on Boone Heights than we expected,” said Public Works Director Blake Brown, “We’re right on line with what we’re looking at.”

Though the plan to increase the number of sidewalks has been around for many years, Brown said the town started working more aggressively on it in 2008. Then, in 2011, a new pedestrian plan was put in place.

There are a total of 55 sidewalk projects either in progress or scheduled for the coming years. 44 of those projects are on what Brown called the “priority list.”

“We’re trying our best to promote walkability because with our traffic situation it would make it wonderful,” said Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson. “I would love to have a sidewalk to my house.”

“If you drive around this town much you know that we get in a gridlock sometimes,” said Brown. “We’ve gotten a lot of funding from Appalachian District Health, which is trying to promote walkability and good health, so we’re trying to promote that. But the main thing is actually making a grid to make it easier for people to get to different places. We understand that it’s a problem in some areas walking on the side of the road.”

According to Brown, Appalachian District Health provided funding for the engineering of an upcoming sidewalk project on Highway 194. All state roads must be engineered by the North Carolina Department of Transportation prior to installation of the sidewalk.

Sidewalk installation on Boone Heights Drive. Photo by Ken Ketchie

Most of the funding comes from the Town of Boone. At a Town Council meeting on April 17 members of the council voted unanimously to award the Department of Public Works $100,000 for four projects in currently in progress.

Developers can also pay into a pool for sidewalks to lead to their future properties. Brown said the Town of Boone does not want to have “sidewalks that lead to nowhere,” so the money paid into the pool for developers can be used for any project, but a sidewalk will be put in once the developer’s property is completed.

Brown said, on average, approximately $130,000 is spent annually on sidewalk installation.

“We try to use the money wisely and make sure it’s in the best location at this time,” said Clawson.

There is no specific completion date for the entire project, which will likely take years to complete.

“It’s an ongoing thing,” said Brown “This is something that will be updated periodically by the council and looked at.”

Despite only having three workers tasked with installing sidewalks, between one and two miles of new sidewalks are added each year.

“We’re working as fast as we can,” said Brown.

Public Works sidewalk projects

1 State Farm Road Section 2   Shadowline Drive to Sunnyside Drive
2 State Farm Road Section 3   Sunnyside Drive to NC Hwy 105 Ext.
3 Poplar Grove Road Water Street to Poplar Grove Road Extension
4 Perkinsville Drive/Grove Street Highway 194 to Highway 421; include Grove St.
5 Highway 421 West From current sidewalks to corporate limits
6 Hwy 105 Extension Highway 321 to Highway 421
7 Highway 421 East Highway 194 to Corporate Limits
8 Highway 105 Studio West to Highway 105 Bypass
9 Highway 105 Highland Avenue to Highway 105 Bypass
10 Meadowview Drive Greenway Road to Blowing Rock Road
11 Quail Drive NC Highway 105 Ext. to Dove Circle
12 Horn Avenue Horn in the West Drive to Highway 105 Ext.
13 Queen Street Water Street to North Depot Street
14 Longvue Drive Highway 321 to Deerfield Road
15 Doctors Drive Furman Road to Deerfield Road
16 Birch Street Furman Road to Doctors Drive
17 Kimberly Drive Furman Road to Birch Street
18 Clement Street Oak Street to Highway 321
19 Pine Street Oak Street to stairs above Hardin Street
20 Furman Road Lonvue Drive to existing sidewalks
21 Horn in the West Drive   Highway 321 to Horn Avenue
22 Oak Street Highway 421 to Horn in the West Drive
23 Highland Avenue Highway 105 to Faculty Street
24 Meadowview Drive Section 2   Greenway Road to Pilgrims Way
25 Poplar Grove Road Section 2   NC Highway 105 to corporate limits
26 North Depot Street Queen Street to North Street
27 Grand Boulevard Highway 421 to Bear Trail
28 Cherry Drive Highway 421 to Eastbrook Drive
29 Eastbrook Drive Cherry Drive to Hunting Road
30 Hunting Road Eastbrook Drive to Westbrook Drive
31 Westbrook Drive Hunting Road to Cherry Drive
32 Brookshire Road Highway 421 to corporate limits
33 Stadium Drive Section 1   Hemlock Drive to existing sidewalks
34 Poplar Hill Section 1 Highland Avenue to Dogwood Drive
35 Dogwood Road Poplar Hill Drive to Stadium Drive
36 Stadium Drive Section 2   Dogwood Road to Hemlock Drive
37 Poplar Hill Section 2 Dogwood Road to Hemlock Drive
38 Farthing Street Highway 421 to Brookside Drive
39 Brookside Drive Farthing Street to Councill Oaks
40 Dove Circle Quail Drive to Pheasant Ridge
41 Pheasant Ridge Quail Drive to Woodpecker Lane
42 Tracy Circle Councill Street to Edgewood Drive
43 Edgewood Drive Tracy Circle to East Glendale Street
Special Project Howard Street  
Special Project Highway 194 Highway 421 to New Market Boulevard
Special Project Greenway Road Project Phase 1   Wilson Drive 
Special Project Greenway Road Project Phase II   Wilson Drive to Deck Hill Road
Special Project Greenway Road Project Phase III   Deck Hill Road to Meadowview Drive
Special Project Greenway Road Project Phase IV   Meadowview Drive to Pride Drive
In Progress Boone Heights Drive Blowing Rock Road to State Farm Road
In Progress Deerfield Road State Farm to Blairmont Road
In Progress Water Street/River Street   Completion of Water Street Sidewalks and Water Street to Moretz Stret
Completed   Highway 105 Studio West property to High School Drive
Completed   State Farm Road Boone Heights Drive to Shadowline Drive
Completed   Forest Hills Highway 421 to Appalachian Drive