Norfolk to Construct Bike and Pedestrian Loop in Ghent

There are plans underway to construct and implement a four-mile pilot bike facility project in Ghent.

Bike lanes will be added, drivers will see a safety buffer, white delineators to separate cars from vehicles and there will even be green paint on the roads.

“We’re going to offer connections that haven’t been seen before in this city and they’ll be safe opportunities to get your friends and family to get out,” said Paul Filion, senior transportation construction project manager for the city of Norfolk and  lead on this initiative.

Filion said the city’s overall strategic bike plan begins with this loop.norfolk bike ped loop photo

“It’s all about improving the experience too when you are out and about that you’re not forced to ride adjacent to heavy truck traffic because that’s the only thing around,” Filion said.

One part of the plan includes counters. The devices collect daily data to track the number of pedestrians and cyclists who cross them.

There are three of them in Norfolk near the Elizabeth River Trail. One is at the Hampton Boulevard underpass, another is near the Mallory Swim Club and the third is near ODU on 43rd street.

The most recent data collected shows on average:

  • 662 pedestrians and 108 bicyclist cross the trail at 43rd Street and Bluestone Ave.
  • 145 pedestrians and 89 bicyclist cross the footbridge at Redgate Avenue near the Mallory Swim Club
  • 48 to 79 pedestrians and 48 to 121 bicyclists cross the Hampton Boulevard underpass

“Part of the bigger picture is to understand the usage of both pedestrians and cyclists throughout the city making sure that we’re on track with our connections to the assets that we have within the city,” Filion said.

The counters will remain in place for several months as the city works to add bike lanes and improve bike and pedestrian trails in the area.

The counters were donated by EVMS as part of a healthy lifestyle grant opportunity to promote getting people out and about to enjoy the city’s amenities.

The daily data collected will allow the city to apply for more grants and continue building on the city’s infrastructure without fully using tax payer money.

The plans for new bike paths come as welcomed news for people 10 On Your Side met inside East Coast Bicycles in Ghent, like Jarred Nagle.

“I really think that it’s good and I am glad the City of Norfolk is doing that because it makes it a lot safer for all of the people who live in this city to get around because it’s a lot easier for them to get around on bikes than walking,” Nagle said.