>> Cornelius

Watch for Me NC in Cornelius

  • Watch for Me NC participant since: 2017
  • Population: 30,000
  • Lead agency: Cornelius Police Department


Located in Mecklenburg County on the banks of Lake Norman, Cornelius is a vibrant, active community working to increase safety and comfort for bicyclists and pedestrians. Adopted pedestrian and bicycle master plans lay out strategies to improve infrastructure and network connectivity for people walking and bicycling throughout town. Featuring ten public parks, miles of lakeside property and a recently completed greenway trail through town, Cornelius is prioritizing multimodal transportation to enhance livability and promote quality of life.


Cornelius’ Watch for Me NC program is implemented by the Cornelius Police Department with support from planning staff at the Town. These agencies’ efforts receive support from the Mecklenburg County Health Department, and Region 5 Active Routes to School. Local cycling clubs such as the Rocky River Road Club got involved by sharing materials at community events. Cornelius also collaborated with law enforcement from the neighboring town of Davidson, and the two communities now assist each other with enforcement activities.

Education and Enforcement Activities

Cornelius was able to distribute reflective arm bands and literature at many community events such as bike rodeos, in tandem with local supporting partners. Enforcement took place primarily in the downtown area and around a greenway crosswalk near the Red Neuse River. The Mayor and members of City Council participated in Walk to School Day festivities at which Watch for Me NC materials were handed out.

Key Outcomes

Work on Watch for Me NC brought a speed limit issue to the attention of the Cornelius Police Department, and the limit near a particular crosswalk was lowered from 45 mph to 25 mph within weeks of beginning the program. The Town has also found that the public have embraced the message, and many have taken it upon themselves to reach out to enforcement officers regarding driver yielding behavior. Collaboration with the nearby Town of Davidson has improved bicyclist and pedestrian safety between the two communities.

Lessons Learned

  • The Watch for Me NC program has helped shine a light on unsafe behavior in areas with higher concentrations of pedestrian traffic and has led the Town of Cornelius to investigate where infrastructure improvements can be made.
  • Partnerships proved essential for the Town of Cornelius, and having the organizations on board prior to launching the program is important.


Thank you to Sergeant Sarver, of the Town of Cornelius Traffic Safety Unit and Will Washam, Town of Cornelius Planning Department for providing leadership, time, and expertise that contributed to the Watch for Me NC Campaign in Cornelius and the writing of this profile.