Park to Park bike trail construction next year

Published 1:48 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2016

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

With the last of the property acquisitions having been settled for the Nike Park bike and pedestrian trail, also known as the Park-to-Park trail, Isle of Wight plans to put the project out for construction bids by the beginning of the year, according to Isle of Wight County Project Manager Jamie Oliver.

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The trail will run from Carrollton Nike Park to the intersection of Battery Park Road and South Church Street. The Smithfield Town Council has yet to decide if and where to put the remaining piece of the project, which would connect the portion at the Battery Park and S. Church intersection to Windsor Castle Park.

The Nike Park trail has been in the works since 2006, when Isle of Wight County approved its bicycle and pedestrian plan, followed by an update in 2009. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Another update to the bike is expected when the county revises its comprehensive plan, which is coming up, Oliver said.

However, the project has generated a good deal of controversy in the community, from ardent supporters to those who believe it’s too expensive.

The Park-to-Park trail, while the most expensive at an estimated cost of $7 million, is part of several alternative transportation projects being implemented in the county as part of the bike and pedestrian plan.

Projects already implemented in Isle of Wight County include erecting “Share the Road” signs along popular cycling routes, such as Mill Swamp Road, and the 1.4-mile sidewalk that runs along North Court Street and Route 258 in Windsor.

The town of Windsor is also in the midst of two other sidewalk projects on Church Street and from Shirley Drive to Holland Drive, said Town Manager Michael Stallings.

In Smithfield, plans are underway to fill in gaps between where the sidewalk ends on Main Street by the Schoolhouse Museum, across Route 10 to the sidewalk at Powerhouse Equipment, as well as a sidewalk along Great Spring road to connect the Quail Street neighborhood to Main Street, said Oliver.  

When those Smithfield projects are completed, and if the town council completes its portion of the Nike Park trail, it will be possible to walk or ride a bicycle from the proposed Joseph W. Luter Jr. sports complex to Nike Park, said Oliver.

There is some resistance on the council to run the path along South Church Street for fear of taking away from businesses parking areas.  

Meanwhile, plans are already underway to promote further connectivity between Smithfield and Isle of Wight County.

Paved shoulders are recommended in the future for the Route 10 bypass, Route 258 and Route 58, according to Isle of Wight’s bike and pedestrian plan.

As VDOT continues to widen Nike Park Road and connect it to Route 17, multi-use paths are part of the plan. Earlier this year, the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved plans to connect Nike Park Road with Route 17 and it includes adding a multi-use path.

Ultimately, off-road multi-use paths will be constructed on both sides of Route 17 as part of Isle of Wight County’s Route 17 master plan, which was adopted in 2007, Oliver said.  

One effort to increase bike and pedestrian access along Route 17 has met with resistance from business owners.

Isle of Wight County has required new businesses along Route 17 to construct bike and pedestrian paths along with the other property improvements. But not all businesses were located next to other new businesses or residential property undergoing the same requirements, causing complaints of having to build “a bike path to nowhere.”

As a result, the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors now allows business owners to either build the path or contribute to a fund that could later be used to connect the paths as development progresses.

Developers of the last several projects have opted to build the path themselves because it is cheaper and faster than the other option, said Isle of Wight interim Director of Planning and Zoning Richard Rudnicki.

Over time a complete network will be developed or only small gaps will remain which the county could focus on, he said.

Creating a series of multi-use paths connecting residential areas to shopping and work centers and schools is part of VDOT’s State Bicycle Policy Plan.

Part of that plan includes retrofitting roadways to accommodate bicyclists, as that mode of transportation creates no emissions, as well as little impact on infrastructure.

To view Isle of Wight County’s bike and pedestrian plan, visit Click on county offices, planning and zoning, long range planning and transportation planning.


 Carrollton Civic League to discuss bike trail 

The Carrollton Civic League plans to make the Nike Park bike trail, or Park-to-Park trail, a topic of discussion at its meeting Monday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. at Sentara St. Luke’s conference room. Invited guests include Isle of Wight County Project Manager Jamie Oliver, who is overseeing the project. The public is invited to attend. For more information, call 613-6183