Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Columbus Council mulls rules for Rails-to-Trails project

Columbus Councilors debated Tuesday how fast bicyclists and others may go on the new 11-mile Rails-to-Trails project and during which hours the public may use it.

Council considered an ordinance Tuesday governing the $12.5 million trail that starts at 14th Street downtown and ends on Psalmond Road. Council could approve the ordinance when it meets Tuesday before the Christmas break.

During a public hearing on the proposal, council changed the required speed limit for bikes and reconsidered a rule to close the path from dusk to dawn.

A speed limit of 10 mph for bikes was removed and replaced with directions to operate two-wheeled vehicles at a safe speed according to conditions.

City Manager Isaiah Hugley said the city staffers will get with neighborhood residents along the trail and come up with a workable time.

Councilor Glenn Davis opposed limiting the use of the trail to daylight hours.

Bikers supported the city’s efforts to build the trail but didn’t want tougher restrictions on the trail. Trip Layfield, who lives near Lakebottom Park, said a light on his bike allows him to ride at night. “Dusk to dawn is a little restrictive.”

The trail won’t be completed until next year but Hugley noted that residents are already using parts of the path and there are no rules.

Some councilors also were concerned about lighting on the trail even though residents along the path don’t want people behind their homes late at night. Hugley said there may be some commercial stretches along the path that can be lighted for night time use without impacting residents.

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