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Berkeley Co. endorses 'share the road' signs along bike route

Martinsburg is being asked to adopt a separate resolution

Martinsburg is being asked to adopt a separate resolution

December 03, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. -- Efforts to make a popular route for bicyclists in Berkeley County safer by installing "share the road" signs was endorsed Thursday by the Berkeley County Commission.

The Commission adopted a resolution that approved a plan to install 10 signs along a route that includes Tuscarora Pike, Poor House Road, Apple Harvest Drive and Arden Nollville Road.

The Martinsburg City Council is being asked to adopt a separate resolution of support for installing a few signs from Tuscarora Pike to War Memorial Park off North Tennesee Avenue, according to Bill Yearout, chairmain of the Berkeley County Transportation Advisory Committee.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation is prepared to install the signs at no cost to the county or city after the paperwork is submitted to the state, Yearout told commissioners Thursday.

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"Although this route generally lacks shoulders or any official designation as a bike route, it has become popular by default, as cycling opportunities for enthusiasts are currently very limited within the county," Yearout wrote in a Nov. 17 letter to County Commissioner William L. "Bill" Stubblefield.

War Memorial Park and Poor House Farm Park, which is off Poor House Road, have become trailheads for the bike route, which Yearout said was the most popular in the county.

The signage project along 13.1 miles of what Yearout described as the "Martinsburg/Poor House Farm Loop" is moving forward as advocates for expanding biking and hiking in the Eastern Panhandle have joined to support a comprehensive vision for trails.

Eastern Panhandle Trailblazers Inc. is being established as a nonprofit organization that will serve as a resource for efforts to enhance biking and hiking opportunities in the region, Yearout said. The creation of a tax-exempt group to support trail development projects was part of the recommendations made by consultants with Rails-To-Trails Conservancy who compiled input from the community in July.

Potential trail connections include links to the C&O Canal across the Potomac River in Maryland and extensions from the new W.Va. 9 bicycle trail along the new four-lane route for the highway in Berkeley and Jefferson counties, Yearout said.

Jefferson County Commissioner Lyn Widmyer, who is part of the fledgling organization's board, said Thursday that she hopes the group can help unite trail-creation efforts in the Eastern Panhandle to establish a strong, clear concept going forward.

"There's huge opportunities, but you just need to have a vision," Widmyer said.

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