North Carolina’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative – Call for Applications

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North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative is accepting applications through November 2nd.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative was established by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Division of NCDOT in 2004. Amid desire for stronger multi-modal transportation choices, and more walkable and bike-friendly communities, the Initiative was formed to encourage municipalities to develop comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian transportation plans by matching state and federal resources with local dollars. To date, approximately $5.5 million in state funds has been used to support the development of 193 plans. In the past ten years, 123 plans have been adopted, with 500 projects within these plans submitted for funding consideration in the State Transportation Improvement Program. Additionally, a recent study completed by NCDOT identified 1,005 bicycle and pedestrian projects that have been completed in 83 communities that stem from adopted plans that were funded by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative. Plans usually include infrastructure investments including crosswalks, pedestrian signals, sidewalk improvements or repairs, bicycle lanes, etc., but often also include policy components to encourage multi-modal transportation and promote pedestrian and cyclist safety. 

Examples of completed plans include:

  • the City of Marion, which received $32,000 in 2014 to develop a bicycle master plan. The investment has resulted in $2 million in bicycle infrastructure investments. The plan emphasizes a long-term goal of creating a bicycle network that links key destinations in Marion through a variety of facilities including trails, sidepaths, and buffered bike lanes.
  • the City of Charlotte, which received $75,000 in 2005 that led to an adopted bicycle plan in 2007 that supported the implementation of 26 road diets along 11.6 miles of roadway, and 25 additional miles planned for the future. Long-term plan components include development of a stronger bicycle network with a range of facilities throughout the city, and development of the greenway trail system.
  • the Town of Duck, which received $24,800 to develop a pedestrian plan in 2012 that has resulted in $3 million in pedestrian infrastructure investments. Future priorities from the plan include intersection improvements, sidewalk installations, pedestrian level lighting improvements, and drainage enhancements.

Funding for 2019 allocations is approximately $450,000. Municipalities across the state of any size are encouraged to apply, and the grant structure is adjusted and scaled to match the needs and capacity of municipalities of various sizes. Though the program generally grants funds for development of either a bicycle or a pedestrian plan, communities with fewer than 10,000 residents can apply to develop combined bicycle and pedestrian plans. Communities with fewer than 5,000 residents can apply for Project Acceleration Plans, which are new to the 2019 funding cycle. The Project Acceleration Plans are designed to identify a select number of project priorities specific to the needs of small towns, and within the capacity of smaller communities with more limited resources. These plans will likely be tailored to particular corridors in the community rather than being comprehensive in nature. Counties with populations of less than 50,000 may also apply on behalf of incorporated communities or unincorporated areas within their jurisdiction.

Municipalities selected for a grant must provide matching cash contributions based on a sliding scale (see table below), dependent on the size of the municipality. Communities of less than 10,000 residents require only 10% local contribution to the cost of the plan, while municipalities over 100,000 residents must match 50% of the funds offered by the grant. Local match dollars must be a cash contribution, which cannot come from any other allocation of NCDOT state or federal funds provided to the municipality.

To learn more about the application process and find additional information about the program, eligibility, plan criteria, etc., find links to additional resources, below:

  • The grant application can be found here, and the application for the Project Acceleration Plans can be found here.
  • Full application instructions can be found here.
  • Past awards and the plans that have been produced with grant funding are available online.
  • The applications process considers need, project scope, level of local support, and geographic distribution of potential awards.
  • Applications must be submitted electronically via email by 5 p.m., Friday, November 2nd, to
  • An informational webinar is scheduled for Thursday, September 20th, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. that will offer a program overview and application guidance. Additional information can be found here
  • Additional questions about the program or the application process are directed to Bryan Lopez, 919-707-2606 or

Amelie Bailey is a Master’s candidate in the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of City and Regional Planning and a Community Revitalization Fellow with Development Finance Initiative. 


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