Woodstock considers building sidewalks, bike trails, paths

WOODSTOCK – The town is designing its first comprehensive pedestrian and bicycle network aimed at getting people out into the community neighborhoods with the hope of promoting a safe and green environment.

To help with the ambitious plan, town officials hired the Alexandria branch of LandDesign for a contract fee of $38,000, said Mandy Belyea, deputy town manager.

“We want them to develop and recommend where we should have trails if it is feasible to have bike lanes, prioritize and provide us with a cost estimate,” she said.

Belyea said the network is consistent with the town’s strategic plan to “a commitment to unique public spaces created of quality plantings and materials, including pedestrian/bicycle connections, town gateway enhancements, pocket parks and gardens and a great deal of public art in various mediums.”

Woodstock wants to link its neighborhoods and improve its natural and human-made resources for recreation, transportation, and environmental purposes. The paths are a way to do that.

The town has limited sidewalks, especially outside of its historic downtown and Main Street (U.S. 11) and Reservoir Road. There are segments of sidewalks in both the residential and commercial districts of town because of new (Va 42) development that requires developers to install sidewalks and curbs.

“Overall, there is a lack of continuity and connectivity for both pedestrians and bicyclists to and from important spaces in town, including parks, schools, shopping and health care,” according to a bid request proposal for the project.

The town has three off-street pedestrian trails as part of its park system including a gravel trail at W.O. Riley Park, a wooded trail at Riverview Park called Effinger Trail and a trail at Fairview Park that serves as the high school’s cross-country course.

The town has no designated bicycle trails or lanes.

The pedestrian and bicycle network would complement the Rails to Trails project the town is still exploring, the transportation study of the Va 42 corridor and the increased use of day facilities at Seven Bends State Park.

The town will be creating a steering committee and plans to hold its first meeting in a couple weeks. Officials will be soliciting public feedback in the future.