Comprehensive Plan Consultant: Prioritize Cycling, Walking – Smithfield Times
Construct continuous sidewalks throughout the Town of Smithfield and provide, as a minimum, a painted cycle path along all city-maintained roads.
These are among the Summit Design and Engineering suggestions included in its July 13 report on the vision, goals, objectives and strategies for Smithfield as a way to reduce traffic congestion in the city. The report is intended to guide the City Planning Commission in the process of revising its comprehensive plan, which was last updated in 2009.
Summit, which the city retained as a consultant for the process, began surveying residents in May with the aim of providing data to commissioners. According to the report, a number of residents interviewed raised traffic congestion as a concern.
“In order to reduce traffic, local trips by car must be reduced,” the report said. “Fortunately, much of the city is accessible on foot and by bicycle, which brings great benefits to the health of the community and the local economy. “
Locating new public parking lots on the outskirts of the city center or in the South Church Street area and “prioritizing” bicycles and pedestrians can make “driving in the city easier too”.
The report further recommends that Smithfield “avoid projects that widen existing roads,” redevelop the “freeway-facing” South Church Street corridor to more closely resemble historic Smithfield and St. consider the feasibility of a bus or water taxi service.
“We have clearly heard comments from the public that the city values the small town atmosphere, the pedestrianized nature of the historic district and that people want more food and retail options and less traffic jams.” said Tammie, director of community development and planning for Smithfield. Claire. “In order to ensure that there will be more of what people love about Smithfield in the future, the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance should allow for this type of development, which will provide this environment.”
Of the 454 responses to the survey, 91 expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of recycling services in town, Clary said. The city removed its recycling contract with Bay Disposal from its 2020-2021 budget, which caused curbside collection to stop earlier this year.
There is also a recommendation to expand access to the Pagan River “for swimming, wading or other activities”.
“A greater connection to the water could inspire a larger part of the community to care about the quality of the water, as well as providing a great place to cool off and create memories related to the city’s river. The report says.
On land use, “we’ve heard both an interest in big box retailing and concerns about big box retail,” Clary said. As such, the Summit report suggests that all big box stores, if approved, use their “street style” storefronts.
“A number of localities are requiring chain stores to fit into their desired development model rather than using the large parking lot, the suburban model,” Clary said.
The report further recommends that the city remove or change its floor access ratio requirements to allow for “more creative building design.”
The Ground Access Ratio, or FAR, explained Clary, is the ratio of the square footage of a proposed building to the square footage of the entire plot. For example, a FAR of 1 would mean a one-story building covering the entire plot or a four-story building covering a quarter.
“It’s a tool that has been used to guide the development of low density suburbs that still exists in many zoning ordinances,” Clary said.
The full Summit Report can be downloaded from the Full City Plan website at tinyurl.com/3ym4w3ua.
“These recommendations are a draft conglomerate of citizen feedback and input, which will be reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission, and are subject to change,” Clary said.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold its first full plan update working session at 6:30 p.m. on August 25 in the City Council Chamber of the Smithfield Center.