The town of Woodstock is moving forward with the pursuit of outside funding for the second part of the initial phase of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Master Plan.
Town Council members last week passed a resolution endorsing “Task 2” of the extensive project, allowing the town to proceed with an application for the Transportation Alternatives grant program through the Virginia Department of Transportation for that portion of the overall project.
VDOT’s Transportation Alternatives program, meant to fund nontraditional transportation programs, includes a 20% local match, meaning grant funds would cover the other 80% of the cost. Woodstock Town Manager Aaron Grisdale, during a Street Committee meeting last month, stated that Task 2 of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Master Plan had an estimated project cost of $652,291, for which the town would be obligated to pay $130,458 if it was awarded the Transportation Alternatives grant.
Grisdale added that town staff would continue to coordinate with VDOT and that the estimated cost would be updated before the Oct. 1 deadline for the Transportation Alternatives grant application.
Task 2 of Woodstock’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Master Plan, designed to link the northern part of town with the historic downtown, includes a .38-mile sidewalk along West Court Street from Summit Avenue to Muhlenberg Street; a .95-mile sidepath (a shared-use path for cyclists, pedestrians, skaters, wheelchair users and others that runs adjacent to roadways) along Summit Avenue; and a .28-mile bicycle boulevard along Court Street from Muhlenberg Street to Water Street.
The Transportation Alternatives program allows four years to reach construction on approved projects, according to Grisdale, who noted that a funding decision regarding the program could be expected in June 2022 and that the project funding, if approved, would be part of VDOT’s 2023-24 funding cycle.
The project cost estimate for Task 2 takes into account some potential future cost escalations, Grisdale stated.
Task 1 of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which is underway and in the preliminary stages of the landscape architecture and engineering services phase, includes a .22-mile bicycle boulevard and an adjoining .56-mile shared-use path with a crosswalk to Fairview Park along the town’s Hisey Avenue right-of-way that stretches between North and Spring streets on the north end of town.
A .28-mile sidepath along West Spring Street and a .15-mile sidewalk along West North Street are also included in Task 1, though only if funding allows. If not, that portion of the project will be bumped to Task 2.
Task 1, estimated at $450,000, is being funded through the Transportation Alternatives program. In a cost-saving move, the town included the design services for Task 2 alongside those for Task 1.
When complete, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail will be a 12.5-mile loop of various pathways that will allow vehicle-less travel to points of interest throughout Woodstock.