Cyclists propose path for future

Suggestions to make Wapakoneta a more cycling friendly community grabbed the attention Monday of Wapakoneta City Council members including the Streets, Alleys and Sidewalks Committee chair.

Scott Risner, who rides with the local group Revolution Cycling, addressed councilors at Monday’s meeting to propose ways to make the Wapakoneta community already rich with cycling history more appealing to a growing population who are riding their bicycles more and more for leisure and transportation.

“I am interested to see what proposals and suggestions Scott can come up with and I have asked him to meet with Mary Ruck of the City Engineering Department and to work with her on some drawings for possible bike routes throughout the community,” Councilor-at-large Dan Graf, who chairs the Streets, Alleys and Sidewalks Committee, said. “We need to know some of the specifications, such as how wide a bike path needs to be and what streets do we have that can accommodate a bike path.

“I am in favor of it and I also am strongly in favor of the city getting involved in purchasing more bike racks throughout the area,” he said. “I have seen first-hand the need for bike racks in downtown because many new bikes do not have a kick-stand and they need a rack so they don’t have to lay them down on the sidewalk.”

Councilor-at-large Tom Finkelmeier Jr., who champions the placement of sidewalks for the safety of pedestrians, said he would support efforts to ensure the safety of cyclists.

He inquired about possible federal and state funding to help with any potential project since it is part of the nation’s and state’s effort of “Going Green.” This would mirror funding for Safe Routes to Schools, which the city received nearly $1 million in funding through the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Risner started his appeal by noting Wapakoneta is home to Cranker’s Cycling Shop, a specialty bicycle shop which is a rarity in the box store era, the city has an active cycling group in Revolution Cycling, and the community has hosted the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure tour twice in the past decade.

“Cycling is increasing in popularity within our country and is not just with our youth in our community, but it is popular with all generations for a wide variety of reasons,” Risner said. “With this said, a few of us from the community came up with some suggestions to make Wapakoneta a more cycling friendly town at a small cost to the city.”

The group suggested posting “Share the Ride” signs to make motorists and pedestrians aware of cyclists, who have the same rights as other vehicles on the road.

They also suggested the placement of bike racks throughout the city including downtown Wapakoneta.

Lastly, they proposed a bike path connecting the schools, the Wapakoneta Family YMCA, city parks and the Auglaize County Fairgrounds.

Risner said they would like a bike path along Redskin Trail, Hamilton Street, Auglaize Street or the proposed riverscape walkway, Bellefontaine, Wagner and Benton Streets.

He said a bike path is typically 2 feet in width.