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.
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.