Home Harrisonburg: City asks public for feedback on safety plan for Gay Street

Harrisonburg: City asks public for feedback on safety plan for Gay Street

harrisonburg gay street reconfiguration
Submitted photo

The City of Harrisonburg is looking for the public’s input as it creates a safer way to navigate Gay Street in downtown. The project, between Broad and Liberty streets, would reconfigure Gay Street lanes and add additional safety infrastructure.

The Public Works department will host an open house on Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center Auditorium at 620 Simms Ave.

Community members will view proposed project plans and have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. Funding for the project is through the Virginia Highway Improvement Program.

The current lane configuration of Gay Street in this area requires those driving or biking to change lanes at one or more locations in order to continue straight on the street. This project proposes revising the configuration to improve operations and safety for people driving, biking and walking.

Changes include creation of turn lanes to safely accommodate left turns, addition of bike lanes and construction of additional crosswalks and curb ramps at Main Street and Broad Street.

These improvements can be made without widening the road so there should be minimal impact to adjacent properties.

The concept for this project was first identified in the 2014 Downtown Streetscape Plan. A study was completed in 2022.

“The city is excited to discuss with the community the potential changes on Gay Street – a project that would build upon recent reconfiguration projects to make our city streets safer for travelers while increasing infrastructure for more methods of travel,” said Erin Fisher, Harrisonburg Public Works transportation manager.

The new configuration to this section of Gay Street strives to:

  • Make the corridor easier to navigate, given its current configuration and complexity of how vehicular traffic must maneuver
  • Make the corridor safer, as the reconfiguration reduces conflicts between vehicles and is anticipated to encourage drivers to not exceed the speed limit.
  • Build upon existing and planned bike lane infrastructure, enhancing connectivity
  • Create safe and accessible pedestrian facilities by upgrading curb ramps at multiple locations and installing a new crosswalk, with pedestrian signals, across Main Street at Gay Street

Attendees of the April 3 open house will have the opportunity to:

  • View before and after proposed project diagrams
  • Speak directly with city staff about the project and share ideas
  • Express thoughts and questions through a public questionnaire that will be available during and after the event

The project questionnaire will be available at the open house and then digitally until May 1.

Written or oral questions and comments may be submitted to Brittany Clem-Hott by emailing [email protected] or calling (540) 434-5928, before or after the open house.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.