>> Forest City

Watch for Me NC in Forest City

  • Watch for Me NC participant since: 2018
  • Population: 7,210
  • Lead agency: Forest City Police Department

Forest City is in Rutherford County and has 5.1 miles of the new Thermal Belt Rail Trail system, an old railroad track transformed into a 12-foot-wide paved walkway, within the town limits. The trail has attracted many new users, and the main issues have been developing trailheads and safe crossings for pedestrians and bicyclists at existing trafficways. Forest City has demonstrated continued commitment to improved pedestrian and bicyclist safety and will use Watch for Me NC to increase education for this increasing population.

The Forest City Police Department leads Watch for Me NC efforts has collaborates with other local and regional agencies such as the Town of Forest City Department of Downtown and Community Development, Puzzle Creek Outdoor Authority, Forest City Housing Authority, Town of Forest City Planning Department, and Safe Kids NC Rutherford County.

Education and Enforcement Activities
Forest City continues to improve safety for all road users through several education and enforcement events. The Forest City Police Department develops programming with the local government and Safe Kids Coalition plan to focus on youth safety and education. Watch for Me NC materials are distributed at their bicycle helmet distribution and bicycle safety education event. Enforcement operations were also coordinated to involve the new trail. Forest City Watch for Me NC has participated in local events including the National Night on Main Street. To reach a broader audience, Forest City Police Department has utilized social media to disseminate the Watch for Me NC messages through posts on Facebook.

Key Outcomes

  • Strengthening the partnership between the Forest City Police Department, Safe Kids NC, and local schools
  • Educating the community on the socioeconomic benefits of improved traffic safety

Lessons Learned
Forest City started the program due to expanding recreational opportunities and increased users. Being proactive about pedestrian and bicyclist safety in face of community changes helped foster a greater awareness of safety.