May 21, 2020
Where to Ride Your Bike in Chesterfield County? Turner Road.
By: Thomas Ruff, PE, PTOE
With warmer weather finally here, what better way to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air than to pull out your old (or new) bike? Enjoy the breeze in your face riding down the brand-new bike lanes on Turner Road in Chesterfield County, between Midlothian Turnpike and Hull Street Road. Recently completed at the end of April, the former 4-lane road has just been upgraded to a 2-lane road with bike lanes perfect for you to ride. The bike lanes provide access to the commercial areas around Midlothian Turnpike and Hull Street Road, as well as neighborhoods along Turner Road, Elkhardt Road, Cloverleaf Drive, and Dell Drive.
Timmons Group and Chesterfield County identified Turner Road as a prime candidate for a “road diet.” Just like you would remove certain foods if you were on a diet, the same holds true in this situation as a road diet involves the removal of vehicular lanes that are replaced by bike or other pedestrian access areas.
The project started with a feasibility and safety study which helped Chesterfield County and VDOT determine that the Turner Road vehicular traffic could be served the with only 2-lanes. Traffic volumes along Turner Road have remained consistently below 13,000 vehicles per day for the last 20 years, with no increase, which falls under the 16,000-vehicle threshold set by VDOT for a road diet. In addition, the corridor has experienced more than 200 crashes over the last 7 years, averaging more than 25 crashes per year. A road diet can reduce the incidence of crashes on the corridor by up to 75%. The safety benefits of the road diet were a key component in recommending the improvement.
Turner Road was already scheduled for repaving by VDOT and Chesterfield County took advantage of this by only changing the lane striping of the roadway. Timmons Group’s traffic engineers provided the design plans for the pavement markings and signage along the 2-mile stretch of road. Timmons Group was able to repurpose the road to ensure it was more pedestrian and bicycle friendly at no additional cost to County taxpayers.
The Chesterfield County Bikeways and Trails Plan indicates that Turner Road should include a shared-use path or other improvement to allow more bicycle and pedestrian activity. The implementation of a road diet allows a significant 2-mile portion of the Plan to be completed with no cost to the County. Further, Chesterfield County is working towards providing more bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure along Midlothian Turnpike and Hull Street Road that will allow the Turner Road bike lanes to be a major focal point for recreation, employment, and commercial activity!
So grab your bike, get out of the house, and see what the new Turner Road bike lanes are all about!