What: The East Boone Connector is a proposed protected bike and pedestrian path along the new Bamboo/Wilson Ridge NCDOT road improvement project. The path will be protected by a curb and separate from the road portion (see diagram.) The NCDOT will start construction on the road widening portion in 2020/21. The East Boone Connector addition would be the first planned, engineered, safe multi-modal corridor in Watauga County, for the fastest growing part of the county.
Where: The NCDOT project is a $9 million, 3 year construction project to widen Bamboo Road and Wilson’s Ridge Rd. from Hwy. 421 to Deerfield Rd. The East Boone Connector will run parallel to the road project from Highway 421 to Wilson’s Ridge (only) and provide protected space for cyclists and pedestrians. After Harmony Lanes’ campaign to raise public interest and support for the EBC to be added to the project, the NCDOT modified their plan to include it in July 2019. Local communities have an opportunity to get the East Boone Connector built for only 30% of the project cost, the NCDOT will pay the rest.
Why: The original NCDOT plan had no bike lanes or sidewalks included. East Boone is starting to boom now and will continue to grow in the next 5-20 years.
Several factors are drastically increasing bike and pedestrian traffic in this area now and for the next 5-10 years:
- The Hospitality House (a 24-hour homeless shelter serving 7 counties,) the Community Care Clinic (low-cost health services,) Health and Hunger Coalition (food pantry,) Center 45 climbing gym, Hatchet Coffee, and other services at Brook Hollow Rd. are attracting a diverse clientele who walk and bike by preference or necessity. There are no sidewalks or other accommodations for pedestrians or cyclists in this busy and dangerous corridor. Harmony Lanes believes anyone who needs or wants to walk or bike this corridor should be able to do so with dignity.
- The planned Town of Boone complex and greenspace/greenway connections next to Brookshire park are creating a new facility that was 3 separate locations previously. This will vastly increase vehicular and pedestrian/bike traffic to this area.
- Eastward Expansion of the Town of Boone into this area:
- BooneShine brewery opened in Summer 2019.
- Several large commercial tracts are for sale near the future Town complex which will become student apartments or other commercial developments in the future.
- Town of Boone skate park under construction now and future greenway extension at sewer plant will increase bike/ped/skate traffic.
- The Grove Street Connector -funded greenway extension from Perkinsville to Brookshire Park, starting construction in 2025, will also increase bike/ped traffic, tying in the Hardin Park and high school area to Brookshire Park via the greenway.
- ASU Beaver Health Sciences Building/Hospital growth are creating a new population center at Deerfield Rd.
- The Watauga County Recreation Center under construction at Hunting Hills Lane will be another destination East Boone residents/visitors will want to access.
*All of this new growth is going to create demand for new housing complexes in East Boone. There will be significant growth in people wanting to live in this area.
Who: Harmony Lanes is a local non-profit formed to fulfill our mission: “Create safe, inclusive multi-modal infrastructure.” Check us out at www.harmonylanes.org.