Morgantown unveils draft of bike and pedestrian plan

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (WDTV)-- For the first time, the Morgantown community had the opportunity to see the comprehensive plans drawn out for pedestrian and bicycle transportation.

"More sidewalks, intersection improvements, new pedestrian crossings, bike facilities and enhanced connections to the rail trail and other greenways," said Phil Goff the Senior Planner and Project Manager.

Of the dozens who came to see the plans and give input, several rode their bikes. The plans highlight the idea of becoming a safe alternative to using a car everyday.

"I can see my house from this building and I had to get in my car and drive here. We're always trying to be active and always on the rail trail, but it's just a matter of how can we get there without loading everybody up in the car," said concerned resident, Rebekah Harlan.

For years, Harlan says she's been trying to get something done to have a more safe way to get from her neighborhood to the Deckers Creek Rail Trail.

"Were hoping to even just get a crosswalk over Route 7 with traffic signals," said Harlan.

The plans also pair with 8 goals. The first, safety. Several of the plans included widening walkways on the Westover Bridge and adding a crosswalk on a highly populated road near Vandalia Apartments.

"Some will be the lower cost, simpler ones that might be within a 2 to 3 year time frame The midterm is probably more in the 5 to 6 year range and then longer term could be 10 years or more," said Goff.

Some longer term projects include pedestrian bridges. Something life-long cyclist, Laird Knight says would be ideal in improving the attractiveness of the town.

"I think it's really important to keep bikes and cars separate. One of the things that will do that, really effectively, is to use overpasses instead of crosswalks," said Knight.

The 10 year plan has taken into consideration the community's recommendations and is, what some say, vital in creating a safe, family-friendly atmosphere.

"We definitely need to make major changes. It will help the infrastructure of Morgantown and it will help home values go up," said Harlan.