Lumar Road trail has problems

Published 6:12 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Obstacles include small lots

By Frederic Lee

Staff writer

Putting a bike and pedestrian trail along the north side of Lumar Road would cut too far into small yards, eat away at property owned by Smithfield Baptist and create a potentially unsafe road crossing, according to consultants. 

Those were just a few of many problems with the plan, approved recently by the Smithfield Town Council as it works to find an acceptable route for what is now called the Park-to-Park trail — to connect Nike Park with Windsor Castle Park and downtown Smithfield. 

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Kimley-Horn’s assessment was scheduled for discussion during the Town Council Public Works committee meeting on Aug. 27.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The proposed route runs from the Cypress Creek bridge to John Rolfe Drive along Red Point Lane and the north side Lumar Road, and then travels along the east side of John Rolfe Drive before connecting to Battery Park Road, crossing it to connect to an existing trail along the south side of Battery Park.

In terms of Lumar Road, construction challenges include a roadside ditch, utility poles and houses positioned close to the roadway, according to Kimley-Horn Project Manager Andrew Farthing.  

A house on Red Point Drive situated north of Lumar Road wouldn’t allow enough space for a shared use path to be constructed, according to Kimley-Horn Project Manager Andrew Farthing.  

In a letter written to Town Manager Brian Thrower, Farthing wrote, “The alignment of the shared use path along the north side of Lumar Road will most likely impact private property due to a location behind the existing ditch, encroach within a close distance of the existing houses, and most likely require relocation of existing utilities.”  

Multi-use trails come with VDOT-mandated spacing and offset requirements and can be constructed at a width of eighth or 10 feet. An 8-foot wide trail requires a waiver from VDOT, according to Thrower.  

Farthing added, “A shared use path alternative along the north side of Lumar Road will most likely encroach onto the church property.” Smithfield Baptist Church is located along the north side of Lumar Road off Wainwright Drive. 

A trail that runs along the east side of Red Point Drive would be less of a challenge than one on the west side due to an elevation drop off there, according to Farthing. 

Farthing also stated that placing a signalized crosswalk at John Rolfe Drive and Battery Park Road would be a challenge since VDOT’s minimum distance between signalized intersections on the road is 660 feet. The distance between South Church Street and John Rolfe Drive is 375 feet, according to Farthing. 

Farthing said that crosswalk pavement markings and a pedestrian-activated flashing beacon could be constructed in lieu of a signalized crossing, but that it would be less safe. 

A crosswalk at John Rolfe Drive would require the right in/right out entrance into Royal Farms to be removed, according to Farthing. 

Farthing noted that Kimley-Horn’s initial report used the existing signalized crossing at South Church Street and Battery Park Road to cross the street.    

At the time Town Council approved the trail, Council member Randy Pack suggested the trail take the South Church Street and Battery Park Road intersection instead of crossing Battery Park Road at John Rolfe Drive, for safety reasons. 

The next step is for Kimley-Horn to survey the area of the route and present a preliminary design which, according to a memo from Thrower, “will give the Town a better idea of the actual amount of right of way required to complete the project and provide a better estimate of project costs.”

The route selection occurred following a Smithfield town hall where residents voted on one of five trail options through town, or none at all. The trail that Town Council later approved was a variation of Alternative 2 — which received 13 votes out of 98 counted and came in third place in terms of votes. 

The cost estimate for that version of the route was $2.8 million, according to Kimley-Horn documents. 

The other two routes both ran directly down South Church Street from the Cypress Creek Bridge to Battery Park Road, one proposed as a sidewalk, the other as a multiuse asphalt path. They received 35 and 30 votes, respectively. 

The trail is one of three segments of the “Park-To-Park” trail project that’s been ongoing for over 10 years. The other segments are under the purview of Isle of Wight County and, once complete, the trail would connect Windsor Castle Park to Nike Park.  {/mprestriction}