Transportation Goal 1
An interconnected, safe and accessible network of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure will span the entire community and connect it to the larger region.
1.1 Require Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure
STRATEGY: Continue to enforce development regulations that require the inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian facilities in the design of new streets.
JUSTIFICATION: Shepherdstown is a community in which biking and walking are an integral part of life. As new development occurs, it is imperative that the town continue to require the provision of infrastructure to allow for safe biking and walking to help support this aspect of Shepherdstown’s high quality of life. The provision of this type of infrastructure also has the added benefit of reducing overall demand for parking, decreasing the number of car trips necessary (thereby saving energy and reducing air pollution, and contributed to a healthier lifestyle.
1.2 Develop a Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
STRATEGY: Work with the MPO, WVDOT and other local governments in the region to develop a regional bicycle and pedestrian plan.
JUSTIFICATION: Integrating the town’s pedestrian and bicycle network into a larger regional network, with connections to destinations outside of the corporate limits, will contribute to the ability of Shepherdstown’s residents to have greater access to external destinations and promote tourism, particularly bicycle tourism. As part of a regionally integrated plan for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, the town and its partners should also be more successful in leveraging state and federal funds to construct both internal and regional connections.
1.3 Develop Greenway Trails
STRATEGY: Identify corridors for the establishment of greenway trails in and around Shepherdstown, and work to acquire easements for the construction of trails along those corridors.
JUSTIFICATION: As land is developed, the community will often lose opportunities to establish greenway trail connections if adequate plans are not in place to establish them prior to development. Once development occurs, acquiring easements for trails can be a difficult and expensive proposition, leading to lost opportunities to make critical connections between neighborhoods and regional destinations.
1.4 Regional Coordination for Greenway Development
STRATEGY: Encourage Jefferson County to participate in the identification of greenway corridors and to require the dedication of easements for greenway corridors in the area around Shepherdstown.
JUSTIFICATION: Like other bicycle and pedestrian facilities, greenway trails can provide important regional connections. Collaborating with Jefferson County to identify and develop these corridors will ensure a greater degree of connectivity throughout the area and ensure that new development outside of the corporate limits can be connected to a larger regional greenway network.
1.5 Install Shared Lane Markings for Bicycles
STRATEGY: Explore options for the retrofitting of bicycle routes with pavement markings indicating road sharing requirements where dedicated bicycle lanes are not feasible.
JUSTIFICATION: Adding pavement markings along routes used by bicycle riders that remind drivers of the requirement to share the road will help to improve safety for bike riders and increase awareness of the presence of bicycles on these routes. Since the development of dedicated bike lanes or off-road paths can take years to complete, this is a cost effective interim solution to the need to provide accommodation for bicycles on more heavily traveled routes.
1.6 Require Bicycle Parking Facilities
STRATEGY: Amend commercial development regulations to require dedicated bicycle parking wherever off-street automobile parking is provided.
JUSTIFICATION: Being a bike friendly community means not only having on-road facilities for bike riders to be able to safely travel between destinations, but also a way for them to safely and securely park their bicycles once they arrive. The lack of adequate bicycle parking can discourage biking for purposes other than recreation, or lead to bikes being parked in locations that are not appropriate for that use. Like automobile parking, providing sufficient space for bike riders should become a standard part of the development process.
1.7 Expand Public Bicycle Parking Facilities
STRATEGY: Develop a public bicycle parking facilities plan and install bicycle parking facilities in accordance with the plan.
JUSTIFICATION: Not all of the community’s needs for bicycle parking can be met through the provision of privately developed facilities. Planning for the installation of public bike parking facilities in locations such as downtown, at parks and in other public spaces / destinations will help to fill in gaps in available resources, encourage biking as a form of transportation, and most importantly, demonstrate the community’s ongoing commitment to biking as an alternate form of transportation.
1.8 Expand Bicycle and Pedestrian Access to Schools
STRATEGY: Participate in the State’s Safe Routes to School program to assist in the development of policies, programs and funding for the improvement of pedestrian and bicycle access to local schools.
JUSTIFICATION: The Safe Routes to Schools program provides an opportunity to leverage grant funds to develop or improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities between neighborhoods and schools. Ensuring that safe access is provided for children to walk or ride a bike to school contributes to the community’s quality of life by reducing the reliance on parents to drive children to school while also teaching children good walking and biking habits that can lead to a lifetime of preference of choosing these forms of transportation over diving. The policies and programs that participation in Safe Routes to School provides access to also help the community support walking and biking in addition to the funding of infrastructure.
1.9 Improve Bicycle and Pedestrian Connection
STRATEGY: Collaborate with WVDOT and Jefferson County to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections between the core of the town and parks, schools shopping areas that are located outside of town.
JUSTIFICATION: Since many of the destinations that residents of Shepherdstown want to access on foot or by bicycle are located outside of the corporate limits of the town, the cooperation and participation by the county and WVDOT will be necessary to help improve these routes. Improving access to these destinations will help to reduce car trips and support a healthy and active lifestyle for residents of the town as well as residents of the unincorporated areas around town.
1.10 Improve Pedestrian Safety
STRATEGY: Identify opportunities to increase pedestrian safety through the use of appropriately placed pedestrian warning signage and high visibility pedestrian crosswalks.
JUSTIFICATION: As the town works to support pedestrian travel as a means of transportation, ensuring the safety of walkers will be important to maintaining confidence in residents’ ability to walk rather than drive to destinations around town. Adding and improving crosswalks, installing pavement markings and adding warning signage increase the visibility of pedestrian activity areas and helps to build awareness among motorists of the need to be mindful of pedestrians and drive safely.
1.11 Develop a Community Bike Sharing Program
STRATEGY: Explore opportunities for creating a local bike-sharing program that could be used by residents, tourists and Shepherd University students.
JUSTIFICATION: Installing either free or paid bicycle sharing stations at key locations in the town, including on the campus of Shepherd University will help to increase participation in biking as an alternate form of transportation in the community and encourage active and healthy lifestyles. Bike sharing also allows casual riders, the opportunity to bike around town, or make a quick trip for an errand, without the investment in purchasing a bike or needing a place to store it. Developing interest among casual riders can help, over time, to build greater support for biking and lead to more participation in biking as a regular form of transportation as these casual riders become more accustomed to biking around town. Bike sharing also allows tourists to experience more of the community than they may have otherwise had an opportunity to on foot, and provides a different perspective as opposed to riding around in a car. If coupled with remote parking areas, this can also allow tourists more freedom to explore the town while freeing up public parking in more centralized locations.