Home Waynesboro traffic garden, greenway to provide a safe space to learn to ride a bike
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Waynesboro traffic garden, greenway to provide a safe space to learn to ride a bike

child on bike near crosswalk
(© candy1812 – stock.adobe.com)

Children will soon have a safe place to learn to ride a bike without any cars in the City of Waynesboro.

A traffic garden will be installed later this year that will teach kids the rules of the road with stop signs, yield signs, a roundabout and more. The parcel of land for the project is large and will allow for almost every scenario except a traffic light.

A joint project of the City of Waynesboro Parks and Recreation Department, the Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth and the Rotary Club of Waynesboro, construction is slated to begin later this summer, and the goal is to have the traffic garden open in the fall.

The Rotary Club of Waynesboro is pitching in as part of its centennial celebration which kicks off July 1. The club has agreed to donate a minimum of $25,000 to the project.

“We wanted a way to make a meaningful impact and give back to the community as part of our centennial celebration,” said Lora Hamp, president-elect for the noon rotary club. “We’ll be doing many things but at the top of the list was a community project.

“We were very excited about it, the idea being you have this safe space for kids to go learn how to practice riding their bikes while also learning the rules of the road.”

In addition to funding, the Rotary Club of Waynesboro has been involved in the design process and is hoping to volunteer with installation and any ongoing needs.

“We hope that this will inspire children to get outdoors more and have that experience to interact with one another and to get their families out there as well,” Hamp said.

The club also plans to install benches and picnic tables down the road.

“We hope it’s going to be a nice gathering space for the whole community,” she said.

Steve Garon, the Safe Routes to School coordinator for the Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth is hoping the traffic garden will serve as an extension of its program that already encourages kids to walk and bike to school.

“There aren’t a lot of good places for young riders to learn how to ride in a car-free environment,” Garon said.

Submitted, draft of proposed traffic garden in Waynesboro (not the final design)

He said the project was only on paper for a couple of years, but everything came together all at once when the old DuPont parking lot was going to be reconfigured, and the Rotary Club of Waynesboro was looking to do something for its centennial project.

“It’s basically a miniaturized road network,” Garon said. “It’s going to have stop signs and yield signs, a roundabout and crosswalk. It’s all the things that you might encounter on a roadway.”

He said they plan to make the space colorful and visually appealing for the families using the space to train the next generation of cyclists.

“I think it’s gonna be a wonderful community amenity,” Garon said. “Not just for kids, but for families. They’re going to be located right there in the South River Preserve which I think makes it all the more special that kids can master the basics of the traffic garden and then graduate to the greenway.”

The traffic garden will be located in Constitution Park in Waynesboro near the former ice house plant.

The Rotary Club of Waynesboro meets at noon on Wednesday at Orchard Creek.

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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.