A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog entitled New Year’s Resolution: “Bicycling is a Great Way to Get in Shape, Save Money, Help the Environment, and Get Rewarded for it!” In the blog, (see https://ridesolutions.org/2020/12/30/new-years-resolution-bicycling-is-a-great-way-to-get-in-shape-save-money-help-the-environment-and-get-rewarded-for-it/) I referenced numerous articles lauding the many health benefits of bicycling. In addition to the health benefits, I touched upon the fact that bicycling can save money; wear-and-tear on vehicles; and has virtually no environmental impact. Bicycling is one of the most enjoyable forms of exercise, and an added benefit is being able to incorporate a commute or trip into a daily workout, which improves not only health but also frees up quality time for other activities! While we are in the midst of what is typically one of the coldest months of the year, spring will be here before we know it, so this blog can be a great way to start thinking about dusting off the bike and planning your routes! This week’s blog focuses on popular work and non-work destinations and ways you can get there by bike in the City of Martinsville. The interactive map of the West Piedmont Regional Bicycle Plan, adopted February 2018, can serve as an indispensable resource when planning your routes. This map can be accessed at https://wppdc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=abfe3df1b6ec4769aff2253d528fe2e9&extent=-80.3966,36.5503,-79.3420,37.0073.
The most recognizable part of Martinsville is uptown, which has historically been the City’s commercial center. Prominent destinations in and near uptown include New College Institute (NCI), several restaurants, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the Martinsville Farmers’ Market, Piedmont Arts and other creative venues, and numerous office and commercial establishments. From the north and west, the Dick & Willie Passage Trail serves as a great conduit into uptown. From the south, the bike plan recommends several routes including Spruce/Brookdale streets, through which the Dick & Willie Passage Trail can be accessed via Fisher Street, Mulberry Road, and Rives Road. Fayette Street is a recommended bike route which can convey bicyclists into uptown from the west end of the City.
Village of Martinsville Shopping Center
The Village of Martinsville shopping center is a local and regional shopping venue, home to numerous anchor stores and smaller retail establishments. This shopping center, located along Commonwealth Boulevard at the intersections of Liberty and Market Streets, is also a major local employment center. Approaching from uptown and points south, the West Piedmont Regional Bicycle Plan provides a solid network of routes, and direct, or near direct access, can be obtained via Franklin Street, Liberty Street Extension (bordering Chick-fil-A), and Liberty Street. Coming from the west, one would be advised to take the Dick & Willie Passage Trail into uptown, use the spur near Pine Street, and access Franklin Street in that manner. Unfortunately, there are no direct connections right now from the trail to the shopping center due to terrain.
Hooker Field (Home of Martinsville Mustangs)
Another popular destination in Martinsville is Hooker Field, home of the Martinsville Mustangs minor league baseball team. To access this facility from the northeast, which includes neighborhoods in northeast Martinsville and adjacent portions of Henry County, the West Piedmont Regional Bicycle Plan recommends the Chatham Road and Clearview Drive route network. From the west side of the City, the stadium can be accessed via the Dick & Willie Passage Trail by exiting at the Hooker Street trailhead, proceeding west on Hooker Street, and then northeast on Commonwealth Boulevard. From the south, one can take Spruce/Brookdale Streets and connect to the Dick & Willie Passage Trail via Fisher Street, cycle to the Hooker Street trailhead and ride to the stadium via Hooker Street and Commonwealth Boulevard, as noted above.
Patriot Centre Industrial Park, North Bowles Industrial Park, and Patrick Henry Community College
If you work at Patriot Centre Industrial Park, North Bowles Industrial Park, or you work at or attend classes at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), you can get there by bicycle as well. From southern or central Martinsville, a fairly direct route would consist of riding the Dick & Willie Passage Trail north to the trailhead at Stultz Road and Clearview Drive. From there, continue north along Liberty Street, which becomes Kings Mountain Road. Kings Mountain Road is bordered by a paved shoulder, which makes bicycling safer and more comfortable than it would otherwise be. Bicycling to these destinations from the Collinsville area can also be accomplished via Kings Mountain Road. It must be stated, however, that shoulders on Kings Mountain Road extend as far west as its intersection with Colonial Drive; beyond that point there are no shoulders, so bicyclists should exercise extra caution or consider using Plantation Drive, which is a loop and circumvents a one-half mile segment of Kings Mountain Road which lacks shoulders. Daniels Creek Road serves as an excellent, and much safer, alternative to both the western-most segment of Kings Mountain Road and Virginia Avenue, particularly for trips toward southern areas of Collinsville.
Don’t forget that you can earn points toward great rewards every time you log a green trip – including bicycle trips – into the RIDE Solutions app (for my blog on some of the rewards available, see https://ridesolutions.org/2021/01/06/ride-solutions-examples-of-great-discounts-for-your-green-commute/). If you don’t yet have this free app, simply visit www.ridesolutions.org today!