VDOT gives town ’til Dec. 1 to vote on bike trail

Published 12:52 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2016

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

VDOT has given Smithfield until Dec. 1 to reach a decision on its proposed Park-to-Park bike and pedestrian trail.

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With the deadline established, the details of the proposed path are set to be hashed out at Smithfield Town Council committee meetings later this month.

Discussion of the anticipated bike and pedestrian path, which would run from Royal Farms to the Cypress Creek Bridge, has been ongoing since 2006. Isle of Wight County is now in the process of finalizing its contract, and there was some confusion at a recent Town Council meeting as to how long Smithfield still has to submit a proposal for its trail and remain on the county’s contract.  

“If we are going to try to tag along with the county’s contract … we need to decide and talk about proceeding with some kind of direction,” said Council member Milton Cook. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Town Manager Peter Stephenson told the council that as far as VDOT was concerned, the town had until Dec. 1 to submit a final decision.

There remains plenty to still be decided upon by the town, including the shape, size and location of the trail, whether it would be a sidewalk or a multi-use path, asphalt or concrete.

The council requested a diagram of the path from design and consulting firm Kimley-Horn, but the image presented at the meeting was too small for council members to see clearly.

“We would like to see what the different sizes, widths would look like on the street,” Cook said.

A zoomed-in image of the proposed path will be presented at the next committee meetings, according to a Kimley-Horn representative.

Another concern brought up was whether curb and gutters were going to be implemented into the trail.

Cook requested that the town investigate whether it could possibly reach out to the county for the use of storm water fees for the project before the next committee meeting.

 “If we’re going to be putting in curb and gutter…. we can tap into some of that money,” Cook said.

The funding for the $7.3 million bike trail project is a combination of VDOT transportation grants and funding from Isle of Wight County as well as the town of Smithfield.

Isle of Wight County’s portion of the Park-to-Park bike and pedestrian trail runs from Nike Park in Carrollton along Nike Park and Battery Park roads to the intersection of Battery Park Road and South Church Street. The county has completed its property acquisitions and plans to put the project out for construction bids by the beginning of next year.

If Smithfield decides to complete its portion, it will be possible to ride a bicycle or walk along a designated trail from Nike Park to Windsor Castle Park and downtown Smithfield. With additional projects planned to fill in gaps along the western end of Main Street, the bike and pedestrian capacity will extend to the proposed Joseph W. Luter Jr. sports complex. 

The Smithfield Town Council committee meetings will be held Oct. 24 and 25 at 4 p.m. in The Smithfield Center.  {/mprestriction}