Peach County / Cities of Byron & Fort Valley Bicycle & Pedestrian Planning
Peach County and the Cities of Byron and Fort Valley are proud of their many efforts to make their communities’ bicycle and pedestrian friendly. This includes the preparation of a community-wide Bicycle-Pedestrian Plan to guide their efforts. The two tables found at the bottom of this summary highlight a variety of current and future initiatives. Some additional information related to on-going bicycle-pedestrian planning includes:
Sidewalks in Peach County are predominately restricted to the downtown areas of Byron and Fort Valley. As part of the Better Home Town Program and National Mainstreet Program respectively, these two cities are recognizing downtown as an important focal point for social, business, and living activities, and are working towards its redevelopment. This includes building and maintaining an adequate sidewalk network that improves foot mobility within the downtown area as well as providing pedestrian connections to other points of interest. In addition, recognizing the increasing number of bicyclists, the City of Byron is looking to become a major bicycle facility hub in the future, while Fort Valley is currently undergoing a comprehensive sidewalk assessment to improve pedestrian access to the downtown area.
The Georgia Department of Transportation in the mid-1990s prepared a Statewide Bicycle Plan that identified three routes through the Middle Georgia region; two of which pass through Peach County. The Central Route Corridor #15 comes out of Bibb County using US 41 and continues on this route to Dooly County and eventually to the Georgia-Florida line. The TransGeorgia Corridor #40 comes out of Crawford County on SR 96 and proceeds on this highway until it reaches Houston County then continues on until its terminus point on Bull Street in Savannah.
In 2004, the Georgia Department of Transportation contracted with each of the Regional Commissions (formerly RDCs) in the state to prepare a Regional Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan. The Georgia Department of Transportation, though requiring certain elements in the Regional Plan, gave the RCs flexibility to focus on the subject areas that would generate the most interest and have the most impact on the particular region. With this in mind, along with research conducted by the RC staff on available local and national bicycle/pedestrian plans and data, it was decided that one of the focus areas for the Middle Georgia Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan would be the establishment of a System of interregional bike and shared-use trails connecting major regional points of interest in the region. To derive this interregional system, the Plan utilized the state bike system as a base, then added “spurs” to these routes. Below are the recommended trails within Peach County:
Taking Central Route Corridor #15 and adding a spur through western Bibb County that would eventually connect to Peach County and Byron using Boy Scout Road. From Byron (which will be a major bicycle route hub), several spur routes were recommended; one along Highway 42 west to Highway 80, one along Highway 49 to Fort Valley where it connects to Highway 96 and the TransGeorgia Corridor Route #40), one along Moseley Road to Highway 49, and finally along White Road to Highway 41 where the Central Route continues south to the City of Perry to connect with their proposed shared-use trail system.
Maintaining the TransGeorgia Corridor #40 the exception of several scenic spurs east and west of the City of Fort Valley in Peach County.
As reflected in Table 1, the City of Byron has expressed interest in improving pedestrian accessibility in the downtown area and to the public schools and park off White Road, and to become a bicycle facility hub. Realizing Byron’s interest in future bicycle/pedestrian facilities, a separate facility plan was included for Byron in the Regional Plan. In addition, representatives from the City of Byron would also like to see over the long-term, the development of a shared-use facility from where the sidewalks end on White Road across the interstate bridge to a large residential subdivision currently under development. Table 2 presents the five-year implementation strategy for the City of Byron as well as the City of Fort Valley.