Valley summit focuses on making streets more biking, walking friendly

Published: Nov. 3, 2017 at 5:19 PM EDT
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Members of the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County community took part in a discussion on Friday aimed at making streets and roads more friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians.

The sixth annual Bike-Walk Summit, held at James Madison University, focused on engaging people in the community in the process of developing plans for their neighborhoods.

"To get people to recognize how it will affect their daily lives, how they move, how people get across the city and in and out of the city," said Erin Yancey, the planning manager for Harrisonburg Public Works, who was in attendance.

The summit also focused on progress in the past year, including on the Bluestone Trail and Purcell Park.

"I think we're making a lot of progress," said Kyle Lawrence, the president of the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition. "There's still a lot of work to do, but we've come a long way from being known as a recreational destination with very challenging biking opportunities and we're moving towards a place where it's more comfortable for people who live here to get around town."

Lawrence's coalition, along with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization, presented the summit.

People living in Harrisonburg will soon have the opportunity to take part in the development of a shared use path, connecting Thomas Harrison Middle School, Hillindale Park and Garbers Church Road.

"It will be a lot of school traffic and people accessing community facilities so we hope that people will have opinions on how they'll use the trail and will provide those to us," said Yancey.

A public meeting to discuss the project is set for Thursday, Nov. 9 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Bluestone Elementary School.