More than 50 miles of connectivity could be added to Conway’s existing pathways and trails, according to the city’s drafted master plan.
The plan identifies potential areas within the city as well as connectivity to Horry County’s trail network.
City officials began working to create a master plan in January, followed by public input sessions and launching a survey to seek the community’s feedback. Survey results showed the public wanted to see more natural features, restroom facilities, better destinations to downtown, scenic views and a desire for recreational exercise.
“The Pathways and Trails Master Plan offers a vision in providing ways to improve connectivity and safety for pedestrians, bicyclist and even those on kayaks/canoes,” city spokesperson June Wood said in an email.
The city currently has 16 miles of trails and multi-use paths and four miles of blueways, according to the plan. Just over 54 more miles of trails and 15 miles of blueways are proposed in the plan. There are over 71 miles of “county-wide connectivity opportunities” from Conway’s city limits to Horry County destinations, according to the plan.
The plan notes that only roughly 1,300 residents – which is about 5% of city residents – live within a 10-minute walk of trail access points.
The draft identifies multiple different types of pathways and trails:
- Multi-use paved paths: These are pathways that are ideally separate from traffic and designed to connect destinations and sidewalks as well as road and waterway crossings.
- Shared-use paved paths: This type of paved path would go through parks and help connect trails.
- Gravel/natural surface trails: These types of trails are for walking and hiking as well as off-road biking and are designed to run through “natural environments.”
- Boardwalk and wetland trails: The plan defines this trail as “low-impact access to sensitive natural areas.”
- Blueway trails: This type of trail is specific to bodies of water for paddlers and non-motorized watercrafts.
There is not currently a timeline on these future projects as the plan is conceptual and identifies pathways and trails to be considered for future city budgets, Wood said.
Potential costs and broken into tiers, according to the plan.
“The plan recommends a staggered budgeting approach whereby higher-tier projects are budgeted at a higher per-mile cost and lower-tier projects at a lower per-mile cost,” Wood said. “The result will be an emphasis on funding high-quality pathways, trails and blueways within those corridors that are most important for building a system that serves residents equitably, while ensuring progress is made on the trail projects that are lower-priority but still critical for realizing city and county-wide connectivity.”
A public hearing for the plan was held during the city’s last council meeting, though nobody from the public spoke during that time.
The city has incorporated comments made earlier in the year from the public into the plan and city council is ready for a first reading, Wood said.
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