Harrisonburg’s Northend Greenway to be expanded

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 6:07 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - In Harrisonburg funding has been secured for further construction of the Northend Greenway shared-use path. The first phase of the project was completed in 2019 and now more sections of the path will be built so that it will eventually stretch from EMU to downtown Harrisonburg.

“We believe that greenways are a really powerful and important community asset and we want to make sure they work well with the people who live along them. We think it’s a great asset for people but some of the residents don’t always know what’s going to happen and in this case, the city hasn’t finalized what it’s gonna do,” said Kyle Lawrence, Executive Director of the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition.

New sections of the path are still being designed but will include a section that parallels Mount Clinton Pike Road, an extension alongside Blacks Run Creek in the Brookside area, and improvements to its crossing on Virginia Avenue.

Some residents of nearby neighborhoods have expressed concerns about the path and on Thursday advocates for the project talked with them about the plan.

“We were answering some questions from local residents and talking about how the process has worked with other greenways and what some of the vision is for this trail. So anything from mitigating the impact with fencing, planting trees, shrubs, alignments, and things like that,” said Lawrence.

The primary concern of residents had to do with how close certain sections of the path could be to their homes.

“The concern always is proximity to someone’s private home which makes total sense. So it’s hard to say right now until survey work has been done exactly where that will be but I think the important thing is looking at how that can be mitigated and what it looks like to make sure people stay on the trail and don’t go into people’s backyard,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence said that the projects extending the Northend Greenway will likely begin in a year or two as the city works to finalize plans and communicate with residents in the area. He said these projects are just one example of Harrisonburg becoming more bike-friendly.

“There are a lot of great projects the city is working on and grants it’s been applying for. So we’re going to see a lot of other things coming online like sidewalks on Country Club Road so kids can safely walk to Smithland and Skyline (schools) for the first time ever,” he said.