1/11: Connect Our Schools Information Meeting

The City of Harrisonburg will host an open-house meeting to share conceptual designs for the Garbers Church Road Shared Use Path (aka Connect Our Schools). We ask that you (the public) attend to learn about the project, ask questions, and offer input on its design. 

Why: We need you to attend because this is an important step early in the design process to ensure these greenways are in located in the most useful corridors and serve the needs of neighborhoods, students, and the average citizen
When: Wednesday, January 11 from 5:00pm-7:00pm Where: Community Activities Center at Westover Park (305 S. Dogwood Dr.)

Specifics: We already know a few key items that we want to stress to the city and would appreciate your help in conveying them during the meeting. Key points include:

  • Consider connecting “Shared Use Path Section 3” to the door of the Activities Center in Westover
  • Section 3 of Shared Use path should extend to the door of Thomas Harrison as shown on the map
  • Use Section 2 Alternative route and the existing power line corridor to connect into Thomas Harrison Middle School rather than Wyndham Dr.
  • For Section 2: Create a dedicated trail through Hillandale park rather than share the park road with automobiles

Join our event on Facebook and SHARE it with your Friends 

Read about the SVBC’s success of the Connect Our Schools Campaign @ Connectourschools.org

Additional information on the project can be found here.

City To Give Shared-Use Path Details

By ERIN FLYNN Daily News-Record

HARRISONBURG — The details of an upcoming project will be unveiled to city residents next week.

On Jan. 11, the Harrisonburg Public Works Department will host a meeting to give the public details of a shared-use path to be built on Garbers Church Road.

During the meeting, which is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cecil F. Gilkerson Community Activities Center, 305 S. Dogwood Drive, attendees can learn more about the project.

The shared-use path, which is expected to be completed by 2019, seeks to connect schools, parks and neighborhoods in the southwest part of the city.

In the first phase, sidewalks are to be built along the east side of Garbers Church Road, according to the city’s website. They will connect Bluestone Elementary School, which is slated to open this fall, and Park Lawn Drive.

In addition, the shared-use path will be extended from the elementary school’s south side to Erickson Avenue.

In the second part of the project, Garbers Church Road will be aligned through Hillandale Park, the city’s website says. Also, the Garbers Church Road shared-use path will be attached to another path that aims to connect Thomas Harrison Middle School and Westover Park.

Connect Our Schools, organized by the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition, began campaigning for paths that would link Bluestone, THMS and Harrisonburg High School and the surrounding parks and neighborhoods in early 2016.

“Bluestone Elementary was opening, so we looked to the [city’s] bike and pedestrian plan, and looked at projects that had been in the plan for more than a decade,” said Kyle Lawrence, president of the SVBC. “The key link was to encourage folks to ride or walk around the [Heritage Oaks] Golf Course.”

SVBC officials created an online petition and met with City Council, which appropriated $1.5 million for the project at its Nov. 29 meeting. The Virginia Department of Transportation matched the $1.5 million bond.

Erin Yancey, public works planning manager, said the path will provide Bluestone students, faculty and staff an alternative to driving and allow them to be active.

“It will give students an option of walking to school on a really nice, new facility,” Yancey said. “It will be a really great recreational aspect for the community, as well.”

After looking over the plan, community members can ask questions and offer feedback that engineers from Richmond-based Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. will consider when designing the path.

“It’s important that the city hears input from folks about where the paths should go, and minimize the distances as much as possible because adding a half mile — that’s a big difference when you’re talking about someone walking or biking to school,” Lawrence said. “We want to make sure it serves recreation and transportation.”

The Harrisonburg Public Works Department plans to present an updated version of the project and host a public hearing as the path’s details become more clear this upcoming spring or summer.

Contact Erin Flynn at 574-6293

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