What's next in Chesterfield?
As you’ve probably heard (here, here, here, here, or here), Chesterfield County took some major steps forward for biking and walking last month. Your efforts signing our petition, contacting your local officials, and attending public hearings paid off – the Bikeways and Trails Plan and Bon Air Special Area Plan were adopted by the Board of Supervisors!
Great! What now?
Let’s start with the Bikeways and Trails Plan. The Bikeways and Trails Plan is now a chapter of the County’s Comprehensive Plan, which guides the physical development of Chesterfield as it continues to grow. It already contains a blueprint for schools, libraries, public utilities, roads, and more, and now it lays out a vision for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
The Bikeways and Trails Plan not only includes a proposed network of comfortable, connected places to bike and walk, but also requires that all future road projects and development on or adjacent to the network (think repaving, road widening, etc.) include the best possible pedestrian and bicycle accommodations (paved trail, bike lanes + sidewalks, etc.), unless otherwise not feasible or cost prohibitive. Additionally, now that Chesterfield County has a “master plan” for biking and walking, it can be competitive with other localities in applying for federal and state funds for these projects.
How does the Bon Air Special Area Plan fit into this?
The Bon Air Special Area Plan, and the other Special Area Plans (or SAPs, as we like to call them), look at the bicycle and pedestrian networks through a more zoomed in, neighborhood-specific lens. While the Bikeways and Trails Plan gives us an outline of the larger, countywide network, the Special Area Plans take a closer look at connections within communities, and suggest locations for neighborhood byways, sidewalks, roundabouts, and other smaller scale improvements.
The Chesterfield County Planning Department is currently working on two more SAPs – the Northern Jefferson Davis Corridor and Midlothian Community– which should begin going through the public process early next year. The County will also begin pursuing funding for projects in the plans that have already been adopted through grant applications and the annual budgeting process, which will begin in February.
In the meantime, you can get involved by thanking the Board of Supervisors for taking such big steps forward for Chesterfield County and joining these three email lists to stay up-to-date on all things biking and walking in Chesterfield:
1) Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC) – PRAC will be the first step in the public process for trail projects. Email [email protected] to subscribe.
2) Chesterfield Currents – The County’s quarterly e-newsletter.
3) BOS Constituent email list – Stay informed about community meetings being held in your district. Email [email protected] to get on the list.
It’s been an exciting year for biking and walking in Chesterfield County, and across the region. Your efforts have been pivotal in moving greater Richmond forward in becoming a walkable, bikeable place to live, and we still have a long journey ahead. Thank you for everything you do, and we’re excited to continue working with you in 2016.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season,
– The Bike Walk RVA team