Stoplights, wider sidewalks potential changes coming to Blacksburg's Prices Fork Road

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) The way bikes, cars, and people travel Prices Fork Road in Blacksburg may be changing.

A consulting firm is recommending major road upgrades to make the road safer and easier to drive by widening sidewalks and adding four new stoplights.

The road is a section of town that continues to grow with new neighborhoods. As more students make their way to Virginia Tech, the town is putting an emphasis on pedestrian safety.

"In some cases there are on-street bike lanes, in some cases there are shared use paths, some places there are sidewalks but there's no consistency throughout that corridor," said Kali Casper, Blacksburg Comprehensive Planner.

Driving into Blacksburg from the west could look different. Proposed changes show a reconstructed road with 10 foot sidewalks, bike lanes, and new bike routes.

VHB, a consulting firm, spent the last year studying traffic patterns and driver and pedestrian habits along this stretch of Prices Fork Road and developed a plan to make everyone safer and clear up some inconsistencies.

"Those kinds of improvements are really long-term so they need to be considered maybe as capitol improvement projects as looking for outside sources of funding to look at building those," Casper said.

Casper says this is one of the most cyclist-heavy roads in Blacksburg. New student housing has also brought more pedestrian traffic. It's all equaled to more crashes. From 2011 to last year 348 crashes were reported along the stretch of road.

"How to accommodate all of those modes in the future is really important for us," Casper said.

It could be a while before any of the major upgrades are built. For now, the firm recommended short term fixes that include repainting roads, trimming trees and shrubs, and modifying pedestrian signs.