Planning commission to discuss bike path

Published 4:58 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Representatives from the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization will be in attendance at Thursday’s planning commission meeting to discuss the creation of a bicycle and pedestrian path in Southampton County. This plan was first talked about at the August board of supervisors meeting.

“I see this as an opportunity,” Vice Chairman Ronald West said. “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.”

Members of the planning commission have been asked to provide Dale Stith of the HRTPO with concerns or ideas for the path and the names of residents who they believe should assist with planning. Of note, Deputy Director of Community Development Beth Lewis said has expressed concerns that the bicycle and pedestrian path should only use existing public rights-of-way as the use of private property has historically not been seen in a positive light.

If ultimately approved, the trail would come at no direct cost to Southampton County. The Virginia Department of Transportation allocates part of the State Planning and Research funds to provide annual transportation planning assistance for non-urbanized areas such as Western Tidewater.

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