Projects in works will aid downtown bikers, pedestrians

July 21, 2014 · 1 minute read

Our friend Phil Riggan unearths a couple of juicy items in his “Why, Richmond? Why?” column for today. The first will be exciting news for bike commuters — like my wife — who ride to and from downtown from the Southside.

The Manchester Bridge at night. Credit: Wikipedia

The Manchester Bridge at night. Credit: Wikipedia

Writes Riggan: That’s why I was pleased to see what (Sharon R.) North (public information manager for the City of Richmond Department of Public Works) wrote about bike lanes for the Manchester Bridge. “Our Transportation Engineering Division also is planning to install a bike lane in both directions on the bridge ridge.”

Northbound: From 0.2 mile North of Semmes Avenue to Cary Street

Southbound: From Byrd Street to 0.2 mile North of Semmes Avenue

The bike lane plans are under design, with construction (and paint striping) expected sometime this summer, with a preliminary cost estimate of $80,000, she wrote.

If you’ve ever ridden across the bridge, you know there is little to no shoulder on either side. You can ride in the pedestrian walkway down the middle, as well, but then you’ll have to get off your bike on the south side of the bridge to walk the steps. On a bridge that wide, bike lanes are an easy solution and a serious safety upgrade.

And just below the north end of the Manchester Bridge, Riggan reports, work has begun on a new pedestrian footbridge  — costing nearly $1 million — across the canal from the building that houses The Lofts and Casa Del Barco to the courtyard for Riverside on the James.

The project was delayed at least a year, Riggan writes, but in the past week or so, preliminary work began and now there are large holes in the Canal Walk as the area is being prepared for the new pedestrian bridge. 

The bridge is scheduled to be completed by August, but, North told Riggan, there’s a good chance the project gets extended beyond the August timeframe and that there is a second phase of the project, which will complete the pedestrian enhancements on the north side of the canal. “It has been awarded and we are waiting for the return of the executed contract,” she wrote.