Henrico eyeing new $4M bike and pedestrian path on Libbie Ave.

libbie ave project scaled

A new shared-use path would replace the sidewalk on Libbie Avenue between Broad Street and North Crestwood Avenue/Libbie Mill West Boulevard. As part of the same project, a bike path would be built on an adjacent part of Libbie. (Jack Jacobs photo)

Henrico officials have a plan in the works to add new pedestrian and bike access alongside the Libbie Mill-Midtown development.

Design work is underway on a proposed $4.1 million project to add a 10-foot-wide shared-use path that would connect to a new two-way bike lane on the section of Libbie Avenue between Broad Street and Bethlehem Road.

The shared-use path would be constructed on Libbie between its intersection with Broad and North Crestwood Avenue. It would replace the existing sidewalk that’s there currently. The bike lane would be established on Libbie between North Crestwood and Bethlehem.

The new path and lane would be situated on the east side of Libbie Avenue where they would run alongside the mixed-use Libbie Mill, developed by Gumenick Properties.

County officials identified the corridor as a place to consider additional bike and pedestrian infrastructure due to existing right-of-way and proximity to an existing shared-use path on Bethlehem, according to Henrico Capital Projects Manager Sarah Briggs.

“Preliminary engineering indicated it would be a good candidate for bike lanes while also maintaining the necessary capacity for vehicular traffic and would provide additional connectivity to the Bethlehem Road shared-use path,” Briggs said in an email. “Roadways that already have additional space or right-of-way, like Libbie Avenue, present good opportunities to add facilities potentially more quickly and at a lower cost.”

The project also involves some changes to the current traffic flow through that roughly half-mile section of Libbie Avenue.

Between Broad and Crestwood/Libbie Mill West Boulevard, there aren’t plans to change the number of lanes, though the right northbound through lane will become a right-only lane, as the existing slip lane is being removed.

The dedicated right-turn between Crestwood and Indigo Road will be eliminated in the northbound direction, and a through lane will be removed in the southbound direction.

A two-way center turn lane will be put in between Indigo and Bethlehem using the existing median.

There would continue to be on-street parking on Libbie between around Bethlehem and Indigo, with additional on-street parking added to Libbie between Indigo and Crestwood.

The project is currently in its early design stages, and the plan is to start construction in spring 2025. A combination of local and federal money will fund the project. A public informational meeting about the project is anticipated to be held in late spring or early summer of this year, Briggs said.

libbie ave project map

A map showing the half-mile section of Libbie Avenue slated for new pedestrian and bike access. The project area is shown in purple between Broad Street and Bethlehem Road. (Courtesy Henrico County)

A section of the project area runs alongside the acreage in the northwestern corner of Libbie Mill that was until recently the site of 30 single-family homes that have since been demolished to make way for further expansion of Libbie Mill.

Gumenick Properties, meanwhile, is underway on the last few hundred apartments that will fill out the development’s approved capacity of multi-family units. And Yellow Umbrella, a longtime local fishmonger, meat and specialty foods market, is planning to open an outpost at Libbie Mill.

The pedestrian and bike improvements on Libbie Avenue come as Henrico is planning a roundabout at Libbie and Bethlehem as part of a $6.3 million project on Bethlehem slated to begin in May of this year, according to the county’s website.

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Andrew Smithe
Andrew Smithe
21 days ago

Partner with the city and run it as far to Grove as possible

Thomas Carter
Thomas Carter
21 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Smithe

…otherwise it is a bike path from nowhere to nowhere.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
21 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Carter

You have to start somewhere…

Peter James
Peter James
21 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Smithe

That would be the ideal – connecting Libbie Mill and Westhampton. Perhaps this initial stretch is the “test swatch” to see how well it works, how much it’s used, and whether it’s worth the cost of construction.

Nonetheless, I definitely love the idea of running this all the way down to Libbie and Grove.

Justin Ranson
Justin Ranson
21 days ago
Reply to  Peter James

might as well take it one intersection further to finish at Cary

Peter James
Peter James
20 days ago
Reply to  Justin Ranson

Agreed.

Andrew Clarke
Andrew Clarke
19 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Smithe

County is taking it as far as they can…then it’s up to the City.

Joseph Cook
Joseph Cook
21 days ago

LOVE the idea of a shared use path! There are so many suburban and semi-suburban places this is a better idea than a bike lane and/or sidewalk.

Zach Rugar
Zach Rugar
21 days ago

Only other thing I would get rid of is the center 2 way turning lane. Unless it’s only a single travel lane each way. they need to remove it for the sake of safety.

Steve Cook
Steve Cook
21 days ago

Maybe someone more astute than I can help me understand how it makes sense to spend 4 million bucks on a half-mile bike path. I’m not a cyclist, so I don’t know. Do most cyclist enjoy just going a half mile and then turning around and going back? If not, then what do they do when they reach the end of the dedicated path? Just merge into traffic and take their chances as they do in most areas? I hope I dont’ sound like a cycle-phobe. I just don’t understand.

Roger Sattler
Roger Sattler
21 days ago
Reply to  Steve Cook

Hi Steve,
This is not spending 4 million on a path for cyclists to just ride back and forth. Think of it as spending 4 million on smart infrastructure that creates a permanent link to connect neighborhoods to retail centers, giving this increasingly population-dense area access for day-to-day needs without starting up their cars for short trips. Of course, exercise and being outside more often is the silver lining.

Michael Boyer
Michael Boyer
21 days ago

These bike lanes are very rarely used .Most cyclists ride in groups of 25+blocking an entire lane getting in motorists way.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
21 days ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

I’ve seen people ride in the bike lanes. I personally though see Bike Lanes as creating a buffer between the fast moving traffic and the sidewalk.

Kathi Clark Wong
Kathi Clark Wong
21 days ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

Here is a video which explains the “science” behind the design and use of bike paths and what an amazing contribution they can make to a city: Bike path network in Quebec. I hope that Richmond will some day have this kind of support for biking here.

Ramone Antonio
Ramone Antonio
20 days ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

Exactly these bike lanes are a waste. Create pathways for walkers and bikers. Meaning bigger sidewalks like on Williamsburg rd

Polgar Concertado
Polgar Concertado
21 days ago

$4M? How?

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
21 days ago

Henrico County always runs rings around Chesterfield County and the City of Richmond combined when it comes to getting new sidewalks built.
If this was Chesterfield they would build a 150 foot long sidewalk and then have ten phases to get a 1000 foot sidewalk.