On a recommendation by Planning Commissioner Doris Kidder, the panel is calling for the construction of a sidewalk along Plaza Street as long as existing street trees can be protected.
Currently, the construction of a 1,000-foot sidewalk along the west side of Plaza Street between the Leesburg Police Department and Edwards Ferry Road is listed as a future project in the town’s Capital Improvements Program, with no build date or budget identified.
Kidder noted more there were than a dozen street trees along the west side of Plaza Street and said it was important to maintain them, while also providing for the many pedestrians in the area who walk or bike along the road. The first dedicated bike lane in the county debuted on Plaza Street in 2015 and have provided safe paths for those in the area who rely on a bike, rather than cars, to access employment opportunities or shopping and dining. Kidder said she is worried that providing the extra access for bikers may impose on future plans to construct a sidewalk on the west side of the street.
In the motion passed 6-0-1 on July 6, with Commissioner JoAnn Walker absent, commissioners, recommends the Town Council make “every effort be made to design and construct a sidewalk on the west side of Plaza Street to avoid impact to existing trees by considering any and all options.”
The motion points out a few of these options: narrowing the travel lanes along that segment of Plaza Street; considering a reduction in sidewalk width to four feet; or even eliminating the two-year-old bike lane on the east side of Plaza Street.
Kidder is expected to present the recommendation to the council at its Aug. 8 meeting.