Surry OKs bike, pedestrian plan

Published 12:33 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2016

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

SURRY — The Surry Board of Supervisors approved its comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plan Thursday with a 4-1 vote.

Surry District Supervisor John Seward cast the only dissenting vote.

Seward feared that adding the expense of bike and pedestrian facilities could negatively impact future roads projects in the county. He also doesn’t understand how VDOT sanctions a “sport” on highways.

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VDOT representative Eric Stringfield told the Board that there is no separate pot of money for bike lanes and vehicle lanes, but there is some flexibility when it comes to actual implementation.

The plan includes options ranging from “share the road” signs to separate bike lanes, each with an increasing level of cost. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

VDOT representative Ray Hunt said the Board was voting on whether or not it wants the bike and pedestrian facilities, but the Board also has the ability to limit those accommodations.

Claremont District Supervisor Giron Wooden Sr. said roads in his district need repair and would opt for those being completed before bike and pedestrian facilities are added.

Dendron District Supervisor Michael Drewry said the plan helps promote the county.

“It’s nice to see a plan in place,” he said.

Kristi Hendricks, who had worked on developing the plan, said the economic benefit in other localities that have bike and pedestrian facilities in terms of tourism are “astounding.”

Bicycling is also a cost effective mode of transportation in a low-income, rural community, she added.

Stringfield said that as the 52-mile Capital Trail is expanded, Surry County would be part of that plan.  

The Capital Trail runs along Route 5 from Richmond to Williamsburg.

Dendron resident Helen Eggleston was concerned about the cost, but did acknowledge that bicyclist safety was an issue under the current conditions.

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.

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.  {/mprestriction}