County contemplating pedestrian, bike path

Published 11:43 am Friday, August 28, 2015

Seeing that both the City of Franklin and Isle of Wight County have plans for a pedestrian and bike trail in place, Dale Stith of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization recently contacted the Southampton County Board of Supervisors to gauge its interest in developing a similar plan. It was first discussed at Monday evening’s meeting.

“I see this as an opportunity,” said vice chairman Ronald West, “I think it’s an amenity that’s good for people all over the county. I’d like to see the [idea] looked at hard.”

Supervisor Barry Porter, representing the Franklin District, agreed, saying, “If the money is available through these sources to do this, then I think [we should]. At the end of the day … it’s something that we need to consider for our residents.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation allocates part of the State Planning and Research funds to provide annual transportation planning assistance for non-urbanized areas within the Commonwealth, such as that in Western Tidewater.

If approved, the trail would come at no direct cost to Southampton County.

In Fiscal Year 2016, each planning district commission or regional commission will receive $58,000 from VDOT’s Rural Transportation Planning Assistance Program. Each planning district commission or regional commission must then provide a match of $14,500 to conduct rural transportation planning activities.

The supervisors ultimately approved a measure for the planning commission to coordinate with HRTPO to develop a plan in the coming months.