Cars seen driving on trail

Published 7:42 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2020

By Diana McFarland


It’s not just bicycles and pedestrians using the new Park-to-Park trail. Vehicles have been seen parking or driving on both sections of the trail along Nike Park and Battery Park roads.

“I never would have thought people sitting in a driveway would think that was the road,” said Transportation Manager Jamie Oliver about mistaking the trail for Nike or Battery Park roads.

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There are driveways crossing the trail throughout its length, and those are for businesses, churches, farms and individual property owners to access their property. 

The county is considering putting up signs or stenciling on the driveways to better distinguish between the trail and the actual roadways, said Oliver at Thursday’s Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors annual organizational meeting and worksession. 

Oliver said the county is working with the Smithfield Police and Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office to educate motorists about the trail and the driveways. 

If someone parks on a driveway or off to the side on private property, that’s trespassing, said Oliver, adding that law enforcement still considers it an educational period. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Bicyclists and pedestrians are also urged not to use the section along Nike Park Road as it is still an active construction site, said Oliver. 

Section 1, which runs along Battery Park Road, was completed last year at $150,000 under budget, said Oliver.

Section 2, which runs along Nike Park Road is on budget and construction is scheduled for completion in June, said Oliver. 

The entire cost for the county’s portion of the project is $8.1 million, with $3.1 million coming from Isle of Wight. 

The long-range goal is to have a bike and pedestrian trail from Route 17 all the way to the Joseph W. Luter Jr. sports complex on the west side of Smithfield, said Oliver, adding that Jan. 2 was the first time this concept has been publicly presented. 

The Nike Park extension, which connects Route 17 with Reynolds Drive, comes with a bike and pedestrian trail as part of the plan. The extension will be administered by VDOT and construction is expected to begin in 2024. 

That will leave a trail gap on Nike Park Road that can be filled in to connect to the Park-to-Park trail at Carrollton Nike Park, said Oliver.

Meanwhile, the county is also constructing a sidewalk from Grace Street in downtown Smithfield to connect to the sports complex. 

The final portion, to connect the Park-to-Park trail from Battery Park Road to downtown Smithfield is in the purview of the Smithfield Town Council, which is still investigating its options. 

Preliminary cost estimates have put that at $2 to $3 million.