As walking and bicycling have been increasingly recognized as healthy alternative forms of transportation, projects that support these active forms of transportation are rapidly taking shape within the West Piedmont Planning District. Projects, by locality, include the following:
- As part of the Summit View Business Park development, located along U.S. Route 29 just north of Wirtz, a Smart Scale transportation application, submitted in 2017, was funded. In in addition to providing road infrastructure in and around the industrial park, the funding facilitated the construction of a 10’ multi-use path adjacent to the new roads. This will provide employees of the industrial park an alternate means by which to travel to work or to walk on their lunch breaks, but will also serve as a community asset.
- In 2018, Franklin County submitted a Smart Scale transportation application to improve two intersections – one at Route 122 and Lost Mountain Road and the other at Route 122 and the Booker T. Washington National Monument – as well as the construction of a multi-use trail approximately 0.7-mile in length parallel to Route 122 and extending from Lost Mountain Road to existing pedestrian accommodations in the Westlake community. This new trail will not only greatly facilitate active living in the Westlake community of Franklin County, but will create a pedestrian link between the community and the Booker T. Washington National Monument, where one does not currently exist. Construction of these improvements is anticipated to be completed in 2028.
- In the Ferrum community, the construction of a pedestrian bridge alongside a vehicular bridge parallel to Route 40 over the Norfolk Southern railroad track is underway to promote safe mobility by bridging the gap between the area west of the bridge and the commercial establishments situated to the bridge’s east.
- In 2016, Henry County submitted a Smart Scale transportation application for pedestrian improvements along a particularly dangerous portion of Virginia Avenue (Route 220 Business) in Collinsville. The application, which was funded, will enable the construction of approximately 1,000 feet of sidewalk along the western edge of Virginia Avenue between Wheeler Avenue and Printers Lane. In addition, a crosswalk and an associated pedestrian signal will be constructed at the northern intersection of the new sidewalk, crossing Virginia Avenue at Wheeler Avenue. Sidewalk exists along the east edge of Virginia Avenue in this vicinity, but many people cross this busy road from a lodging establishment to access food establishments across the road. The new sidewalk and crosswalk will vastly improve pedestrian safety along this busy road segment. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2021 or 2022.
Henry County has recently constructed a segment of sidewalk along the east side of Virginia Avenue between Kings Mountain Road and Eastview Drive, a distance of about 830 feet, utilizing a different funding source. Crosswalks had previously been added to the intersection of Virginia Avenue and Kings Mountain Road, and this sidewalk project adds a pedestrian refuge in the middle of the Virginia Avenue crosswalk to provide an extra measure of safety for pedestrians.
- An extension of the Dick & Willie Trailway is currently taking place in Henry County. This phase of the extension will extend from Spruce Street in the vicinity of the Martinsville/Henry County border, and extend approximately 2.5 miles to the Smith River Sports Complex. This phase also includes the construction of a parking area and restroom facilities at the trailhead along Spruce Street. A Harvest Foundation grant funds this trail segment. In the future, Transportation Alternatives funding will enable this segment to connect another 2.5 miles between Spruce Street and the current terminus of the Dick & Willie Trailway near Mulberry Creek. When these two segments are complete, the current 4.5-mile trail will be lengthened to about 9.5 miles.
- Pedestrian accommodations are scheduled to be implemented along Joseph Martin Highway between approximately Kirk Street and US Route 220, a distance of about 0.3 miles. This will improve safety and mobility of pedestrians between a residential area located further south along Joseph Martin Highway and the commercial area located along US Route 220. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020 or early 2021.
- In recent years, the Mayo River Rail Trail, located in the Town of Stuart, has been constructed in phases. The facility extends along Commerce Street and the South Mayo River, from about the intersection of Commerce Street and Patrick Avenue to about 0.8-mile east. An approximate 2,000-foot spur was constructed from this trail to a nearby assisted living facility, providing a source of active recreation for residents. A third phase will extend this trail nearly an additional 0.5-mile to the east, and will require a bridge spanning the South Mayo River. Discussion has taken place about extending this trail to Wal-Mart east of town. If this were to occur, the trail would be used as an alternative form of transportation between the town and the shopping center, as well as providing a necessary active recreational resource.
- In 2018, the West Piedmont Planning District Commission assisted the Pittsylvania County Department of Parks and Recreation with a Virginia Outdoors Foundation grant application to help solidify the 50-acre Wayside Park in Hurt as a forested area to mitigate forest fragmentation resulting from construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The grant was approved, and some of the funding will be allocated for the purpose of upgrading and combining a trail and an existing maintenance road into a one-mile long seamless crushed-stone trail. These improvements will afford residents and visitors opportunities to walk or jog, primarily as means for maintaining healthy lifestyles.
City of Danville
- The Mount Cross Road widening project, which will widen the road from three lanes (including center-turn lane) to five lanes, has begun. This project, which is partially funded by a Smart Scale transportation allocation, will also include the construction of a 10’-wide sidewalk along the south side of Mount Cross Road, extending through the 0.3-mile project area, from Lowes Drive to Dimon Drive. This is a significant pedestrian accommodation, as Dimon Drive is the access road to Averett University’s North Campus. This new sidewalk will provide multi-use access between Dimon Drive and a nearby retail area.
- In 2016, the City of Danville submitted a Smart Scale transportation application which was funded, and which includes the placement of bike lanes in both directions of Arnett Boulevard between Guilford Street and Wendell Scott Drive, a 0.35-mile road segment. Additionally, 5’-wide sidewalks and several crosswalks – along with pedestrian signals – will be constructed along both sides of Arnett Boulevard within these boundaries. A short segment of sidewalk will also be added along Guilford Street, fronting G.L.H. Johnson Elementary School, thereby establishing pedestrian continuity from the school to Arnett Boulevard. Constructed is scheduled to begin in 2021 or early 2022.
- VDOT, in partnership with EPR consultants, the City of Danville, and the Danville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), is conducting a STARS (Strategically Targeted Affordable Roadway Solutions) study along a 3.2-mile segment of Riverside Drive (Route 58 Business) between the Piedmont Drive off-ramp and Main Street. The draft study, which has not yet concluded, is intended to improve safety and functionality along the corridor, and may recommend the provision of sidewalks and crosswalks to facilitate safe pedestrian activity.
- Plans are underway to add connections to the Danville Riverwalk Trail. Funding was approved for a trail extension on the city’s south bank, extending from the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Bridge (Main Street) west to the Union Street Bridge, which will provide access to a planned waterfront park in the vicinity of the former White Mill building. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2021 or 2022. A short connector segment of the trail is planned to extend from the Robertson Bridge to the intersection of Riverside Drive (US 58 Business) and Park Avenue, a distance of about 865 feet. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 or 2021. Plans are also in place to extend the eastern terminus of this trail along Airport Drive to South Boston Road (US Route 58); ultimately, plans are to connect the Danville Riverwalk Trail with the Ringgold Depot Trail in Pittsylvania County.
City of Martinsville
- The City of Martinsville proposes to improve multimodalism of the Fayette Street corridor. The City has sought funding in the past to reconstruct sidewalks and create crosswalks along a 0.46-mile segment of Fayette Street east of Memorial Boulevard (US Route 220 Business). Additionally, in a separate application, the City sought funding for similar activities along a 0.8-mile segment of Fayette Street west of Memorial Boulevard. The City will likely continue to seek funding for these initiatives in the future.