This Discussion channel is currently closed.

On Friday, November 13 from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. members of the community will join together to learn about the importance of biking and walking in our local economy. This Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Bike-Walk Summit will also address creating a livable community that attracts and retains businesses and residents, while promoting the community's walking and biking assets. 

More information on the summit: www.HarrisonburgVA.gov/harrisonburg-rockingham-bike-walk-summit

What more can be done to encourage people to walk, bike, or take transit more? For example:

  • sidewalks
  • bike lanes
  • shared use paths
  • bus stops
  • bus shelters
  • more police enforcement
  • more education programs.

Please be specific and provide locations in your recommendations. 

7 Responses

Default_avatar
Becky Deloney about 4 years ago

Add sidewalks to Country Club Lane. There are many Skyline Middle School students who walk along that road in both directions (under the 81 overpass to Country Club Ct. and to the trailers going towards the Kroger shopping center). I also see adults biking and walking around the intersection of Linda Ln and Country Club and near American National University.

3 Supports
Bootstrap_7800626
Kyle Lawrence Kyle Lawrence about 4 years ago

Becky- Country Club continues to be a dangerous road for biking and walking. It is especially problematic that the newest school in the city sits on an "island" without proper connections for students to bike or walk. I am not sure of the status but there are plans to add a sidewalk in the future. Beyond that the city wants to wait for I-81 to be widened and the bridge improved before any major changes occur. My question is always- is it worth the wait if someone ends up losing a life as a result of a very poorly designed roadway?

0 Supports
 
 
Default_avatar
Kathy Beery about 4 years ago

If you are truly serious about this, then something needs to be done on Country Club Court. We have students who walk to school or walk home along that route and use the railroad tracks as their path on a regular basis. I walk to school sometimes, but would prefer to bike. I won't because the "bike" lane is a joke! There is not enough room, it ends too soon, and I don't like competing for space with concrete trucks and/or tractor trailers. This area has been brought up before and concerns noted for at least the last seven years.. However, very little has been done.

2 Supports
 
Default_avatar
Sandra Parks about 4 years ago

Skyline Middle School and Smithland Elementary are sandwiched between two dangerous roads -- Smithland and Country Club Road. Lack of sidewalks or bike lanes on those roads or even a decent shoulder keep our students from ever being able to bike or walk to school.

1 Support
 
Default_avatar
Nathan Shaw about 4 years ago

Continue to improve bike and walk access to Thomas Harrison Middle School. Also, more off-street, shared use paths, like the Bluestone Trail and the North End Greenway. I would love to see an East-West shared use path as well so that people can more easily bike or walk to the shopping areas on Rte. 33. Both Boulder and Fort Collins, CO have shared paths next to railroad tracks, which it seems like we could do as well for this.

0 Supports
 
Default_avatar
Erin Bishop about 4 years ago

I am very concerned about the location of the future elementary school because of the impact it will have on the community's ability to support walking and biking with the youngest students. There has been no public talk about the redistricting of the elementary school boundaries that will have to take place with the addition of the newest school, so it is hard to speak specifically about which neighborhoods will be impacted, but it seems very likely that the new district will take front the Keister and Waterman districts, with possible shifting of all the other districts - all of which will impact the use of existing safe routes, bike lanes, sidewalks and other established walking and biking patterns. The sunset heights and central avenue neighborhoods have especially high walking participants. If these neighborhoods are sent to the new school, there is no obvious direct path from those neighborhoods to the future school location. Similarly, the location is relatively far from any neighborhood and it's choice for an elementary school is detracting from the most basic concepts of creating a more walkable and bikeable community at the foundation. The location can't be changed at this point, but NOW is the time to put serious consideration into biking and walking facilities while the planning is happening. I think this is hugely important to the process before the buildings go up, and any walking and biking facilities would be costly afterthoughts.

1 Support
 
Default_avatar
Molly McMahon about 4 years ago

Hello, I have lived in Harrisonburg for over 30 years. I came to Harrisonburg when I attended James Madison University and decided to stay in the area after I graduated from JMU. At that time, Harrisonburg seemed like a nice place to take up roots. I have lived in my home in the Stonewall Heights Subdivision for over 19 years. I have been notified by the City of Harrisonburg that a sidewalk is planned for the area in front of my home which is parallel to Stonewall Drive. The sidewalk will not benefit me personally. It will exasperate a situation that grows worse every time a new condominium is approved by the city and is built on Chestnut Ridge.
In the early morning hours of November 1, 2015, I witnessed vomiting, chanting, screaming, yelling, profanity, and an argument between a man and woman in front of my home. Part of this uproar took place on my property as well as the area where the sidewalk is planned. While I used the non-emergency police number to complain about the noise, officers were unable to arrive until well over an hour later. This may have been due to a large number of more pressing situations that the police were dealing with in the early morning hours November 1st.
There is a bus stop in front of my home. Bus routes 39 and 40 run during the early morning hours of Saturday and Sunday. (The last time someone can get a ride in front of my home on these two days is 1:59 a.m.) This “late night” bus schedule is aligned with the JMU schedule. It does not run when JMU is out of session. I have verified this with the city’s public transit department. It is unclear to me why the City of Harrisonburg needs to accommodate a select group of people to the extent of creating a bus stop (which will pick up passengers at 1:59 a.m.) in front of homes that are not a part of JMU off-campus housing. I do not understand why there is a need to have buses picking up passengers as late as 1:59 a.m. directly in front of a residential area. I also do not understand why such a route is scheduled for two days a week instead of every day of the week.
During the early morning hours of November 1st, the bus that stops in front of my home was using a megaphone or other type of speaker system to make an announcement. In the early morning hours of November 1st, one of the city buses passed my home and stopped at the intersection of Stonewall Drive and Reservoir Street. There is no bus stop at this location. A large number of the passengers got off the bus and police were in the area. A picture of elementary aged school children using a sidewalk during daylight hours to safely get to and from their schools is a great image. I might be in favor of that. Contrast that image to what I have described which is taking place in the early morning hours. When pedestrians are using an ordinary volume to talk with their friends it can still be heard from within my home. This takes place between the hours 10:00 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday morning. Although students usually do not attend classes on Saturdays or Sundays, many residents in Harrisonburg need to work on Saturday and Sunday morning.
The sidewalks will add to the impervious areas around the city. This will cause flooding. During heavy rains, there is water that is pooling outside of my home – on my property. This will worsen once the sidewalks are constructed near my home. Homeowners are receiving an additional fee along with their real estate taxes for areas on their properties that are impervious. There is a discount for tree canopy and conservation landscaping. I suspect that the City of Harrisonburg is trying to encourage residents to plant trees to reduce the risk of flooding caused by the growth of new condominiums and streets. How is it that a homeowner can create a tree canopy or conservation landscaping where the city positions sidewalks? I am concerned that sidewalks will also encourage skaters. I have witnesses the failed “Noise Ordinance” which the City of Harrisonburg adopted over a year ago. I have no reason to be confident that skaters will avoid using sidewalks in spite of an ordinance that might be passed to prohibit them from doing so. The plans to put in sidewalks in the City of Harrisonburg will give homeowners a new job. That is shoveling the snow in front of their homes. I am sure there are homeowners that have disabilities or are elderly. These individuals will be expected to shovel snow or pay someone to do this for them. I have a surgically fused spine and I will be shoveling snow once the sidewalks are installed. The irony is that I will be going so to benefit individuals that chose to yell and scream outside of my home as they utilize the newly installed sidewalk. I hope that I don’t step in vomit or urine as I do this job. New sidewalks will require maintenance. This will cost money. If the city does not have the resources to pay for maintenance, the sidewalks could become a liability. Back to some of the thoughts that were posed: SHARED USE PATHS: I don’t know what the city’s definition is of this term. If the meaning is to create a new “right of way” through a homeowner’s property, (for bikers, skaters, and pedestrians) I am not in favor of this. It is unfair to impose this on someone who purchases property, maintains property, and pays taxes on a property. BUS SHELTERS: I don’t want a bus shelter in front of my home. Bus shelters should be limited to commercial areas and large student rental investment properties such as condominiums. Perhaps the investors of the condominium properties can pay to erect and maintain bus shelters for their renters. MORE POLICE ENFORCEMENT: The City of Harrisonburg needs to increase its police force for the purpose of enforcing the noise ordinance that was adopted over a year ago. There needs to be more unmarked vehicles on my street as well as more undercover police officers.
MORE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS: I am not sure what exactly the reference to “educational programs” means. If it is to educate the public about the health risks (such as HIV/AIDS virus) involved with vomiting on private or public property and not taking measures to disinfect the area, if it is to educate the public that it is a form of indecency for a young child (and others) to see a man urinating, if it is to educate dog owners that their dog’s fecal matter can attract the Norwegian rat, because rats like to eat it, and that rats carry a number of diseases, if it is to educate the public about the laws in the City of Harrisonburg, such as it being a class 3 misdemeanor for failure to clean up after your dog on public and private property, then I would be in favor of those types of educational programs. Conduct a workshop and offer a stipend to attendees that successfully complete the class.
Respectfully, Molly McMahon

0 Supports