Garrett talks to Rotary about cycling

PARKERSBURG – Cycling supporters and local government are working together to increase and improve options for cyclists in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Greg Garrett, president of the Parkersburg Bicycle Advisory Board, spoke about those efforts during Monday’s weekly meeting of the Parkersburg Rotary Club at the Blennerhassett Hotel.

Garrett said the advisory board is working on a citywide master bicycle plan to incorporate current and future ideas for bicycle routes in and around Parkersburg. The board has been working for more than a year to develop and publicize the Crosstown Bikeway, which connects downtown Parkersburg with City Park along streets such as Washington Avenue, Liberty Street and others.

Future goals call for creating spurs and other trails throughout the area connecting points of interest and business areas, he said.

The board is also working with local and state officials to connect with existing and planned trails around the area. At Point Park, a trail is in place between the Ohio River and the floodwall that runs north as far at Pond Run, Garrett said. Working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Garrett said the goal is to bridge the outflow at Pond Run and eventually continue developing a riverside bicycle trail up through Vienna and to Williamstown.

From the same starting spot at Point Park, Garrett said a trail is being developed along the Little Kanawha River area to East Street and beyond. The city of Parkersburg is expected to extend that trail to Corning Park on Staunton Avenue, to the city limits. From there, the goal is to work with county and state officials to extend the trail to Happy Valley where it will hook into the North Bend Rail Trail, he said.

Garrett said the advisory board believes having cycling opportunities in the Parkersburg area will also have economic benefits for the local community, providing another activity and attraction to bring in visitors.

The advisory board is also working to develop a downtown bicycle loop to incorporate areas such as the Julia-Ann Square Historic District. The city of Parkersburg recently added a bicycle lane on Juliana Street in the district. That lane will be part of the proposed loop, but the board is expecting to recommend Avery Street for the primary route, due to a much smaller volume of automobile traffic, he said.

“Those of you concerned about doing that ride because of traffic, it will be a wonderful ride on the weekends because there’s nobody on any of those streets on the weekend,” Garrett said.

The advisory board is currently in the process of creating a comprehensive bicycle plan for Parkersburg, Garrett said. Meetings are planned for this summer to get public input and comments on the plan before it is finalized, he said.