Group hoping to make city safer for pedestrians

A group of Create Buckhannon members is looking for new ways to get from Point A to Point B and beyond, using their own two feet and legs.

The subcommittee of the grassroots organization is trying to make Buckhannon more friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists.

“When I was a student here, I had a bicycle,” C.J. Rylands said, “and I could get around town faster than my friends who had cars.”

There are a few trails for local residents to use, most along the river near the West Virginia Wesleyan campus. But many of the walking areas are not connected, and the group is looking to find ways and funding to making a loop around the town.

“When we moved here last year, it became clear pretty quickly how dangerous it can be to cross Kanawha Street,” said Erica Ullman.

The current trails do allow for cycling, but the problem faced by riders is that they still have to haul their bicycles to the trail. The group wants to find ways to make it easier for riders and walkers to access a trail from their own homes. He said many riders complain of unsafe conditions as they try to make their way through vehicle traffic to get to the riding areas.

“We want to see how we can link these spaces and create a pathway,” Rylands said. “Things are underutilized and they don’t get maintained because nobody is shining a light on them.”

Rylands envisions a trail or loop with exercise stations, benches for resting and even historical markers telling the story of Buckhannon and its topics of interest.

“We want to give an authentic view of our community, tell our story, and it’s free to do,” he said.