Virginia Beach's Town Center, a burgeoning mixed-use urban center and a portion of the Pembroke Strategic Growth Area
, is bounded on the south and east by Thalia Creek, a tributary of the Lynnhaven River. Thalia Creek forms a beautiful, natural buffer between Town Center and the nearby residential neighborhoods, but is also a barrier to active travel. A vision for a greenway along Thalia Creek first started up in the mid-90s with two broad goals:
- Improve pedestrian access between Town Center and the neighborhoods; and
- Open up the Thalia Creek corridor for the enjoyment of citizens on both sides.
A greenway is a linear corridor of protected open space, often including trails and following natural land and/or water features linking parks, urban centers and residential districts with each other.
The City worked with consultants and an active community through 2006 and 2007 to develop the Thalia Creek Greenway Master Plan
. View the concept plan below (click image to view larger)
Development of the Thalia Creek Greenway will occur in multiple phases.Phase 1 - Completed
The builder of Midtown Apartments built approximately 300 feet of the trail in 2009 as a part of the private development. This portion of the trail remains on private property for now, but the plan is to open it to the public when Phase 2 connects to it.
A 435-foot bridge from Constitution Drive to Midtown Apartments was built in 2011 with cost savings from the Constitution Drive extension project. It is 10’ wide and uses LED lighting for nighttime use.
Phase 2 - Under Design
In November 2011, Parks & Recreation applied for funding through the Transportation Enhancements Program. This program is intended for bikeways and other enhancements to the transportation network. In June 2012, VDOT awarded a $640,000 grant to the City for this project.
The initial design work revealed difficulties implementing the project as proposed, so City staff worked with VDOT to change the scope of the project. The new scope runs from the west end of the Midtown Apartments trail to a connection with Bonney Road.
With the difficulties resolved, the current project is moving forward and design is complete. Acquisition of small portions of right-of-way for the project will begin shortly. Construction could begin in mid-2016 and is expected to last about one year.
Phase 3 - Future
In November 2014, Parks & Recreation applied for more funding through the Transportation Alternatives Program, which suceeded the Transportation Enhancements Program. In June 2015, VDOT awarded a $1,000,000 grants to the City for this project. Phase 3 will connect from Phase 2 to Independence Blvd.
The 2007 Master Plan includes a continuation across Constitution Drive to connect to the Transit Corridor and then Virginia Beach Blvd. Another line will continue across Bonney Road to connect to Mount Trashmore Park via a bridge, which will provide a valuable bike-pedestrian linkage across I-264 as envisioned in the master plan and the Pembroke SGA Plan. Currently, the nearest crossing points for bikes and pedestrians are at the busy interchanges with Independence Blvd and Rosemont Rd.