HARRISONBURG — City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday to discuss a proposed shared-use path on Garbers Church Road.
Council must vote on whether to grant right of way authorization for the project.
The 3-mile path would connect Bluestone Elementary, Harrisonburg High School, the Wyndham neighborhood and Hillandale Park, said Tom Hartman, Harrisonburg’s assistant director of public works.
The path would provide a safe walking route for students and community members to area schools, parks and neighborhoods, city staff said.
Harrisonburg already has $1.5 million from a Virginia Department of Transportation revenue sharing grant for the project, which the city matched with another $1.5 million.
In 2017, the Harrisonburg Public Works Department applied for another $600,000 grant from VDOT, which, if approved, would have to be matched by $600,000 in local funds. The city would then have $4.2 million for the design, right of way acquisition and construction of the path.
Harrisonburg began the project in 2015, receiving the first VDOT grant in 2016.
Last year, the city held two public meetings to discuss the overall project and its design.
On Tuesday, staff will present findings from those meetings, Hartman said, sharing the comments, concerns, benefits and options related to the path. Staff also will discuss some ideas for additional project phases, Hartman said, such as extending the path to connect to Thomas Harrison Middle School, Westover Park and West Market Street.
With council’s approval, Hartman said, staff will begin working on right of way acquisition for the project. Staff plan to begin accepting construction bids toward the end of the year, with construction starting in 2019.
It will take about eight to 10 months to complete, Hartman said, so the path would likely open in late fall or early winter in 2019.
“We just hope that council agrees with our recommendations,” he said, “and allows us to move forward with the right of way.”
Contact Ellie Potter at 574-6286
Very exciting to see this project unfold. Improving biking and walking opportunities is the secret to happier, stronger, and better-connected communities. At approximately 3 miles in length, this is the largest bicycle/pedestrian project the City has ever implemented and will move the needle to provide a space for more folks to walk and bike between schools, parks, and neighborhoods for work and play.
A safe bike/ped connection to Garber's Church Road from the nearby neighborhoods should have been done when the high school was built. It is even more important now that there is an elementary school there. This is not a waste of money; it is an important infrastructure improvement. And the cost of this project is insignificant compared to any I-81 widening: one mile of one lane of I-81 is estimated to cost $10-$15 million!
Yeh, yeh, yeh. They’re all important to somebody. The point again......is the theft of gas tax money for other unrelated pork projects, and pols having to look to tax something else. Let projects stand and be funded on their own merits.
This is probably just one of hundreds, (if not thousands), of projects that suck up road tax dollars. And we wonder why there isn’t enough money to widen I-81, etc.
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