Cycling through Surry

Published 2:35 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2016

County may be key link on East Coast trail network

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

SURRY — Surry County took a step forward Monday in its quest to make bicycling and walking safe, as well as turning the county into a crucial link to the East Coast Greenway.

The Surry County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of its comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plan after more than 30 residents stood up in support of the project.

“We all want to be able to get out and walk safely in the towns,” said Surry District resident Betsy Shepard.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

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Cobham resident John Kunkle was the only resident to oppose the plan. He is opposed to the project due to the cost and purpose.

County roads need improvement before bicycle lanes are put in, he said after the meeting.

The plan, drawn up in coordination with the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Surry County Bicycle Advisory Committee, would include a variety of efforts to increase safety, promote a healthy community and provide connectivity to multiple roadways in Surry County and beyond for bicyclists and pedestrians.

It is a visionary document that will take time to implement, said Surry County Director of Planning Rhonda Russell.

The plan calls for adding sidewalks within the town centers of Surry, Dendron and Claremont, adding “Share the Road” signage on low volume roadways and constructing paved shoulders, shared use paths, multi-use trails and bicycle lanes. Also incorporated in the plan are bike loop routes.

The implementation spans 25 years and calls for adding “Share the Road” signs and completing sidewalk networks in the town centers over the next five years.

Long-range projects include adding bicycle lanes along Lebanon Road and from the town of Surry to the Surry County Recreation Center, as well as to the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry.

The cost ranges from $800 for each “Share the Road” sign to $1.5 million for an off-road shared use path.

Funding for the project is expected to come from state and federal monies, and some residents suggested the count y seek corporate support.

VDOT representative Eric Stringfield told the Planning Commission that his agency is interested in Surry County’s plan because it would connect the south side of the James River to a trail that will run from Jamestown to Fort Monroe.

The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry is also integral part of the East Coast Greenway, which makes Surry County a vital link in this bicycle path that runs from Maine to Key West, Florida, said Kristi Hendricks, who is a member of the Surry County Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Most of the East Coast Greenway is currently on-road, but the goal is to take it off-road.

Safe bicycle access in Surry County and onto the ferry also links the south side of the James River with the 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail that runs along Route 5 to Richmond, she said.

Other residents pointed out that making bicycling safer and more accessible would provide alternate methods of transportation in the county, as well as enhance tourism and economic development.

The plan now moves to another public hearing before the Surry Board of Supervisors.


Bike and pedestrian facilities defined:


•“Share the Road” — signage put along low volume roads at a cost of $800 per sign.

•Wide curb lane — Two feet of pavement in each direction at a cost of $540,000 per mile.

•Sidewalk — five feet of sidewalk on one side of the road at a cost of $540,000 per mile.

Paved shoulder — Four feet wide paved shoulder in both directions at a cost of $900,000 per mile.

•Bike lane — Four feet of pavement on both sides of the road at a cost of $930,000 per mile.

Share use path off road — 10 foot wide path at a cost of $1.5 million per mile.  {/mprestriction}