CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (Delmarva Now) -- The public will get a chance to weigh in on the design for a $1.5 million project to improve bicycle and pedestrian trails and sidewalks to connect downtown Chincoteague to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
A public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 5 p.m. in the Town Council chambers.
The United States Fish and Wildlife awarded the town the grant.
Chincoteague resident Nancy Payne wants to see all street parking removed along Maddox Boulevard, from the bridge onto Chincoteague to the wildlife refuge.
"As the 90-year-old Helen Merritt, who has lived on Maddox Boulevard for years ... said to me one day, there's no need to park on the street on Maddox Boulevard, because everyone who has a house there, or a business— they have parking spaces," Payne said, adding the change would improve safety.
"On that street, there are walkers, bikers, car drivers, skateboard riders, joggers, baby buggies, large trucks, cars pulling stuff, many visitors on rented motor bikes — and just a few days ago, I saw a woman on a horse," she said.
"It is a dangerous situation," Payne said.
Payne spoke about the project during a public comment period at the Sept. 5 town council meeting, saying she cannot be at the Sept. 20 meeting.
Payne also suggested making Maddox Boulevard a one-way street, with returning beach traffic directed to Ocean Boulevard.
"Ocean Boulevard is the widest street in this town, so there's no reason why we can't have traffic going there," she said.
"These are kind of easy solutions to a very difficult problem," Payne said.
The improvement project will make it safer for the many bicyclists and pedestrians to get from downtown Chincoteague onto the wildlife refuge, and also could help reduce vehicle traffic in town, according to a press release from the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce.
Most of the improvements will be done along the Main Street and Maddox Boulevard corridor.
"Public input is a critical element of successful project design," the release said.
Clark Nexsen, the engineering firm for the project, will be at the meeting.