Town still looking at Lumar for trail route

Published 7:04 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2019

By Frederic Lee

Staff writer

Members of Smithfield Town Council want both sides of John Rolfe Drive and both sides of Lumar Road to be surveyed by engineering consultant Kimley-Horn before the town’s multipurpose trail is designed. 

The trail route that Town Council approved on Aug. 6 starts on the east side of the Cypress Creek Bridge, taking Red Point Drive to connect with the north side of Lumar Road, and then crosses John Rolfe Drive to take the east side of John Rolfe to connect with Battery Park Road. It would connect to Battery Park Road either by a manufactured crosswalk there or by way of Ransdell Lane and South Church Street.  

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Now, Town Council is backing away from that specific route, and both sides of Lumar Road and John Rolfe Drive are up for consideration, based on existing rights-of-way.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Town Attorney William Riddick said that there is some right of way along John Rolfe Drive and that there may be some along Lumar Road, and that surveying work on the sides of both roads should be followed by a discussion with staff about what amount of right of way exists before the town commissions a costly design.  

“I think we need to survey both sides of John Rolfe and both sides of Lumar and know exactly where we are and exactly what we’re dealing with” to figure costs, said Town Council member Wayne Hall, adding that, “Until we get that, we’re just guessing in the wind.”   

Smithfield Mayor Carter Williams and Town Council member Wayne Hall also argued for dual surveys on both roads. 

Town Council member Denise Tynes said that — while she liked the route that Town Council had approved since it was connected to Beale Park — an option along South Church Street would “kill two birds with one stone” by improving pedestrian access along that stretch and linking Windsor Castle Park to the trail on Battery Park Road.

Williams said that Town Council had already voted on the route and that if Town Council wanted to change it, they would have to have another vote to do so.

Tynes was not present at the Town Council meeting when the route was approved, and said that whenever possible, she likes to vote along with the majority whenever a public survey is connected. 

A town hall was conducted in July and, out of 98 votes, 65 selected a route that would run along the east side of South Church Street, either by a sidewalk (35) or a multipurpose asphalt trail (30). Thirteen residents voted for a Lumar Road/ John Rolfe Drive route.   

Kimley-Horn Project Manager Andrew Farthing said that a crosswalk from John Rolfe Drive to Battery Park Road would be less safe for trail users than a route that connected to the signalized crosswalk at South Church Street and Battery Park Road, and the construction of a crosswalk at John Rolfe would require additional road alterations on Battery Park Road.  

During public comments, Smithfield resident Greg Brown praised Town Council for moving forward with a bike and pedestrian trail, while fellow resident Virginia Soule argued for a sidewalk along South Church Street; “We’ve needed a sidewalk there forever.”

This portion of the Park-to-Park trail project, ongoing for more than 10 years, would connect Windsor Castle Park to the existing trail on Battery Park Road. The entire project aims to connect Smithfield’s Windsor Castle Park to Nike Park in Isle of Wight County, with other segments under the purview of the county.   {/mprestriction}