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Carolina Beach Council To Hear Input On Streetscape Project

Proposed layout for Cape Fear Blvd Cape Fear Blvd from 3rd Street west to Dow Road with a sidewalk on the north side and a 10' multi-use path on the south side with additional trees and lighting. This is one of several proposed plans to improve Cape Fear Blvd, 5th Street and Clarendon Avenue.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council will hear input on a proposed streetscape project on Clarendon Avenue, 5th Street and Cape Fear Blvd at their upcoming February 11th, meeting at 6:30PM at Town Hall.
Following replacement of aging underground water and sewer lines the Town plans to repave Cape Fear Blvd. From Canal Drive to 3rd Street on Cape Fear there will 10-foot wide sidewalks along either side of the road next to public parking. From 3rd Street to Dow Road on Cape Fear Blvd there will be a 10-foot wide asphalt multi-use path on the south side separated from the road by a 5 foot grass area, trees and additional lighting.
On Clarendon Avenue there will be a 10-foot multi-use asphalt path on the south side of the road from 4th Street to 6th Street. The path will switch to the north side of Clarendon Avenue from 6th Street to Dow Road because existing poles and landscaping are too close to the road and would cost to much to relocate. Also, Mike Chappel Park would increase costs if the path were located on the same side of the road and the park is located on Federal land.
On 5th Street from Clarendon north to Cape Fear Blvd, a new 5 foot wide sidewalk will be installed separated from the road by a small grass area.
The plan is part of a Town wide bike and pedestrian route to connect areas of Town such as the School, State Park, Downtown area and others. The plan also interconnects with a route south to Kure Beach.
According to Assistant Town Manager Ed Parvin, the Town has held four informal workshops to give the public opportunities to express concern about the upcoming infrastructure/streetscape upgrades planned for Cape Fear, Clarendon, and 5th Street. 
Parvin explained in January, "Planning for the streetscape was a vetted process that started with the development of the town’s 2011 Bicycle Multi-use Plan.  Implementation has become possible with the need to replace infrastructure in the oldest residential part of Carolina Beach.  Several options were reviewed by staff and the public over the last year. The chosen streetscape plan maximizes safety and efficiency of the roadway (creates a separation between pedestrians and vehicles) while minimizing impervious surfaces and impacts on neighbors (reduces recommendations of the 2011 Plan) and designed to maximize pervious space near property lines."
Parvin explained the 2011 Bicycle Multi-use Plan was based on public meetings and surveys.
The estimated costs for the streetscape project are:
Cape Fear Blvd & Lake Park Intersection: $64,000
Cape Fear Blvd:
- 10' walkways from Canal to 3rd: $330,000
- Multi-use path from 3rd to 6th: $150,000
- Actual street: $570,000
Total for Cape Fear Blvd: $1,050,000
Clarendon Ave from 4th Street to Dow Road:
- Multi-use path: $250,000
- Actual street: $335,000
Total: $585,000
Parvin said the path on Clarendon Avenue is going on the North Side of Clarendon in the vicinity of Mike Chappel Park to avoid removal of the exiting fencing, landscaping, and parking that are located on the park property. 
Parvin said the path on Clarendon would connect to a planned future extension of a multi-use path along Dow Road south to Kure Beach as part of the 2011 Bicycle Multi-use plan. The eastern end the path has several destinations to include the school, Carolina Beach Lake, downtown, and the ocean.
Parvin explained the path crosses Clarendon at 6th Street because properties west of 6th street on the south side of Clarendon have power poles, ditching and landscaping located in close vicinity to the street. In order to avoid excessive costs associated with moving these features the path was relocated to the north side of the street from 6th to Dow Road. To alleviate safety concerns and create traffic calming in this area a striped/elevated crosswalk will be located on Clarendon where the path crosses to the north side of the street.
Parvin explained the economic benefits in a memo to the Council last month. He explained, "Tourism is an important contributing financial factor to the town. And as with many resort destination towns, competition for tourist dollars is fierce. There is a striking correlation of tourist dollars associated with bicycle / multi-use paths, based on a document titled “The Economic Impact of Investments in Bicycle Facilities” by NCDOT in 2003. The study was conducted in the Outer Banks, and quantifiable data was extrapolated: Estimated annual expenditures for bicycle tourists based on 10,200 cyclists x $175 / day x 8.3 days / trip = $14.8 million. While the town will not see that number of annual cyclists, it is critical to note the correlation – cyclists can be a source of financial revenue if bicycle multi-use paths bring them to the area. In addition, the study determined that cyclists stay (in days) is longer if biking is involved, which further increases the tourist expenditure dollar amount. Lastly, the study compared the one-time costs of bicycle multi-use path construction to economic dollars. The ratio was 1:8; for every one dollar spent on bicycle multi-use path construction, eight dollars was earned annually. The town is a strategically located resort destination with close proximity to many popular Pleasure Island attractions, including Fort Fisher Historic Site, N.C. Aquarium and N.C. Ferry."
He explained, "Town of Carolina Beach Bicycle Multi-Use Transportation Plan Building bicycle multi-use paths will be a good investment for the town that will have a positive annual economic impact."
Parvin also explained bike trails promote health and will improve safety on Clarendon Avenue because of increased traffic when students arrive and depart nearby Carolina Beach Elementary School on a narrow street.
Parvin explained the project will not be paid for with grant funding. He explained, "Several  grants were reviewed for both the above and underground portions of the project.  Due to timing constraints with the need for the secondary force main grant money was not obtained.  The Town is looking at 5 phases of infrastructure/streetscape projects.  Although grants were not available for this phase others will hopefully be eligible for and receive funding."
He explained, "The Town will be getting a loan. One trip has already been made to the Local Government Commission (LGC) to evaluate the project and review the town’s financial position. Once the bids are completed the Town will submit a complete request package to the LGC for final approval.  The anticipated date for the loan to be put in place is April 2014.  No increases in taxes are proposed.  As different phases of the infrastructure project are funded the Town may have to look at fee adjustments."
He explained the yearly cost of the maintenance/repair for a multi-use path on Cape Fear Blvd would include mowing, edging walkway, trimming/edging tree rings, and other items and based on 20 visits per year it would cost $1470.00 additional per year paid to the Town's landscaping contractor. Tree Pruning will cost approximately $2450.00 per year.
On Clarendon, for mowing, edging walkway, trimming, etc, for 20 visits per year it would cost $924 additional per year.
He explained, "There will also be a monthly charge for path lighting. There are 24 path lights on Cape Fear and 12 on Clarendon." 
Parvin explained, "Existing driveways will be “saw cut” to install the new utilities and multi-use path. Once above and underground infrastructure is in place the driveway will be replaced from the road to the multi-use path with concrete.  The portion of the driveway from the multi-use path towards the property line will also be replaced with the same materials as the existing driveway."
He said the project will possibly remove trees in residents’ yards explaining, "We have conducted several workshops... so the neighbors can address concerns with staff.  In some instances your tree may be able to be saved by moving or rerouting the path around the tree.  In some instances the trees will have to be removed. Each tree can be reviewed on a case by case basis."
Parvin explained the paths will be asphalt and using concrete would add an additional $2 per square foot for "approximately $50,000 more, or $300,000."
He said property owners with irrigation systems in the Town's right-of-way should expect those irrigation lines to be removed from the path area and capped.
For mailboxes and associated landscaping, Parvin explained, "Mailboxes will be moved to the edge of the street.  If you have any features around your mailbox that you want to keep these should be removed prior to start of construction in front of your home."
The public will have another opportunity to voice their opinions on the project at the Council's February 11th, meeting at 6:30PM at Town Hall.

Top: Existing layout for Cape Fear Blvd from 3rd Street west to Dow Road. Bottom: Proposed layout with a sidwalk on the north side and a 10' multi-use path on the south side with additional trees and lighting.

Top: Existing layout for Cape Fear Blvd from Canal Drive to Lake Park and then to 3rd Street. Bottom: Proposed layout with 10' sidewalks on either side.

Top: Existing layout for Clarendon Avenue from 6th Street to Dow Road. Bottom: Proposed layout with a 10' wide multi-use path switching from the southside to the north side of the road.

Top: Existing layout for Clarendon Avenue from 4th Street to 6th Street. Bottom: Proposed layout with a 10' wide multi-use path on the south side of the street with additional trees.