Longview seeks input on bike, pedestrian plan
Jimmy Daniell Isaac
Sept. 22, 2017 at 12:07 a.m.
Updated Sept. 22, 2017 at 9:43 a.m.
As a dual-credit student and member of Longview Area Multi-Sport Association, Jared Rose made sure Thursday that the city's plan for non-motorized travel included his thoughts.
He was among dozens of attendees at LeTourneau University for an open house about the bike and pedestrian plan being developed by consultants and the city's Metropolitan Planning Organization.
A second open house is planned for this evening at Gregg County Historical Museum and Downtown Live at Heritage Plaza. Surveys and information about the plan are available on the city's website.
"I also really want to help be a part of the community here ," Rose said, "because I'm planning on ascending here next fall, so I do think that with me biking a lot it would be a good thing for me to come here and be a part of the new bike lanes and the new ways for Longview to be better for biking and walking and stuff like that."
Thursday's open house afforded LeTourneau University students the opportunity to view plans and interact with consultants without leaving campus.
"We do feel like the ability to have bike paths and pedestrian walkways between us and downtown and throughout all of South Longview would be a benefit to our students, faculty and staff throughout the whole community," university spokeswoman Janet Ragland said.
Amy Henry is neither a bicyclist nor much of a pedestrian, but she said her interest in seeing her neighborhood become more convenient to walkers and cyclists had her wanting to know more about the plan.
"I live in South Longview down on High Street, and I just see a need for sidewalks and bike things, because a lot of people in this area either bike or walk," Henry said. "I probably would do more. When my family was growing up, we used to bike. I think we would possibly do more if it was safer."
Safety is among the concerns that consultants said they want to learn from residents in the greater Longview area that stretches from Lake Gladewater and Glenwood Acres in Upshur County to near Hallsville in Harrison County and south to Lakeport.
"We're at the very beginning of the project, so right now, it's still information gathering from people," said Zak Lockrem, principal director of planning for the Asakura Robinson firm in Houston.
"Talk to us about where you live, where you work, where you want to get to, places that you find especially dangerous," Lockrem said. "We'll be taking all of that information back and really start to think through what the first steps are, what the low-hanging fruit is and how to put it together."
Consultants expect to complete a first draft of the plan in January.
"Citizen input is critical to the success of this plan," city transportation planning manager Karen Owen said. "We want to hear where folks want to go, where they're living, where they want to ride their bike, from what point to what point, where would they like to walk, from what point to what point, where are they going, where do they want to go, and do they see barriers."
An interactive website — www.longviewtexas.gov/3422/Walk-and-Bike-Plan — is available that allows residents to complete a survey, identify barriers and opportunities on a map and learn more about the plan.