Changes coming to busy intersection in Blacksburg

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 4:43 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - There are some changes coming to one busy intersection in Blacksburg.

It’s a part of an effort to promote safety for cyclists.

They are called bike boxes and they’re coming to Blacksburg.

“And they are an area for bicyclists to use, especially at a red light, to position themselves in the appropriate lane, depending on which direction they’re planning to travel,” said Maeve Gould, the comprehensive planner for the town of Blacksburg.

They are big green boxes. The town plans to add them on Prices Fork Road, Toms Creek Road and Stranger Street intersection.

“The bike boxes project is a part of a larger project that’s looking at increasing bicyclist and pedestrian safety. It’s a really high traffic intersection for people walking, people biking and people driving. And so we wanted to increase safety and visibility of both pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Kali Casper, the assistant planning director for the town of Blacksburg.

The goal is to prevent crashes if a car turns right and cyclists are in the intersection.

“Can also help with pedestrian safety by creating a small buffer between the crosswalks and where the vehicles stop behind the bike box, so it helps both the bicyclist get out in front of the vehicles when they’re moving through an intersection, and then it also helps keep people driving a little bit further away,” said Casper.

The first part of the project is complete. Sidewalks are wider and there are pedestrian countdown timers around the intersection.

“There are several student housing developments in the area and that’s a primary route into Virginia Tech’s campus. And so since we have such high volumes of people who are walking and people who are biking - the town wanted to increase their safety and their visibility to the people who are driving through that intersection,” said Casper.

The intersection will not shut down completely as it’s being built; teams will work on one lane at a time.

The cost of the bike boxes and biking lanes is between $35,000 and $40,000.

Planners hope to have the project done by the end of the year.

You can read more about the project on ‘Let’s Talk Blacksburg’.

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