>> Transylvania

Watch for Me NC in Transylvania

  • Watch for Me NC participant since: 2016
  • Population: 33,000
  • Lead agency: Transylvania County Planning Department

Background
Transylvania County, also known as the ‘Land of Waterfalls,’ is located in the scenic mountains of Western North Carolina. With the Blue Ridge Mountains as its backdrop, and with access to miles of hiking and biking trails in the Pisgah National Forest, DuPont Forest and Gorges State Park, the county proudly promotes its dynamic outdoor tourism industry. The region plays host to multiple well-known bike races such as the Assault on the Carolinas, Pisgah Stage Bike Race, and the Fletcher Flyer. The county is also home to numerous professional and amateur cyclists who are drawn to the area for the climate and excellent riding. The county seat of Brevard has worked hard to promote safe sidewalks and bicycle trails throughout the city and, three years ago, opened a new hiking and mountain biking trail network called Bracken Mountain.

Partnerships
Transylvania County’s Planning Department pulled together a number of organizations to assist with the Watch for Me NC campaign. The City of Brevard’s Police Department has been a great advocate for the program and the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club has worked hard to educate the public. Other Watch for Me NC partners include:

  • Brevard College
  • Blue Ridge Bicycle Club
  • City of Brevard
  • Friends of Ecusta Trail
  • Land of Sky Regional Council
  • Transylvania County Health Department,
  • Transylvania County Parks and Recreation Department
  • Transylvania County Sheriff’s Department

Education and Enforcement Activities
Watch for Me NC materials were distributed to insurance companies, displayed at local bike shops and outfitters, and made available at Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Area, and Gorges State Park. Children and young adults in Transylvania County received information at elementary schools and summer camps.

Transylvania County kicked off their Watch for Me NC campaign at a Fourth of July festival, where thousands of locals and visitors received program materials. Staff were also on hand with a public safety booth at the Oscar Blues Festival in late July. The county worked to introduce the goals of Watch for Me NC to both the area’s diverse rural and municipal enforcement agencies, and spent time communicating with the county Transportation Advisory Board and to the regions’ Safe Routes to School coordinator.

Key Outcomes
Watch for Me NC billboards created a buzz around Transylvania County. Officials also took an innovative approach to spreading the word about safety by pressure washing stencils into the sidewalk of US 64. Awareness about bicycle and pedestrian safety issues were raised in the county due to staff interviews on WSQL and press releases. Two targeted enforcement campaigns were held in the latter part of the 2016.

Lessons Learned
Transylvania County’s Planning and Community Development Department serves urban and rural areas. These different communities have diverse sets of problems that need specific targeting and varying degrees of available resources. County officials feel that Watch for Me NC could work well in tandem with a new bicycle and/or pedestrian plan.

Credit
Thank you to Mark Burrows of the Transylvania Planning Department for providing leadership, time, and expertise that contributed to the Watch for Me NC Campaign in Transylvania County and the writing of this profile.