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Update to Forsyth pedestrian/bicycling plan approved

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County has a new bicycle transportation and pedestrian walkways plan that is expected to last for a decade.

County commissioners voted 5-0 on Thursday to approve an update to the guide, which will add existing bike paths, sidewalks and multi-use trails through 2025.

Sameer Patharkar of Foresite Group, an engineering firm hired to help with the update, said the original plan dated back to 2002 and was last updated in 2008.

“These updates basically serve to keep up with the projects, to determine the effectiveness of the previous plan and identify new locations.”

The update relied on information from a mobile app used by runners and riders to monitor which facilities in the county were the most popular.

In somewhat of a surprise, cyclists interviewed in the study were opposed to bike lanes, which they said can become covered in debris, and preferred sharing the road with cars.

“It bothered me that this was supposed to have vision to it and we weren’t putting [bike] lanes even into the future, and I brought it up that with our bond and with our different things that we could do this,” said Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills. “I thought this would be what they would want, and I was floored.”

The new plan was the product of several county-organized meetings, though there was no public comment during Thursday.