Henrico approves to study pedestrian, bicyclist safety on Parham Road

$250K Study to improve safety and accessibility in Henrico

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Part of Parham Road could get an upgrade in terms of safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and people with disabilities after Henrico County leaders approved money for a study Tuesday night.

The Department of Public Works, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), want to analyze Parham and Hungary roads in the vicinity of Cleveland Street and Villa Park Drive to see what kind of changes could be made.

The resolution will authorize the county to enter an agreement with VDOT to prepare a preliminary engineering study for improvements to the area.

“There is nowhere for anyone to walk safely, especially if you are in a mobility-assisted device,” Henrico County Public Works Director Steve Yob said. “You have a very difficult time navigating this area.”

Area resident Brian Montgomery has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized scooter for transportation. It’s a struggle he experiences every day.

“I’ve been hit twice,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery has worked with Henrico County over the last 10 years to get sidewalks and pedestrian crossings built along Parham and Brook Road. Now the goal is to bring those same improvements across the street.

“They need to be able to access the grocery stores and shopping facilities that are around here,” Yob said. “Right now, there’s really no way for them to cross this very busy street.”

Pedestrians, bicyclists and those with disabilities face a dangerous trek across Parham Road, including uneven paving, drainage issues and a lack of crosswalks and sidewalks.

“If the drainage doesn’t get fixed, it will short out people’s wheel chairs,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery showed NBC12 just how inaccessible it was getting to the area where the proposed study will happen. He had to stay on the pavement along the edge of the road as cars passed.

“It’s too steep,” he said. “When you go down and to try and come back up, you’d get stuck.”

"This is a very necessary improvement,” Yob added. “We have a lot of customers who get around here on foot."

The county would pay up to $250,000 for the study. VDOT would reimburse the County 100 percent of the eligible project cost later.

“They’ll come ask some of the public what’s needed,” Montgomery said. “If they ask, I’ll sure chime in on it."

Both Yob and the county manager have recommended the board approve plans for this study.

The improvements could include sidewalks, crosswalks and paved trails that could connect to the proposed Ashland to Petersburg Trail, depending on the route that is selected at a future date.

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