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Plan could bring 350 miles of biking trails to Chesterfield County

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. - For Chesterfield residents who enjoy pedaling on two wheels instead of hopping in a car, your hopes for a more bicycle accessible county could be in the works. Chesterfield County officials and Richmond Sportsbackers have asked for the public's input on a project that would bring 350 miles worth of bicycle and walking facilities to the county.

The plan, which is only in the proposal phase, recommends that a network of connected paths be built within and beyond Chesterfield's borders.  It would also include recreational routes along the James and Appomattox Rivers.

This map of the preferred bike path plan was developed over the past year using input planners have already received from residents.

Map

According to surveys conducted by the county, 93 percent of residents want to bike more and 88 percent want to walk more in Chesterfield.  The survey found that many residents do not feel safe biking or walking along existing roadways.

The plan calls for the construction of stand alone paths in most spots that would run adjacent to roads.  However, certain portions would require designated bike lanes on roadways, coupled with sidewalk installations for pedestrians.

If the plan comes to fruition, project advocates said Chesterfield could become a "biking destination" because of the many parks, historical sites, and natural recreational spots already popular in the county.

The county is looking for more input from residents about the proposal.  There will be five more public input sessions over the next two weeks.

• February 3 – Clover Hill District at Manchester YCMA
• February 4 – Bermuda District at Chester Library
• February 9 – Matoaca District at Swift Creek YMCA
• February 10 – Midlothian District at Midlothian YMCA
• February 12 – Dale District at LC Bird High School

Each meeting begins at 4p.m. and runs until 7p.m.  To view a copy of the proposal as it stands now, click here.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission will hold a work session on March 5 to discuss the plan.  After that, public hearings and votes by both the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors would be required.

Project advocates said if funding is available, they hope construction on portions of the project will begin later this year.  Any construction of new bike paths would be done in phases, meaning not all 350 miles would be built at once.