Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lots of bike progress in Harrisonburg, Va.

March 24, 2011 |

Robb Davis of Davis and Thomas Jenkins, a visitor from Harrisonburg, Va., load up oranges in a bicycle cargo trailer during a gleaning mission last spring. Courtesy photo

By Thomas Jenkins

Most of the time we live life advocating for what is close to our hearts and what generates passion inside. We seldom stop and think how our daily actions are positively impacting the neighbor next door, those outside our town, even those thousands of miles away.

For those of you in Davis, this is a reminder that the positive actions you have taken in your community have had a moving effect more than 3,000 miles away.

In March 2010, I was part of the seven-person contingent from Harrisonburg, Va., that came to Davis to learn more about bicycle infrastructure. During our four-day visit with you, we learned more then we could have imagined. More importantly, what we saw provided motivation to make changes upon our return to our city.

Now nearly 12 months since our return, there have been numerous bicycle improvements to our community of 44,000 residents. These improvements began with the passage of the 2010 Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan by the Harrisonburg Planning Commission and included the final approval of this plan by City Council.

This final plan was significantly different than the draft plan prior to the Davis adventure. It was during this trip that our group decided to return with a much broader vision for community and how it should dictate bicycle improvements.

Bicycle maps and plans look great but they do not make a safer, more inviting atmosphere for those wishing to leave the car at home. Bike lanes, shared used paths and signage are the on-the-ground improvements needed to create a bicycle community.

In the past few months, Harrisonburg has added miles of bike lanes to several city streets, which have made these corridors safer for cyclists as well as automobiles. These are not just simple neighborhood roads, but high-profile travel routes adjacent to both local universities, James Madison and Eastern Mennonite.

In order to provide these bike lanes, a difficult decision had to be made — the removal of on-street car parking. When a city like Harrisonburg removes parking on public streets to accommodate cyclists, it shows the city’s commitment to creating a community that is a little less car-centric.

The “Sharrow” bicycle symbol is a relatively inexpensive way to add a comfort level to streets where bike lanes may not be appropriate or allowed due to space constraints. The fall of 2010 marked the first time Harrisonburg’s Public Works Department installed the “sharrow” marking. This simple symbol has brought bicycle awareness to all those who travel these newly labeled streets.

When spring and warm temperatures return to the Shenandoah Valley, so will the sign-marking crews, laying more of these simple symbols that were seen frequently during our trip to Davis.

Our observations and two-wheeled travels in Davis showed our group numerous shared-used paths that separate cyclists and motor vehicles. These off-road paths are difficult and sometimes nearly impossible to install in a city like Harrisonburg, which is almost fully developed.

Local Harrisonburg advocates are working closely with city staff as well as a newly formed Harrisonburg Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee to design two new greenways. These greenways not only will provide recreational opportunities for all ages of cyclists and pedestrians, but also valuable travel connections between local universities, neighborhoods, parks and businesses.

To those of you 3,000 miles away, we thank you for your hard work making your community bicycle-friendly. Your daily actions of just riding your bikes have provided motivation to those of us trying to a create a more bicycle-friendly Harrisonburg and Shenandoah Valley.

— Thomas Jenkins is a member of the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition.To offer a Davis Bicycles! column, write to Matt Biers-Ariel or Mont Hubbard at or log on to to see instructions for authors.



Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

    Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Davis Community Meals needs cooks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Send kids to camp!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Wise words

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12



    Awareness is key to this fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

    Options for protection come with flu season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

    It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Mike Keefe cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Building something at schools’ HQ

    By Our View | From Page: A10

    Don’t sell city greenbelt

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Paso Fino project is flawed

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Archer will get my vote

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Maybe David can beat Goliath again

    By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11



    DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

    Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    ‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

    Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery





    ‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3



    UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Styles on target for November debut

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

    MBI hires VP of marketing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

    By Rob White | From Page: A9



    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



    Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8