by: Theresa K. Jones, Transportation Engineer
It is sad to see May aka Bike Month come to an end, but that does not mean highlighting bicycle friendly facilities should stop as well. So, let’s take a look at the efforts in making Hampton Roads a safe and efficient biking region.
The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO), the metropolitan planning organization of Hampton Roads has been contributing to the regional biking efforts. Thus far the HRTPO conducted a scan of the best bicycle and pedestrian practices across the U.S. and worldwide. In addition to the review, the HRTPO is in the process of creating an inventory of the existing non-motorized facilities in Hampton Roads. The HRTPO along with Tidewater Bicycle Association (TBA) will host a one-day “Navigating MAP-21 Workshop” on August 8th, 2013. The focus of this workshop is to teach participants how to maximize funding in the new Transportation Alternatives (TA) program under MAP-21 for bike/pedestrian projects at the state and local levels. Confirmed keynote speakers for this event include the Honorable William D. Sessoms, Jr., Mayor of Virginia Beach and the Honorable Clyde Haulman, Mayor of Williamsburg.
There have been other efforts at the local level as well. Since March 2012 motorists and cyclists have been able to travel in better harmony on Shore Drive due to Virginia Beach installing a 4-foot bike lane spanning 3.5 miles. Folks in Shadowlawn , a Virginia Beach neighborhood, can travel freely and safely on non-motorized transportation modes (e.g., walking and cycling) using the Rudee Loop Connector Walk. Refurbishing this multiuse path is broken into two phases. Virginia Beach completed Phase I which stretches from the south side of Salem Avenue, passing under the Rudee Inlet Bridge, and ending at the 4th Street parking lot. In Phase II, the Rudee Loop Connector Walk will connect to the Boardwalk at 1st Street.
To help transform into a bicycle friendly city, Norfolk provided bike lanes along Colonial Avenue, Ocean View Avenue, Llewellyn Avenue, and Granby Street . Shared-use markings were also painted on those routes. City employees will soon be able to participate in Norfolk’s Bike Share program. Its intent is to promote alternative transportation modes and fun-filled physical activities.
Hampton Roads is home to Old Dominion University, one of six universities in Virginia that was awarded “Bicycle-Friendly University” . Old Dominion University earned this prestigious award because of its bike share program, which allows students and employees to rent bikes free of charge.
Speaking of free, cyclists and pedestrians can soak in the stunning view surrounding the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge while traversing its shoulder lanes and Pedestrian Walkway without any fees. This tolled bridge stretches over the Southern branch of the Elizabeth River connecting Portsmouth to Chesapeake.
If on the Peninsula, check out Williamsburg. The City offers more than 25 bike routes! These scenic routes are filled with farmlands, parks, and historic sites.
It is evident that Hampton Roads is on its way to becoming a safe and efficient biking region. Reaching that goal will not be done overnight nor will it be easy, but it will happen. Strap on the helmet, break out those streamers, and bike through Hampton Roads. Let’s ride!
For more information please refer to the following links.