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Published: Wednesday, 12/5/2001

Signs point bicyclists in right direction

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The sign at Bancroft east of Richards points the way. The sign at Bancroft east of Richards points the way.
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It should now be easy to find the area's first bikeway.

Rectangular roadway signs have recently been put up to designate the bikeway, which runs from western Lucas County, along Bancroft Street, and stretches to its eastern edge, ending on Corduroy Road in Jerusalem Township.

Diane Reamer-Evans, transportation planner for the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, said the signs, designating what officially is known as Regional Bike Route 20, are the first to mark what is intended to be a network of 22 bikeways throughout the council's area.

Ms. Reamer-Evans said the council's pedestrian and bikeways committee intends to distribute maps of proposed bike routes to bicycle shops and other places with the hope that cyclists give feedback and suggest alternatives.

Some of the proposed routes will run from southern Monroe County to southern Wood County, and once they are all established, 11 will run north and south and 11 will be east-west routes.

Much of the signed route does not have a separate bike lane and the signs are only for directional purposes. “They are meant primarily to direct a cyclist from point A to point B.'' she said.

Edward O'Reilly, chairman of the pedestrian and bikeways committee, said the route and others may not always be friendly to cyclists because of narrow roads and motor traffic.

Mr. O'Reilly is an avid cyclist and a citizen member of the committee.

He said the east-west route was chosen to be the first to have signs because no construction is planned and the route is relatively direct across the county.

The ``road is rideable,'' but Mr. O'Reilly acknowledged that, “a lot of our streets aren't bike or pedestrian friendly.''

The new signs may serve as a reminder to motorists that bicyclists over the age of 12 are supposed to use the street, he said, and that they have generally the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles.

The signs are meant as a small step in promoting transportation methods other than driving, Mr. O'Reilly said.

John Drake, owner of Bikeworks, 5631 Alexis Rd., said he has noticed the signs. “I wondered what the heck they were. Then people started asking me, because they thought I'd know,'' he said.

Mr. Drake said he approved of the signed routes as navigational aids, but cautioned that cyclists should be aware that they could encounter problems along some stretches because of the road surface and the amount of traffic.

Nevertheless, he added, “Anything that can get people to ride safer and ride more, I'm in favor of.''

Ron Myers of the Lucas County engineer's office said all the signs have been posted except for a short distance on the western end. He said those will be erected in that area when a construction project is finished.

Mr. Myers, another pedestrian and bikeways committee member, said the signs follow a mandated design in the state manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. He added that, where appropriate, the signs have an arrow to alert a cyclist of an upcoming turn. The route has a northbound spur is designated as Route 20A and leads to Maumee Bay State Park, he said.



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