Bike trail defender

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Editor, Smithfield Times

Based on comments from various citizens and elected officials, there are misconceptions about the park-to-park bike trail that should be corrected.

1. “The money for the trail could be better used for other purposes.” Most of the funding for the trail is from grants that would not be available for other projects. If the trail is not built, the money will go to other communities.

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2. “The trail will be just for recreation.” The county’s bike plan shows the trail as the first segment of a greater network that will eventually extend to Eagle Harbor and along the Route 17 and Route 10 corridors. Other communities that have built trail networks have found them functioning as supplemental transportation networks for commuting and running errands, not just for recreation. Examples can be found in northern Virginia.

3. “The South Church Street segment should be built as a sidewalk because it will see little bicycle traffic since it doesn’t continue through Windsor Castle Park or to Main Street.” Neighborhood streets are important feeder routes for the trail. Residents of Red Point Heights, Pagan Point, and Moonfield will likely find it safer to join the trail at Red Point Drive and South Church Street rather than face heavier traffic on John Rolfe Drive to reach the trail at Battery Park Road.

4. “The trail can be made narrower because bicyclists have skinny butts.” The trail is being designed based on state guidelines for two-way pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Everyone will be welcome to use the trail regardless of the size of his or her butt.

Greg Vassilakos