PEDESTRIAN, BICYCLE, & GREENWAY PLAN
The Town of Montreat recognizes the need to plan for an effective and safe bicycle, pedestrian, and greenways system as the Town continues to experience change and growth over time. A community that provides opportunities to walk to a park, jog down a meandering trail, or bicycle to work fosters and promotes a more livable town. Planning for a bikeable and walkable town while protecting open space and unique characteristics of an area strengthens a community and enriches its quality of life.
An interwoven network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities and greenways offers the benefits of providing alternate modes of transportation that can alleviate traffic congestion, maximize street volume capacity, encourage healthy living, create opportunities for outdoor recreation activities, and protect the natural environment.
This Plan is designed to provide guidance and a framework to implement the community’s desire to create a bikeable, walkable, and environmentally aware and active Town. This Plan is an element of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan adopted in April of 2008. The goals and strategies recommended in that planning process relative to the bicycle, pedestrian, and greenways system are echoed in this Plan. They reflect the desires of Montreat residents and community leaders to “improve mobility through a safe, efficient, and well-connected multi-modal transportation system designed to be sensitive to the surrounding land uses” as well as to “protect environmental assets, both for their ecological functions and as key elements of community character and livability.”
This Plan builds upon previous recommendations and implementation strategies found in the Montreat Comprehensive Plan of 2008, the Comprehensive Plan Alternatives of 2003 and the Montreat Tomorrow Committee Reports of 1984 and 1996. This Plan not only builds upon previous recommendations and implementation strategies but also improves the plans by refining recommended strategies and utilizing current best practices as well as the most recent design guidelines to more effectively implement the system.
This Plan also recognizes that each multi-modal facility and types of users are different. Various planning approaches and strategies will be required to address these differences and needs. The Town, however, also sees the value in planning for an interconnected system. An all-inclusive plan can help identify gaps in service that hinder connectivity and help present a complete vision and action plan for improving bicycling, walking, and the natural environment in which they interweave.
The Town of Montreat, with a population of approximately 730, comprises an area of approximately six square miles in Western North Carolina. The Town is best known as a national conference center for the Presbyterian Church (USA), which is managed by the Mountain Retreat Association (MRA), and for Montreat College, a small liberal arts institution. The Town accommodates 35,000 visitors each year, with an estimated 17,000 of those visitors during just ten weeks of the year.
The Town is surrounded by lush mountains and recreational opportunities abound. Montreat’s natural and architectural beauty, moderate climate, and the area’s strong job market and outstanding educational and health care facilities make it one of the most attractive locations in the United States. The Western North Carolina area is consistently ranked high among the best places to live, work and retire.
The area evaluated as a part of this Plan includes the Town limits and Extraterritorial Jurisdiction of Montreat. A portion of the Town’s southern municipal boundary is shared with the Town of Black Mountain. Opportunities to connect key access points between Montreat and Black Mountain were explored and considered as part of this Plan.