Flowery Branch City Council approved hiring Pond & Co. Thursday night to make the area more bicycle friendly.
The architectural, engineering and planning firm will update the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.
Flowery Branch is the city closest to two developing off-grade multiuse pathways, along Lanier Islands Parkway/Friendship Road and Spout Springs Road. The pathway along Lanier Islands Parkway/Friendship Road is currently under development as the roadway is expanded and extended from Lake Lanier Islands to Braselton.
“The idea, at least for Flowery Branch,” said City Manager Bill Andrew, is to offer connectivity between area schools, the Sterling on the Lake subdivision, the 48-acre Williams Mill green space and the future 100-acre Cherokee Bluffs park on Blackjack Road.
According to Andrew, the developer of Sterling on the Lake, Newland Communities, has expressed interest in creating a link between the two pathway corridors. The subdivision is between both roadways.
Additionally, the city will focus on connecting to Oakwood and the railroad tracks near the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus. Ultimately, said Andrew, connectivity from Gwinnett through Gainesville to Northeast Georgia could be possible.
The MPO requested that Flowery Branch hire Pond & Co. due to the amount of transportation work the firm has undertaken on behalf of both Flowery Branch and Gainesville. Flowery Branch has taken the lead because it is near the area needing an update.
“We felt it was a great opportunity to promote connectivity,” said Andrew. “They’re very familiar with our downtown, and they’re doing our redevelopment plan.”
An update to the existing plan is expected to cost $50,000, with $40,000 contributed by the MPO, and the balance paid by additional cities that have expressed interest in linking their cities through a multiuse pathway system.
Braselton, Buford, Clermont, Flowery Branch, Gainesville, Gillsville, Lula and Oakwood city officials have all given the go-ahead to split the $10,000 contribution. Flowery Branch would bill the other cities, said Andrew.
“Literally, in about two days, they all agreed. Everyone seems very excited to be moving forward on this project.”
The existing bicycle and pedestrian plan was adopted in 2006 and, with development underway, needs an update.
In order to have a better chance to access funding, Andrew, said, “The state needs to be shown logical (ends); a study would very much strengthen an application.“