Local Stories

Franklin’s BikeWalk Plan Builds on Trail Connections

Franklin
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Dozens of ancient trails and trading paths converged on a fertile area of the Little Tennessee River flood plain near a natural ford that is now the modern-day Town of Franklin. For thousands of years, people have called this place home. As a designated Appalachian Trail Community and town on the Bartram Trail, Franklin has long supported recreational walking, hiking and biking. Now the town is taking those efforts a step further.

BikeWalk Franklin is an effort funded by the town and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to assist the community in making a stronger connection between the features of the community that make it more walkable and bike-friendly, while supporting the health of its current and future residents and visitors.

The first comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian master plan, its aim is the development of a network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities while providing a blueprint for transforming Franklin into a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly community. Accomplishing all of that, the town intends to improve connectivity in ways that are appropriate for specific corridors and intersections. BikeWalk Franklin builds upon existing plans, data and analysis, policy direction from various partners, significant public input, surveys, and dedicated involvement by bicycle and pedestrian advocates who continue to work with the local government and NCDOT to make sound transportation decisions that are inclusive of all modes of transportation.

Once a spiritual, political and trading center of the Cherokee, the area that today includes Franklin looks to build upon its past and its present. Main Street is home to both a healthy bicycle shop that supports local riding and to a major trail outfitter. State Bike Route #2 traverses North Carolina from east to west and passes through downtown Franklin. BikeWalk Franklin represents an opportunity to build on that strength and continue to make the town attractive to residents and tourists alike.