Bicycle advocacy in Williamsburg

You Asked Mayor Zeidler

QUESTION:Mayor Zeidler, I would like to know what you think is possible to show your interest in Bicycle advocacy in Williamsburg?. Many other Mayors ride their bikes to work to promote commuting in their area, and in a town like ours that would be beneficial to the public. Although the bike path has been built, Williamsburg tends to not be bicycle friendly based on the common disinterest in bicycle safety by many drivers. How can you change that, and help Williamsburg become a better commuting town? I am aware of May being bike month, however there are many year round commuters and local hobbist. Can you stress the bicycle laws in the paper, on the websites etc…Maybe you can puch for more bike lanes. Thanks!

ANSWER: Thanks so much for your email. I appreciate your enthusiasm for bicycling in Williamsburg. I love to ride my bicycle, but lately I’ve been walking to work. It gives me a chance to talk to people I may meet on the street. Come spring, though, you just might see me out and about. Our Planning Director, Reed Nester, regularly commutes by bicycle.

All of us on Council care very much about making the city pedestrian and bicycle friendly. We’ve been actively working on bicycle issues since 1992. We now have 14 miles of bicycle facilities in the City, over 50 miles in the area. You mentioned our second Bike/Walk to Work day — we’re going to try to expand it next year to reach out to different populations.

We’re also concerned about pedestrian safety. Last fall we worked with the police department in late October to increase patrols at crosswalks and send out information to the media about rules of the road and the importance of being respectful.

This year the City teamed up with the Active Williamsburg Alliance and the College of William & Mary Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) to promote the inaugural Virginia Cycling & Pedestrian Awareness Week during September 13-20. On Tuesday, September 15, we co-sponsored a seminar at the College and open to the public on safety tips for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers. We had a good cross-section of students and residents attending.

That was just the beginning. We’re going to do more in the future. We have some safety information on our website but you’re right we can and will be doing more. We intend to broadcast a safety video on channel 48 soon.

The HTBAC (Historic Triangle Bicycle Advisory Committee) advises local governments, and Rodney Rhodes (our Zoning Administrator) is the City’s representative. They developed a regional bikeway plan that has been incorporated into the local Comprehensive Plans for the three jurisdictions. Their activities may be of interest to you — and I’m sure they’d welcome input.

There’s always more we can do, though, so we appreciate your ideas and energy.

Thanks so much for contacting me.

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