Some think it is a good idea, some think oh my God, someone is going to get killed. Some say, I would not ride on that thing if you paid me. These someones are speaking of the new bike lanes on West Hundred Road through Chester.
The concept was bandied about some four-and-a-half years ago. The idea was not actually conceived at that time but was included in the Board of Supervisors approved Chester Village Plan some 12 years ago. The idea of a pedestrian/bicycle friendly Village was a major item in the plan. Fast forward from 2004 and the work has been completed or so it seems to someone who was not involved at the time.
A letter was sent to the Chesterfield County Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reiterating the wants of the Village and referencing the Village Plan. These letters were dated April 24, 2008 and May 27, 2009.
Another letter sent to CDOT in 2009 included grant proposals, which at the time would have tapped into a program called “Safe Routes to School.”
The letter stated in part: “forwarding three copies each of two proposals for safety grant funding. If you recall, you had mentioned that any grant requests must wait in an extended line. I am told, however, that safety grants are treated differently. So I am sending the two requests on behalf of the Chester Community Association.”
All of the letters were written by a CCA member who knows the ropes.
The proposal for upgraded crosswalks and the restriping of West Hundred Road, to include bike lanes and slow traffic as to make it safer, was much different than what is just about completed.
The recommendation was:
- Without changing the cross section or any additional construction activity, use pavement markings to delineate two five foot bicycle lanes by properly transitioning and narrowing the existing five 12’ travel lanes to five 10’ travel lanes.
- Conduct a proper speed limit study after the implementation of the lane narrowing to lower the speed limit from 35MPH to 30MPH.
- Post a Bicycle Warning Sign and Share the Road signs at both termini.
- Install stamped concrete or asphalt crosswalks at the intersections at Chester and Harrowgate roads.
How many of these recommendations have come about? None.
Our current situation provides two narrow-unsafe bike lanes, two wide travel lanes allowing traffic to exceed speed limits and a narrow turn lane, which is unsafe at least and frightening at best.
A lot of work went into the bike/ped idea but no thanks for the outcome.