Heed consultant’s report

Published 9:43 pm Friday, March 10, 2017

Dozens of citizens attended a meeting Tuesday to discuss how the city’s infrastructure supports cyclists and pedestrians and how it can be improved.

The visitors included avid runners, casual walkers, hardcore cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts. They talked to consultants from the firm of Rhodeside and Harwell, hired by the city to complete a master plan for improvements after the city received a grant from the state.

The importance of better infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists cannot be overstated. Walking, running and cycling are excellent ways to stay in shape, gain the emotional benefits of being outside in sunlight and nature, and even get from place to place in lieu of a personal vehicle or public transportation.

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However, few people will engage in these activities if they do not feel safe doing so. Suffolk residents need and deserve options for recreation, exercise and transportation that don’t come with elevated risk to their personal safety.

That’s why having a better network of sidewalks, bike lanes and trails, along with increased awareness on the part of motorists to share the road, is vital in Suffolk.

The city’s consultants seem committed to crafting a plan that works for the city, and the early level of citizen involvement is promising. A number of local folks, including fitness enthusiasts, are on the steering committee.

We expect great things to come out of this process, and the more public involvement there is, the better the result will be. You can get involved at two more public meetings, likely in summer and fall, that will be held before the plan is finalized. You can also fill out a survey available on the city’s website through this Tuesday. Visit suffolkva.us and click on “Suffolk Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.”

Finally, we expect the city to take heed of the recommendations contained in the consultant’s report and develop a plan to fund and implement them expeditiously.