HARRISONBURG – By the time the next DR100 cycling event rolls into town, participants and donors should be able to scope out how proceeds from the inaugural affair were used. About $13,500 in proceeds from the first DR100, which honors the memory of Virginia Beach anesthesiologist and avid biker Dr. Joseph Mirenda, have been approved by the event’s executive committee to use for local projects.
Late last year, the DR100 committee asked Harrisonburg, Rockingham County and James Madison University to submit projects to be considered for funding. In August 2009, Mirenda, 49, was struck and killed by a car as he rode his bicycle on Port Republic Road in Rockingham County.
He was headed toward JMU to visit his son, Nic, who was just starting his freshman year at the time. Mirenda’s story inspired McGaheysville resident Steve Tomasi to organize the DR100 to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety in the Valley.
The first event was held in September, and organizers hope to hold another on Sept. 17. Organizers wanted to have DR100-funded projects complete by the time the next event is held. “I hate contributing to a charitable cause and the funds just get tied up for years and years and years,” Tomasi said. “We want to spend 100 percent of the net proceeds for some bike project somewhere.”
In Harrisonburg, $6,200 of DR100 funds and a $5,500 city match would be used to put shared lane markings, or “sharrows,” on about 1½ miles of roadway, according to a list of projects. In the county, $6,050 from the event and a $2,000 match from the Virginia Department of Transportation would put bicycle lanes on the new Stone Spring Road between Port Republic Road and Reservoir Street.
The new Stone Spring is adjacent to Rockingham Memorial Hospital’s new campus. And the JMU Cycle Share program, which allows students and faculty to borrow bicycles for two weeks, will receive $1,200. Organizers hoped to have an additional $10,000 in grants to spend on projects, Tomasi said, but DR100 did not receive the money.
Harrisonburg and VDOT officials said the projects couldn’t begin until late spring or early summer because the weather has to be right for paint and lane markers to stick. Don Komara, maintenance manager for VDOT’s regional office in Harrisonburg, said this presented a good opportunity to fund projects that aren’t necessarily high priorities at a time when funding is tight. “They’re good projects,” he said. “They’re like-to-have, so to speak, projects.” Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or [email protected]