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Public comment period begins for proposed bike path

By Staff | Oct 28, 2016

Chronicle photo by Vanessa McGuigan The proposed bike path preferred option is shown.

Thursday, Oct. 20 kicked off a 30 day public comment period for the proposed Shepherdstown Path project. Committee members held an open house of sorts at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center to show various options for the multi-purpose path, and answer any questions the public may have.

Slated to begin construction in 2017 with a minimum cost of $1.2 million, the path project has been several years in the making. After ironing out early stumbling blocks with path maintenance (the Corporation of Shepherdstown agreed to be responsible for maintenance) and funding (grants have been awarded), project engineers are looking forward to taking the next steps to seeing the task to fruition.

There are five proposed options, the first being no build at all. The remaining four show different possible build routes. The project area along WV Route 480 (Kearneysville Pike) ranges from Minden Street and extends south approximately 0.5 miles to Potomac Farms Drive.

The preferred build has a five foot sidewalk with six inch curb on the east side of 480, (the Shepherdstown Middle side), but the other proposals show different options on the west side of the road and a four to eight foot shared use path.

“The east side build is preferred by the town’s local path committee because the sidewalk option on that side requires a smaller number of crossings across the road,” said, Matt Mullenax, GISP Executive Director of the Hagerstown/Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization. “The preferred plan also has the smallest amount of right-of-way impact. The utilities, Potomac Edison and Frontier said they preferred a build on the east side location as well because that would be the smallest amount of utility movement and disruption.”

Mullenax continued, “The other nice thing is that Shepherdstown Middle’s emergency evacuation plan calls for the students, when they leave the school, to walk down 480 to Morgan’s Grove Park. So if we had the sidewalk there, a gate could be created to open up for emergency access for the students. If the kids have to evacuate now, they would really have to go up to Minden Street and around because there’s not an easier, more direct access.”

Committee members say the people of Shepherdstown and the property owners along the proposed path area are generally receptive to, and excited about the prospect of a multi-use path for recreation.

All of the proposed path options can be viewed on the town’s website, www.shepherdstown.us. The public comment period ends on Nov. 21.

Comments can be made via email to clerk@shepherdstown.us or can be mailed to the attention of Amy Boyd, Town Clerk, Corporation of Shepherdstown, P.O. Box 248 Shepherdstown, WV 25443.