Harrisonburg approves updated bike and pedestrian plan

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — With an ever-growing population, the Valley’s largest city is pushing forward with a plan to be more “people” friendly.

Harrisonburg leaders approved a bike and pedestrian plan during their regular meeting Tuesday night, updating the previous one from 2010.

“Citizens have been asking for this kind of improvement for years and years,” said Erin Yancey with the Public Works Department.

The plan provides recommendations for future sidewalks, bike lanes and share use paths in the city.

“This is a long term plan, so it’s very gradual. We have different ways of implementing the projects,” said Yancey.

The construction will be paid for from general funds, VDOT’s Revenue Sharing Program, grants and private development.

The plan was developed with a variety of factors in mind including connectivity, population density and input from people who walk and bike in the city.

“There are parts of the city that are really bicycle friendly, but there are also a lot of parts that are not,” said Kyle Coleman at Bluestone Bike & Run, who was part of those conversations.

Coleman said he thinks any investment in foot and bike traffic is positive in a growing area.

“Whether it’s walking your dog or riding a bicycle or running with a group of friends, it’s going to create a greater sense of community. People outside, waving to each other, we’re not just in our cars driving from place to place,” said Coleman. “If you could ride your bike or comfortably walk along the sidewalk or crosswalk in certain places, then more people would do it.”

One project that Coleman feels was a success was the Bluestone Trail.

“We take test rides on there, we host a family bike ride every third Sunday and I personally take my family on there almost every week,” said Coleman.