newsroadway reconfigurations to enhance safe transportation in harrisonburg

Roadway reconfigurations to enhance safe transportation in Harrisonburg

cyclist in bicycle lane
(© msnobody –

Harrisonburg Public Works is looking to create safer roads and a more connected network of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure around the community through roadway reconfiguration projects.

Harrisonburg Public Works will host an open house on March 30 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. where the public may learn more and ask questions about these projects. The open house will take place in the Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center Auditorium at 620 Simms Ave.

Roadway reconfiguration efforts seek to improve safety and operations on streets through modifying the use of the existing pavement to change the number and alignment of lanes. Most commonly, a road with two lanes in each direction is reconfigured to have one lane in each direction, a center turn lane and bicycle lanes in each direction, along with necessitated storage lanes or additional turn lanes where needed.

The city is considering reconfiguration projects for this summer on portions of Mount Clinton Pike, Garbers Church Road, East Market Street and Gay Street.

These projects are cost-neutral, taking place during the city’s annual paving schedule.

The Federal Highway Administration has shown this type of roadway reconfiguration to improve safety. According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, at least 27 reconfigurations have been completed in Virginia. Research shows an average crash reduction of 19 to 47 percent.

Benefits of road reconfigurations may include:

  • Reduction of rear-end and left-turn crashes due to the dedicated left-turn lane.
  • Reduced right-angle crashes as side street motorists cross three versus four travel lanes.
  • Fewer lanes for pedestrians to cross.
  • Opportunity to install pedestrian refuge islands, bicycle lanes, on-street parking, or transit stops.
  • Speeds more consistent with the posted speed limit, making them safer.
  • A more community-focused, complete streets environment that better accommodates the needs of all road users.
  • A low-cost safety solution when planned alongside a simple pavement overlay.

The city’s goal for each reconfiguration is to decrease crashes and improve the safety and desirability of biking and walking on the corridor. Specific corridors in Harrisonburg have been studied for reconfiguration, are funded for reconfiguration or have been identified for potential reconfiguration.

More information may be found at

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked 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.