Poplarville resident proposes bicycle path plan to Board of Aldermen

Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 25, 2018

Poplarville’s Board of Aldermen is considering a request from a local resident to create bicycle lanes and multi-use trails within the city.

During the Board’s meeting last week, Donald van de Werken presented the Board a proposed master plan to establish bicycle and multi-use paths.

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According to the Poplarville resident’s proposal, funding for the project could be applied for under the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternative Program.

Mayor Rossie Creel said he supports the plan even though it is in its early stages, provided the Board is able to find sufficient funding to support such an expensive endeavor. Creel did say a dedicated bicycle lane could make the city safer for bicyclists.

According to van de Werken’s master plan, the goal of the project is to develop bicycle routes, paved trails and other features that would encourage city residents to consider bicycling as an alternative mode of transportation.

Currently, there are no bicycle lanes in Poplarville nor signage stating that an area has been designated as a “Bike Route.” Van de Werken’s plan calls for the establishment of such routes in addition to installation of signs identifying these areas.

The proposal aims to construct biking trails that would allow cyclists to easily access schools, Pearl River Community College, downtown, city parks, major shopping areas, employment centers, industrial parks and medical facilities.

Some of the streets that could benefit from the establishment of bike lanes in the proposal included North Main Street, South Main Street, West North Street, Highway 26, Highway 53, Highway 11, Julie Street, High Street, Lamar Street, Martin Luther King Boulevard and Spring Hill Road.

Van de Werken’s plan involves several phases, the first of which he would like to see completed by 2019. That phase would create a path that would connect Pearl River Community College, the county courthouse, post office, farmers market and the Poplarville Library.

Five other phases are listed in his proposal as well, all with completion dates ranging from 2021 to 2029.

According to the proposal, van de Werken foresees the project being funded up to 80 percent through MDOT’s Surface Transportation Block Grant program.

No decision on van de Werken’s proposal has been made at press time, but the Board has taken it under advisement.