Bike, walking path proposed along VB light rail extension

Virginia Beach Tide development

VIRGINIA BEACH -- A new bike and pedestrian path could be built alongside the proposed extension of "The Tide" in Virginia Beach.

City officials just released the design drawings, but price tag is yet to be determined.

In North Carolina, Charlotte's Lynx light rail has a similar pedestrian and bicycle path along the route.

"There are differences between the two regions, to be sure. But what we learned in Charlotte will help our cities make better informed decisions about what is possible," Bruce Drees, Tidewater Bicycle association president wrote.

The Tidewater Bicycle Association, Virginia Beach and Norfolk city officials and Engineering firm Kimley-Horn recently met with Charlotte Dept. of Transportation officials to learn about its light rail path.

Part of the excitement was seeing apartment complexes developed along the Light Rail.

"You won't have to be right next to a light rail station. Developers can build a half mile down, and people enjoy walking or biking to catch the train," says Wayne Wilcox of Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Department.

According to Charlotte city officials, the Lynx light rail corridor has brought in about $1.45 billion in economic development.

In Charlotte, the bike/ pedestrian path wasn't finished right away. City planners set aside enough room for the trial and developed the path over the last seven years.

The estimated cost to extend the Tide to Virginia Beach Town Center is about $327 million. City officials would have to find additional funding for the bike/pedestrian path.

But the dreams don't stop there. The Tidewater Bicycle Association is working to connect bicycle paths from downtown Suffolk to the Virginia Beach resort area.

They also have high hopes for the original Tide. "We would love it for Norfolk to jump on board, if Virginia Beach builds their part," Drees said.


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