Three-day workshop to focus on future of five lane


Starting Tuesday and concluding Thursday, the Marion Community Building will host an interactive planning session about North Main Street or the five lane. This event will involve citizens, designers and others to collaborate on a vision for development, according to Heather Cotton, the city’s planning director.

For three evenings this week, officials from the city of Marion, the N.C. Department of Transportation will seek the public’s input about the future of North Main Street, which many still call the five lane.

Starting Tuesday and concluding Thursday, the Marion Community Building will host a charrette about this important corridor in the city. A charrette is “an interactive planning session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development,” according to Heather Cotton, the city’s planning director.

The city of Marion, Isothermal Rural Planning Organization (RPO) and state DOT in partnership with Alta Planning & Design, are developing a corridor study that will focus on enhancing the North Main Street corridor for all modes of transportation, and support the extension of the Fonta Flora State Trail from downtown Marion to the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway, according to a news release.

Through public involvement, this team will identify and prioritize complete street enhancements for areas of concern, including concepts for safer intersections; motorist, pedestrian, and bicycle access to businesses; and overall multi-modal connectivity. This project will consider enhancements that will balance the corridor for multiple modes of travel and promote a healthy, vibrant, and safe community. The community is invited to participate in this interactive workshop that will identify connectivity and streetscape improvements, according to the news release.

All of the workshops are open to the public and will be held at the Marion Community Building over the course of three days, Tuesday through Thursday. The schedule is as follows:

• Tuesday: 6-7:30 p.m. project introduction/background presentation

• Wednesday: 10 a.m. to noon design studio and 5-6:30 p.m. design pin-up session.

• Thursday: 10 a.m. to noon design studio and 4-5:30 p.m. work-in-progress presentation.

Cotton said she hopes the public will share their thoughts with planning staff. One of the topics to be discussed is how can we improve connectivity between downtown Marion, businesses along North Main Street and the Catawba River greenway. Another topic will be the balancing of safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. Improving businesses and economic development along the corridor will also be addressed and how connections to destinations can be made smoother.

“The design workshop will include an overview presentation about the project and existing conditions, interactive exercises to collect ideas for plan recommendations, and opportunities to talk with planning staff and project team members about your ideas to improve walking, biking, and driving on the North Main Street corridor,” said Cotton.

For more information, contact Planning Director Heather Cotton at

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