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Policies and Programs

Getting the community to engage in active transportation requires nothing short of a transformation of the car culture.

For the past century, through every conceivable medium, the automobile has been presented as the embodiment of the American dream.  The automobile is associated with freedom, mobility, personality and status.  After over 100 years of effective marketing, it is no wonder that most Americans hop into their cars for even the shortest of trips.  Trips that by most objective and subjective measures are better suited for walking or bicycling.

While the lack of a safe, convenient and comfortable route is often a major contributing factor, the lack of infrastructure is only one part of the equation.  Three non-infrastructure issues must be addressed in order to achieve the goals of getting a greater number of people walking and bicycling for everyday transportation:

  1. Walking and/or bicycling must be in a person’s consciousness when they are making a decision to make a trip.
  2. Walking and/or bicycling need to be viewed as being a desirable or rewarding option to the person making the choice.
  3. The person needs to have sufficient resources (appropriate shoes, a bike in good working order, knowledge of a good route, etc.) to feel comfortable doing something different.

To address those issues a number of Policies and Programs are proposed.  Please click on the following links for additional information:

  • Active Transportation Events
  • Regional/County Policies and Programs
  • Bluffton Policies and Programs
  • Delphos Policies and Programs
  • Lima Policies and Programs
  • Spencerville Policies and Programs
  • American Township Policies and Programs
  • Bath Township Policies and Programs
  • Shawnee Township Policies and Programs
  • Perry Township Policies and Programs

Active Transportation Events Calendar

Getting people to break out of a well-entrenched habit does not happen overnight. One event, a singular news story or a flyer will have no lasting impact. Culture change is a gradual transformation where new ideas permeate into a wide cross-section of society throughout an extended time period. In essence this is a campaign with a simple message. That message is that active living is a rewarding life style. Easily understood, yes, but like quitting smoking or eating healthier, understanding what you should do does not equate actually doing what you know you should.To help build community consciousness of the issue a drumbeat of activities tailored to specific interest groups are proposed throughout the year. It is not expected that everyone will participate in every activity. We are hoping to get them engaged at least one that fits their interests and current situation. But if promoted effectively, they will hear about all of the other events and together they will begin to feel like they are a part of some larger, community-wide initiative.

A total of 26 events are proposed arranged round five themes: Safe Routes to School; Something Special, Everyday Fitness; Building the Bike Culture and All Hands on Deck. While 26 events proposed may seem daunting, many of them are actually small events that will require minimal planning. Some may start out small and grow year to year. Some may start out as a single event and then become something that participants carry on with minimal or no outside assistance through much of the year.

A key aspect of all of these events is to cover them in a variety of news outlets. This will not only help attract new participants at the next event, but plant seeds of information in the population.

Schedule

Safe Routes to School

A typical misunderstanding of safe routes to school programs is that they are oriented solely to the schools themselves. Encouraging more children to walk and bike to school and assuring that they have safe passage is the responsibility of the entire community. A single resident with no school age children living with them at home can have a profound impact on who walks or bikes to school. Likewise, the number of kids that walk to school can have a significant impact on the amount of morning rush hour traffic.

Shovel for Scholars

In the winter, the conditions of a community’s sidewalks influence how many kids walk. A single un-shoveled section of sidewalk can be a deterrent for many children and an unsurmountable obstacle for someone in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller. In January, a public service campaign should communicate to residents and businesses that they should strive to clear their walks before school. The message should note that the fight against childhood obesity can be fought with a snow shovel by the people who don’t even have any kids of their own. It should also remind motorists to be on the alert for kids walking to school in the dark.

Walk Around the World

If a classroom of 25 kids walked to school rather than being driven by a parent an average ½ mile each day that has the potential to eliminate up to 125 miles of travel each week. Elementary classes should be encouraged to track the classes total walking and bicycling mileage for the month of March. They can plot their progress on a map of the country and then combine their progress with classes around the school district to see how far they have come together. They can also calculate how many calories they have burned as well as how much gas, money and greenhouse emissions they have saved. The progress at the end of the month should be shared with the local media outlets.

Bike Train Blast

In May when the weather begins to warm up groups of kids should be encouraged to form Bike Trains. Bike trains are comprised of a group of children riding their bikes to school with one or more supervising adults. Bike trains address three key issues. First, is the fear parents may have for the personal safety of their child when they travel to or from school by themselves. Second, an adult can help guide children who may not be quite ready skill or judgment wise to ride a bike to school by themselves. Third, the larger group of cyclists along with the presence of an adult makes the group more visible to motorists and improves safety. The bike train leaders could be volunteer parents who rotate the duty. The schools should facilitate the process by helping plan routes and schedules and posting sign-up sheets and information. Local media should be contacted to both promote the idea as well as inform motorists what to expect.

Bike Rodeo

Over the summer would be a good time to organize a series of bike rodeos around the County. Bike Rodeo’s are typically half-day skill building events that feature a number of stations for kids to learn bike safety basics in fun hand-on activities. Bike Rodeo’s can be a little more complex to organize than some other events as they require a large number of skilled people to pull off a successful event. They are often done in conjunction with other community events. The payback is that it teaches not only the children new skills, but often the parents as well. Given the organizational demands of this it would be ideal for the County to have a set event that they can take to the different communities and enlist the help with the local police.

Walking School Bus Week

At the start of the school year in September the elementary schools should facilitate the organization of informal Walking School Buses. Walking school buses are arguably one of the most effective and easiest to implement safe routes to school strategies. Children who start walking in groups with adult supervision in the early elementary years typically continue to walk in groups unsupervised in the later part of elementary school and when they go to middle school. The elementary schools should facilitate the process by helping plan routes and schedules and posting sign-up sheets and information. Local media should be contacted to both promote the idea as well as inform motorists to keep an eye out for children walking to school.

Still Walking Wednesday

With the advent of daylight savings time and the weather turning cooler students and parents could use a refresher about the benefits of walking or bicycling to school. The purpose is to help the walking school buses keep going and inform motorists to be on the alert in the dark morning hours for children walking to school.

Something Special

These are little celebrations of active living. They are used to initiate people into activities that they may not currently embrace and provide the support of a larger group.

Winter Warrior Warm-ups

As New Year’s resolutions are beginning to fall to the wayside, February is a good time to encourage people to keep active. Also, winter tends to be a time of social isolation due to people not spending as much time outside and losing touch with their neighbors. Winter Warrior Warm-ups are a series of Saturday morning outdoor walks. Each weekend will be at a different location. The reservoir trails, the river trail and the Metro Park trails are all good options. These could be accompanied by media articles that talk about simple strategies for keeping warm while keeping active outside in the winter.

Meet Half-way Hikes

When the weather begins to get a little warmer, April is a good time to push the distances a little further and explore some future trail routes. For example, at the same time a group of people leaves Lima and walks west towards Spencerville along the railroad line as a group from Spencerville walks east to Lima. The meet at the halfway point, trade a few stories and a snack and then head back. The groups do not need to be large. Local media should always be encouraged to come along as these hikes could be turned into articles about what the connection may look like some day. Each weekend could devoted to a different intercity corridor. If done each year, these could serve as a way to benchmark progress on the corridor development.

Reservoir Rendezvous

The trails on the levees of the Bresler Lake, Lost Creek, Ferguson, Lima and Schoonover Park Reservoirs are great active living resources. To encourage even more use, each weekend in June should be hold a small event at a different reservoir. This will encourage people to try new places so they don’t get bored with a routine at the same place each weekend. Officials representing the City, Township or Park that the reservoir is located in should be on hand to welcome the walkers and help generate a little publicity. Participants should be encouraged to up their mileage a little bit each weekend as well as continue on their own after June.

Righteous Riverside Ramble

In August, churches should encourage their congregations to meet on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon to bike the riverside trail as well as take part in some minor service project along the trail. The message would be taking care of body as well as spirit and a way for the church to show its commitment to the community as a whole. Interfaith groups could meet to discuss strategies such as different churches or denominations take different weekends or if there is the opportunity for some interfaith efforts. Churches could also encourage parishioners to bike to church on Sundays by providing places to park their bikes and messages that shorts and short sleeve shirts are welcome during the summer.

All Allen, All Active, All-At-Once

Each weekend in October, residents in each community in Allen County are encouraged to participate in some outdoor activity such as walking, running, bicycling, etc. and then log their time and/or miles on a website. The website could be used to track statistics and have the communities compete on a per capita basis on which community is the most active. Weekends could be even themed where one weekend is all about biking and the next running, etc.

Everyday Fitness

While the special events open up people to the opportunities, it is when they integrate activity into their everyday activities that a pattern gets engrained. All of these events could be part of an active commuter challenge program that lasts the entire year. The main pitch of the program would be the benefits of a healthy active workforce.

This program would have a website where individuals and employers could register and log their commutes or workplace sponsored activities. Individuals and employers could then track the number of active commute miles as well as calories burned, gallons of gas saved and greenhouse gasses eliminated. Few people would use the system year round but special events throughout the year would keep the idea fresh.

Token awards could be provided for individual meeting personal goals or racking up the most mileage in a particular category for an event. Employers could also get awards based on their size and percentage of people participating. At the end of an event a press release should be prepared that shows how many miles were done via an active commute and the resulting calories burned and greenhouse gasses eliminated.

Cool Commute Challenge

In January, the Cool Commute Challenge will work to dispel the myth that people simply don’t walk or bike to work in the winter. Accompanying the challenge would be a workshop on winter bicycle commuting. On particularly snowy days there should be an effort through various media to show how walking or bicycling to work was actually easier and more pleasant than the frustrations of driving in bad weather.

Satellite Slim Down

In March, employees whose work commute is beyond a reasonable walking or bicycling distance will be encouraged to park in remote lots and walk or bike the last mile or two to work. For the first year or so, this plan should be implemented in Lima and then if successful it could be extended to other communities. Employees who live outside of Lima, in the surrounding townships and counties, would be encouraged to drive their normal commute to work; however, they would park a mile or so from work and then walk or bike the remaining distance. This program would utilize existing parking lots in City Parks and Johnny Appleseed Metro Parks that are adjacent to the Rotary Riverwalk/Ottawa River Bikeway. The parking lots will be identified via website along with suggested routes to major employment centers. The parking lots would be signed for the month and added police presence will be given to the parking lots and primary routes between employment centers and the parking lots. Temporary bicycle parking racks, that take the space of a car parking stall, could be added in these locations to provide additional bicycle parking if needed. The main purpose of this event is to increase physical activity for employees whose commute is too far too walk or bike to work on daily basis.

Bike to Work Week/Day

In May there is a National Bike to Work Week. Initially this may be limited only to the official bike to work week, During this time an effort should be made to promote safe bicycling as well as proving information on desirable bike routes. Employers and employees could participate in a week long and/or a month-long competition.

Mid-day Meander Monday’s

This would be held in July as a simple promotion to get people to walk during their lunch break. The idea is to promote exercise as something that can be done anytime and does not require special clothes or a gym membership.

Walk to Work Week

This would be held in September to encourage people to walk to work. The promotion would stress how much exercise someone would get by walking to work vs. driving. The promotion would also focus on how for trips 2 miles or less, a walking trip would likely not take much more time than driving. The event should highlight walking as a great low-impact exercise and an easy and enjoyable way for people to start getting more active.

Fat Tire Fridays

This is a follow-up to Bike to Work Week. It is an effort to promote biking to work at least one day a week. Fridays are chosen as many employers have a relaxed dress code on Friday and fat tires allude to the fact that you don’t need a special commuter bike.

Building a Bike Culture

A simple way to check the health of the local bicycling community is to take a quick inventory of the diversity of the bicycle stock. If most of the bikes are mountain bikes or hybrid bikes, chances are it is not much of a bicycling community. There simply is no such thing as a typical bicyclist. Communities that have lots of people bicycling actually have many sub-groups involved. Some of these sub-groups could not be more different from each other, yet they all love to bike. The following events are not targeted towards the current bike club crowd. Rather they are aimed at the younger set to highlight some of lesser known elements of bike culture. Needless to say, these need to be promoted in a manner that fits the audience.

Studded Tire Spectacular

A celebration of hard core winter bicycling where the worse the weather the better. Promotions could include how to build your own studded tires on the cheap with lag screws or zip ties. The ride is not particularly well organized but rather something as simple as letting people know where to meet, about what time people will head out and some idea of the length of the ride.

Tall Bike Tuesday

An informal ride through town by a bunch of folks on tall bikes or an unsanctioned jousting match at some discreet location will get people’s attention. Tall bikes are a celebration of the absurd by the imaginative armed with welding torches. The tall bike crowd is not uniform group and some elements may not be seen in a particularly positive light by all members of society. But they are still the coolest things on two wheels.

Random R.A.T. Ride & Repeat

Ride Around Town (RAT) is a somewhat tamer version of a critical mass ride. It typically takes the form of a casual large group ride tooling around an urban area. They are often started by a group of friends and spread by word of mouth. The end destination is often a bar for socializing. Generally they take place a little after the rush hour is done so there is not too much consternation by the motoring public and they add some life into the downtown after-business hours.

Midnight Bike Polo

Bike Polo is a growing sport although typically the teams and matches are generally loosely organized. Played much like polo but with a bike substituting for a horse, it can be played in a parking lot or on an actual field. Equipment is minimal, although many players protect the spokes on their front wheel. Having matches late at night when the temperature drops could be one of the best ways to cap off a hot August day. Getting a high school to open up a football field and turn on the lights at night could make it something special.

Fixie Fridays

Taking vintage 10 speeds from the 70’s and 80’s and converting them to fixed gear bikes has been going on for quite a few years but seems to still be going strong. Informal workshops where people could learn how to make a conversion, have access to the tools and purchase the necessary accessories would be ideal. At a minimum, start with some casual gatherings – might be very similar to the RAT rides.

Electric Bike Parade

Electric Bikes or E Bikes for short, use electric motors as a power assist. This is something completely different. This is about decking out your bike in Christmas lights, lanterns or neon and riding it around town on one of the longest nights of the year.

All Hands on Deck

Tracking the number of people who bike and walk is one of the most critical metrics in active transportation. Without this knowledge we do not know if improvements to infrastructure, programs and policy changes are making a difference. We also have no way to determine if we are making bicycling and walking safer or less safe. While there have been many advances in automated counting the new technology can be costly. Also, even most automated counters need to be calibrated by human counts.

In May and September counts should be undertaken as part of the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project (NBPDP). The Activate Allen County Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force should take the lead in recruiting and providing the volunteers for this effort which is currently organized by the Lima Allen County Regional Planning Commission. As staff and volunteers allow – evaluate also conducting a count in July.

Regional/County Policies and Programs

Recommended Policies

Map

County and United States Bike Routes

Currently, United States Bike Routes (USBR) 25 and 40 are in the initial planning stages. LARPC should work with ODOT on the final routing decisions coordinating the routes and the signage for the routes with proposed county bike routes.

Regional Trail & Route Funding and Implementation

The trails and bike routes that span between cities and villages need to have a designated implementation & maintenance organization and sustainable funding source to succeed. While state and federal grants may be obtained to offset the majority of the construction cost, a local match is still required. More importantly, the trails and routes need management by an organization or consortium that has the institutional wherewithal to properly maintain the facilities. Complicating this is that some of the trails will likely be on easements of land held by other entities.

For the proposed trails the most logical option would be to expand the mission of the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District. The partnership approach that was utilized with the Rotary Riverwalk/Ottawa River Bikeway is a good model to use. The challenge is that the trails would be a substantial expansion of their facilities and this would require a corresponding increase in revenue.

The linear nature and multiple access points of trails make them exceedingly difficult to generate use based revenue and most agencies that have attempted this in the past have since abandoned that model. Thus, some other general revenue source needs to be considered. The most likely source is an increase in the tax levy, as the Parks District’s levy supports about 80 percent of the their budget. The challenge is that the replacement levy (not to exceed 0.75 mills) was just passed in 2013 and will be in place through 2023. Also due to a decrease in property valuation and a change in state tax law the Park District is operating on about 70% of the budget that it had ten years ago. Thus, it is unrealistic for the Park District to take on any additional responsibilities without a corresponding increase in supporting revenue.

In order for Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District to return to 2003 funding levels they would need to go for an additional levy. The Park District should commission a scientific survey to determine if the residents of the county are interested in not only going back to historic funding levels but to expand the park district to include regional trails and bike routes. A strategic planning group should be created to sketch out what mileages would be appropriate and educate the public on the different mileage options. The group should also look at various scenarios at what could be accomplished and what money is needed to leverage state and federal sources and more importantly maintain the facility at an appropriate level.

Transportation Project Coordination

Activate Allen County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force has around 40 members representing many geographic areas and points of view from across the county and was established to promote increased walking and bicycling in Allen County. As part of this initiative the task force should consider expanding its mission to make a formal coordination procedure with the Community Active Transportation Teams at the city and township levels in order to share best practices and learn from each other.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project

In the fall of 2013 & May of 2014, the Lima/Allen County Regional Planning Commission (LACRPC) participated in the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. These counts provide a valuable baseline from which the success of increasing both the use and safety of new facilities may be measured. LACRPC should expand the pedestrian and bike count in the following ways:

  1. Participate in all two count periods: May and September.
  2. Prior to a road corridor being improved with pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities conduct a count so that the effectiveness of building the new facility in attracting new bicyclists and pedestrians may be measured.
  3. Investigate supplementing human counters with automated counters for facilities such as trails so that use levels and patterns may be determined more economically.
  4. Engage more of the members of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Task Force as volunteers in the count efforts by providing a brief training at one of the quarterly meetings.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Crash Documentation

Related to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, LACRPC should monitor and analyze pedestrian and bicycle crashes on a yearly basis by comparing the number of crashes with the pedestrian and bicycle counts that were conducted in that same year. Frequency, type, severity, time of day, road conditions and locations should be analyzed to identify commonalities between crashes and determine how they can be mitigated. Special attention should also be given to road corridors that will be improved with pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities to analyze the effectiveness of increasing safety in those locations. In general, past studies have shown that an increase in the number of bicycles and pedestrians leads to a decrease in crash rates.

Paved Shoulders

Wide paved shoulders provide a separate space for bicycle and pedestrian travel in rural areas and improve roadway conditions from a motor vehicle safety and maintenance standpoint. Ideally, wide paved shoulders should be considered in all new construction and reconstruction projects on roadways used by more than 1,000 vehicles per day. In some communities, where a separate recreational pathway is not feasible, local park and recreation commissions should consider helping fund a portion of the paved shoulder cost. Should Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District expand their mission, as described in the Regional Trails and Route Funding and Implementation section, they should consider funding a portion of the paved shoulder cost where a regional bicycle and /or pedestrian connection is proposed.

Bike Map

A regional bike map should be created that highlights recommended routes and existing pathways. The map should include inset maps of all of the communities in the county. The map should also include information on bicycle laws, safety recommendations and pathway etiquette. The map production and print costs can be offset by selling advertising or underwriting from local businesses and tourism organizations. When distributing the map, it should be paired with other publications already targeting residents’ mailboxes for efficiency and coverage. The map may also be located at the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and kiosks for further distribution.

As a supplement, existing bicycle facilities and recommended routes should be added to Google Maps database using Google Map Maker and a PDF of version of the map should be posted on the City’s website.

Wayfinding Technical Support

A coordinated wayfinding system, with well-designed and placed signs, creates an aesthetic environment that reinforces a positive sense of place for residence and visitors. LACRPC should take the lead on developing a county-wide bicycle and pedestrian wayfinding system. Their role would include the following:

  • Prepare detailed design guidelines and specifications for the system
  • Develop a resource tool outlining principles and best practices for bicycle and pedestrian wayfinding
  • Provide mapping resources

The resulting product will provide consistency in the physical design and placement of pedestrian and bicycle wayfinding signage county-wide. It will also help build a brand for the county by directing visitors to key destinations and informing locals of bicycle and pedestrian routes across the county.

Please refer to the network plan for details on wayfinding kiosk locations.

Kiosks, repair stations tie to business district, regional connections of trail, trail heads and reservoirs, bulletin boards with upcoming projects

Recommended Programs

Active Commute Program

An Active Commute Program should be developed that provides individual outreach, through community surveys and events, to find people who have an inclination to walk bike or take the bus but need additional encouragement and resources. The following is a list of programs and services that should be considered:

  • Commuter Challenge Program – A competition between local business and employees to see who can get the most employees to try a green commute (walking, biking, busing, carpooling, etc). The program leverages this activity to expand awareness of active transportation connections to the work place and to generate excitement among the corporate community around the health and well-being benefits of cycling or walking to work. Click here for more information on planning a Commuter Challenge.
  • Discounted Bus Pass – as part of a commute to work program, provide free or discounted bus passes to downtown employees.
  • Complimentary Emergency Ride Home – as part of a commute to work program provide complimentary emergency rides home, allowing walkers, bikers, carpoolers and transit riders to have a backup plan to take a taxi home in the event of an emergency.
  • Enclosed and Secure Bicycle Parking – Provide enclosed and secure rooms or fenced off-areas, generally in parking garages, where employees can park their bikes for extended periods of time.
  • Lunch & Learn Events – Hold a lunch time event at a local business to help educate and promote alternative transportation to work (follows the model of how vendors and suppliers reach the corporate world). The event could provide safety tips and inform perspective commuters of the different options and resources available. The event host must be knowledgeable of the different routes and options for alternative transportation and be able to help others in determining the best route to get to and from work.

Safe Routes to School Program

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is an international movement to make it safe, convenient and fun for children to walk and bike to school. SRTS programs combine the efforts of parents, schools, community leaders and local, state and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. SRTS uses a variety of education, engineering and enforcement strategies to help make routes safer for children to walk and bike to school and encouragement strategies to entice more children to walk and bike to school.

Local schools should consider participating in a SRTS program. Ohio has a SRTS program that is managed by the Ohio Department of Transportation.Click here for more information.

Developing a SRTS program may take some time to get going with trainings, surveys, assessments and getting the right community leaders involved. In the meantime, schools can focus on initiating the following programs to begin to create a safe environment that encourages children to walk and bike to school.

Bluffton Policy and Programs

Adopt an Alley
Adopt-an-Alley program is an effort to enhance the pedestrian environment and attractiveness of downtown by providing clean, safe and attractive alleyways that link the parking lots in the rear of business to Main Street. This program would provide individuals, businesses and organizations a chance to make a difference in their community by volunteering to beautify an alleyway. Enhancements may include adding street furniture, decorative lighting, flower pots, art, sculptures, entertainment and any other improvements that would help make the alleyways a more pleasant passage for pedestrians and bicycles.The City could grant no-cost yearly easements for temporary installations and the program could be administered by the Chamber of Commerce or the City itself. Adopters could receive recognition in the form of a sign that would extend out to Main Street from the Alley. The sign could also double as a wayfinding aid to the parking lots. Use of the alleys for café tables and movable seating would be encouraged as long as a reasonable passageway for pedestrians and bicyclists remains.

Complete Streets

States, regions, counties and cities around the country have used various complete street policies to unambiguously endorse and define their support for non-motorized transportation. Complete Streets are planned, designed, operated and maintained such that all users may safely, comfortably and conveniently move along and across streets throughout a community. The Complete Streets concept recognizes that streets serve multiple purposes and that a community’s roadways must be designed such that they balance the needs of all the transportation users.

Bluffton should adopt a Complete Streets Resolution that includes language about developing a Complete Streets Ordinance. Click here for more information.

Transportation Project Coordination

A Community Active Transportation Team (CATT) that has representation from a diverse range of travel modes, age groups and mobility issue should be established for Bluffton. The purpose of the group would be to provide design and planning input during the earliest stages of a project prior to the preparation of construction drawings. This group would provide formal recommendations to the planning commission and/or city council regarding specific projects.

Sidewalk Maintenance

In 2013 Bluffton passed a sidewalk ordinance that does an excellent job of addressing the maintenance of the sidewalk construction. The ordinance should be expanded to address the following seasonal maintenance issues:

  • Set appropriate horizontal and vertical setbacks for adjacent vegetation and structures including a policy for notifying the property owner of infractions, a remediation period as well as a way for the Village to recoup costs should it be necessary from the Village to remedy the infraction.
  • Snow and ice removal. This should target snow and ice removal within 12 hours of the end of the storm. Also the ordinance should include a fine for noncompliance.
  • Designate Village staff responsibility for clearing snow and ice from areas such as crossing islands where the responsibility for snow removal is not clear.

The Village should conduct a community outreach effort that includes a flyer that outlines the Village’s maintenance policies. The outreach effort should emphasis the importance of the sidewalk system to the everyday transportation needs of a large cross section of the community.

Delphos Policy and Programs

Water QualityThe Miami and Erie Canal has the potential for increased water flow and higher water quality, which would make the canal a significantly more attractive amenity to the City of Delphos. In the area between Delphos and Spencerville, the canal has been overgrown by adjacent vegetation, the canal banks collapsed in places and water features have fallen into a state of disrepair. Delphos and Spencerville should work with the ODNR Canal Lands to address these issues between the two communities. To help preserve the canal corridor as a park-like destination in the downtown area, Delphos should initiate an aggressive anti-littering program to clean-up liter in and around the canal with steep fines for those found littering.Canal Corridor Development

Beyond improving the water quality of the canal, Delphos should focus on improving the area adjacent to the canal and get the downtown community involved:

  • Provide amenities such as pedestrian lights, wayfinding signs, benches and trash receptacles along the towpath trail.
  • Develop Adopt-a-tree, Adopt-a-Flower Basket and Adopt-a-Bench program where individuals and organizations can donate money and/or volunteer time to place amenities along the canal towpath.
  • Reconfigure the parking lot between 2nd Street and 3rd Street to provide space for a shared-use path (see proposed cross section in the Active Transportation Plan). Set aside a few parking spaces adjacent to the trail for food cart vendors and special events during peak trail use times.
  • The City should investigate subsidizing low-interest loans for the enhancement of business facades fronting the canal. Funding could from general funds and/or CDGB block grants.
  • Develop the area between the Main Street businesses and the canal as shared street space. Restrict delivery truck traffic to times when the trail does not receive much use.
  • Encourage businesses and cafés to front the towpath. This could be as easy as adding some flower pots, moveable chairs, tables, umbrellas or decorative lighting to help liven up the backside of the buildings.
  • Host a festival along the towpath to highlight its potential as a public destination. This may include an art walk, food tasting event, craft show, music festival, etc.

Click here for more information on how to take advantage of economic opportunities that come with being a trail town.

Sidewalk Maintenance

Regular and consistent maintenance of sidewalks, particularly along arterials and collectors, is important for active transportation. Typical problems that can occur include cracked pavement, standing water, overgrown trees and shrubs, and snow and ice. Inadequate maintenance of a sidewalk can be dangerous and discourages people from using active transportation.

The following is a checklist of key maintenance policies that should be addressed:

  • An easily accessible phone and/or web-based complaint system for the public to report maintenance issues.
  • A sidewalk maintenance policy that describes how the city will give written notice to the owner or occupant of the premises when a sidewalk needs repair and provides direction on how to remedy the situation.
  • Twice a year tree and brush trimming program for all sidewalks along primary roads.
  • A snow and ice removal policy that clearly states that property owners are responsible for snow removal of the full width of the sidewalk on or adjacent to their property within 12 hours after the end of each accumulation of snow, sleet or freezing rain.
  • An educational campaign to encourage property owners to clear curb ramps when shoveling their sidewalks.
  • Designate staff and assign responsibility for clearing snow and ice from orphan areas, such as crossing island.

Complete Streets

States, regions, counties and cities around the country have used various complete street policies to unambiguously endorse and define their support for non-motorized transportation. Complete Streets are planned, designed, operated and maintained such that all users may safely, comfortably and conveniently move along and across streets throughout a community. The Complete Streets concept recognizes that streets serve multiple purposes and that a community’s roadways must be designed such that they balance the needs of all the transportation users.

Delphos should adopt a Complete Streets Resolution that includes language about developing a Complete Streets Ordinance. Click here for more information.

Transportation Project Coordination

A Community Active Transportation Team (CATT) that has representation from a diverse range of travel modes, age groups and mobility issue should be established for Delphos. The purpose of the group would be to provide design and planning input during the earliest stages of a project prior to the preparation of engineering drawings. This group would reference the plan and others in the review of any transportation project and would provide formal recommendations to the planning commission and/or city council regarding specific projects.

Lima Policies and Programs

Complete Streets

States, regions, counties and cities around the country have used various complete street policies to unambiguously endorse and define their support for non-motorized transportation. Complete Streets are planned, designed, operated and maintained such that all users may safely, comfortably and conveniently move along and across streets throughout a community. The Complete Streets concept recognizes that streets serve multiple purposes and that a community’s roadways must be designed such that they balance the needs of all the transportation users.Lima should adopt a Complete Streets Resolution that includes language about developing a Complete Streets Ordinance. Click here for more information.

Site Plan Approval Checklist

A site design checklist should be provided to developers and used by the City in their review of site plans to make sure that bicycle and pedestrian issues are being adequately addressed. The Canadian Institute of Traffic Engineers publishes “The Canadian Guide to Promoting Sustainable Transportation through Site Design” that serves as a good Model and can be downloaded here.

Pedestrian Signals

The City should develop a system to identify and provide pedestrian signals at all signalized intersections. The initial focus should be in the downtown. Once the pedestrian signals are at all intersections, the City should upgrade the existing pedestrian signals to countdown signals.

Sidewalk Maintenance

Regular and consistent maintenance of sidewalks, particularly along arterials and collectors, is important for active transportation. Typical problems that can occur include cracked pavement, standing water, overgrown trees and shrubs, and snow and ice. Inadequate maintenance of a sidewalk can be dangerous and discourages people from using active transportation.

The following is a checklist of key maintenance policies that should be addressed:

  • An easily accessible phone and/or web-based complaint system for the public to report maintenance issues.
  • A sidewalk maintenance policy that describes how the city will give written notice to the owner or occupant of the premises when a sidewalk needs repair and provides direction on how to remedy the situation.
  • Twice a year tree and brush trimming program for all sidewalks along primary roads.
  • A snow and ice removal policy that clearly states that property owners are responsible for snow removal of the full width of the sidewalk on or adjacent to their property within 24 hours after the end of each accumulation of snow, sleet or freezing rain.
  • An educational campaign to encourage property owners to clear curb ramps and bus stops when shoveling their sidewalks.
  • Designate staff and assign responsibility for clearing snow and ice from orphan areas, such as crossing island and sidewalks along expressway interchanges.

Complete Sidewalk Gaps

Ideally, every road should have sidewalks on both sides of the street. Lima should develop a system to complete sidewalk gaps in the City. Sidewalk gaps along arterial and collector roads should be completed first. Providing continuous sidewalks along transit routes and near schools should also be a priority. In order to capitalize on these improvements, whenever a roadway is reconstructed, sidewalks should be included as part of the reconstruction project.

Transportation Project Coordination

A Community Active Transportation Team (CATT) that has representation from a diverse range of travel modes, age groups and mobility issue should be established for Lima. The purpose of the group would be to provide design and planning input during the earliest stages of the project prior to the preparation of engineering drawings. This group would reference the plan and others in the review of any transportation project and would provide formal recommendations to the planning commission and/or city council regarding specific projects.

Spencerville Policies and Programs

Water Quality

The Miami and Erie Canal has the potential for increased water flow and higher water quality, which would make the canal a significantly more attractive amenity to Spencerville. In the area between Spencerville and Delphos, the canal has overgrown and water features have fallen into a state of disrepair. Spencerville and Delphos should work with the ODNR Canal Lands to address these issues between the two communities. To help preserve the canal corridor as a park-like destination in the downtown area, Spencerville should initiate an aggressive anti-littering program to clean-up liter in and around the canal with steep fines for those found littering.Canal Corridor Development

Beyond improving the water quality of the canal, Spencerville should focus on improving the area adjacent to the canal and get the downtown community involved:

  • Provide amenities such as pedestrian lights, wayfinding signs, benches and trash receptacles along the towpath trail.
  • Change the texture of the asphalt with new decorative pavement or other cost-effective applications such as paint.
  • Encourage businesses and cafés to front the canal. It could be as easy as adding some flower pots, moveable chairs, tables, umbrellas and decorative lighting to help liven up the backside of the buildings.
  • Host a festival along the towpath to highlight its potential as a public destination. This may include an art walk, food tasting event, craft show, music festival, etc.
  • Initiate a farmers market on the west side of the canal to bring activity to the downtown area.
  • Develop an Adopt-a-tree or Adopt-a-Flower Pot program where individuals and organizations can donate money or volunteer time to plant a tree or take care of a flower pot along the canal towpath.

Click here for more information on how to take advantage of economic opportunities that come with being a trail town.

Sidewalk Maintenance

Regular and consistent maintenance of sidewalks, particularly along arterials and collectors, is important for active transportation. Typical problems that can occur include cracked pavement, standing water, overgrown trees and shrubs, and snow and ice. Inadequate maintenance of a sidewalk can be dangerous and discourages people from using active transportation.

The following is a checklist of key maintenance policies that should be addressed:

  • An easily accessible phone and/or web-based complaint system for the public to report maintenance issues.
  • A sidewalk maintenance policy that describes how the city will give written notice to the owner or occupant of the premises when a sidewalk needs repair and provides direction on how to remedy the situation.
  • Twice a year tree and brush trimming program for all sidewalks along primary roads.
  • A snow and ice removal policy that clearly states that property owners are responsible for snow removal of the full width of the sidewalk on or adjacent to their property within 24 hours after the end of each accumulation of snow, sleet or freezing rain.
  • An educational campaign to encourage property owners to clear curb ramps when shoveling their sidewalks.
  • Designate staff and assign responsibility for clearing snow and ice from orphan areas, such as crossing islands.

Complete Streets

States, regions, counties and cities around the country have used various complete street policies to unambiguously endorse and define their support for non-motorized transportation. Complete Streets are planned, designed, operated and maintained such that all users may safely, comfortably and conveniently move along and across streets throughout a community. The Complete Streets concept recognizes that streets serve multiple purposes and that a community’s roadways must be designed such that they balance the needs of all the transportation users.

Spencerville should adopt a Complete Streets Resolution that includes language about developing a Complete Streets Ordinance. Click here for more information.

Transportation Project Coordination

A Community Active Transportation Team (CATT) that has representation from a diverse range of travel modes, age groups and mobility issue should be established. The purpose of the group would be to provide council and coordination for the canal towpath trail development. In the future, the group could expand to include other issues related to bicycle and pedestrian travel.

American Township Policies and Programs

Mixed-use Development

Mixed-use development contributes to the pedestrian and bicycle environment by integrating residential and non-residential uses within a compact development. Based on future growth, the Township should look at integrating planning and zoning changes that would lead to more walkable developments along Allentown and Eastown Corridors.

Site Plan Approval Checklist

A site design checklist should be provided to developers and used by the Township in their review of site plans to make sure that bicycle and pedestrian issues are being adequately addressed.  The Canadian Institute of Traffic Engineers publishes “The Canadian Guide to Promoting Sustainable Transportation through Site Design” that serves as a good Model and can be downloaded here.

Street Connectivity

Roadways are critical to the success of a community’s non-motorized system. Studies have shown that the block size and street pattern of a community has a large impact on active transportation. When grid streets are not desired or feasible, pedestrian and bicycle links should be provided even when the road does not connect. When cul-de-sac and dead end streets are used, pedestrian and bicycle cut-through’s should be created to link to adjacent streets.  The Township should regulate the form and shape of new neighborhoods to support and promote pedestrian and bike mobility by modifying master plans and development standards. Non-motorized connectivity between adjacent residential, commercial and institutional developments should be provided as well.

Mutli-modal Connectivity

The Township should work with MDOT and the County to ensure that bicycle and pedestrian traffic is accommodated along major roads.  When major roads are reconstructed they should be widened to provide bike lanes or paved shoulders on both sides of the road.  Also, concurrent with development, a contiguous sidewalk system should be provided along both sides of the primary roads, especially in areas with retail and near parks and schools. Providing bicycle and pedestrian connections along major roads will help to support transit use and may serve as future connectors to regional trail facilities.

 Trail Connectivity

There are currently no off-road trail facilities in American Township. However, there may be opportunities with the railroad and the University of Northwestern Ohio to provide an off-road trail connection through the Township. The Township should work with Johnny Appleseed Metroparks and the University to provide off-road trails throughout the Township and eventually connect to other regional routes.

Transportation Project Coordination

A Community Active Transportation Team (CATT) that has representation from a diverse range of travel modes, age groups and mobility issue should be established.  The purpose of the group would be to provide design and planning input during the earliest stages of a project prior to the preparation of engineering drawings. This group would reference the plan and others in the review of any transportation project and would provide formal recommendations to the governing board of the Township regarding specific projects.

Bath Township Policies and Programs

Site Plan Approval Checklist

A site design checklist should be provided to developers and used by the City in their review of site plans to make sure that bicycle and pedestrian issues are being adequately addressed.  The Canadian Institute of Traffic Engineers publishes “The Canadian Guide to Promoting Sustainable Transportation through Site Design” that serves as a good Model and can be downloaded here.

Street Connectivity

Roadways are critical to the success of a community’s non-motorized system. Studies have shown that the block size and street pattern of a community has a large impact on active transportation. When grid streets are not desired or feasible, pedestrian and bicycle links should be provided even when the road does not connect. When cul-de-sac and dead end streets are used, pedestrian and bicycle cut-through’s should be created to link to adjacent streets.  The Township should regulate the form and shape of new neighborhoods to support and promote pedestrian and bike mobility by modifying master plans and development standards. Non-motorized connectivity between adjacent residential, commercial and institutional developments should be provided as well.

Mutli-modal Connectivity

The Township should work with MDOT and the County to ensure that bicycle and pedestrian traffic is accommodated along major roads.  When major roads are reconstructed they should be widened to provide bike lanes or paved shoulders on both sides of the road.  Also, concurrent with development, a contiguous sidewalk system should be provided along both sides of the primary roads, especially in areas with retail and near parks and schools. Providing bicycle and pedestrian connections along major roads will help to support transit use and may serve as future connectors to regional trail facilities.

Trail Connectivity

The Rotary Riverwalk/Ottawa River Bikeway currently extends into the southwest quadrant of the township providing a bicycle and pedestrian connection to Lima.  The Township should work with Johnny Appleseed Metroparks and the local school districts to provide off-road trails throughout the Township and to help extend the Rotary Riverwalk/Ottawa River Bikeway.

Transportation Project Coordination

A Community Active Transportation Team (CATT) that has representation from a diverse range of travel modes, age groups and mobility issue should be established.  The purpose of the group would be to provide design and planning input during the earliest stages of a project prior to the preparation of engineering drawings. This group would reference the plan and others in the review of any transportation project and would provide formal recommendations to the governing board of the Township regarding specific projects.

Shawnee Township Policies and Programs

Site Plan Approval Checklist

A site design checklist should be provided to developers and used by the City in their review of site plans to make sure that bicycle and pedestrian issues are being adequately addressed.  The Canadian Institute of Traffic Engineers publishes “The Canadian Guide to Promoting Sustainable Transportation through Site Design” that serves as a good Model and can be downloaded here.

 

Street Connectivity

Roadways are critical to the success of a community’s non-motorized system.  Studies have shown that the block size and street pattern of a community has a large impact on active transportation. When grid streets are not desired or feasible, pedestrian and bicycle links should be provided even when the road does not connect. When cul-de-sac and dead end streets are used, pedestrian and bicycle cut-through’s should be created to link to adjacent streets.  The Township should regulate the form and shape of new neighborhoods to support and promote pedestrian and bike mobility by modifying master plans and development standards. Non-motorized connectivity between adjacent residential, commercial and institutional developments should be provided as well.

Mutli-modal Connectivity

The Township should work with MDOT and the County to ensure that bicycle and pedestrian traffic is accommodated along major roads.  When major roads are reconstructed they should be widened to provide bike lanes or paved shoulders on both sides of the road.  Also, concurrent with development, a contiguous sidewalk system should be provided along both sides of the primary roads, especially in areas with retail and near parks and schools. Providing bicycle and pedestrian connections along major roads will help to support transit use and may serve as future connectors to regional trail facilities.

Trail Connectivity

The Rotary Riverwalk/Ottawa River Bikeway currently extends into the northeast quadrant of the township providing a bicycle and pedestrian connection to Lima.  The Township should work with Johnny Appleseed Metroparks and the local school districts to provide off-road trails throughout the Township and to help extend the Rotary Riverwalk/Ottawa River Bikeway.

Transportation Project Coordination

A Community Active Transportation Team (CATT) that has representation from a diverse range of travel modes, age groups and mobility issue should be established.  The purpose of the group would be to provide design and planning input during the earliest stages of a project prior to the preparation of engineering drawings. This group would reference the plan and others in the review of any transportation project and would provide formal recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

Perry Township Policies and Programs

Mixed-use Development

Mixed-use development contributes to the pedestrian and bicycle environment by integrating residential and non-residential uses within a compact development. Based on future growth, the Township should look at integrating planning and zoning changes that would lead to more walkable developments along E. Hanthorn Road.

Site Plan Approval Checklist

A site design checklist should be provided to developers and used by the Township in their review of site plans to make sure that bicycle and pedestrian issues are being adequately addressed.  The Canadian Institute of Traffic Engineers publishes “The Canadian Guide to Promoting Sustainable Transportation through Site Design” that serves as a good Model and can be downloaded here.

Street Connectivity

Roadways are critical to the success of a community’s non-motorized system. Studies have shown that the block size and street pattern of a community has a large impact on active transportation. When grid streets are not desired or feasible, pedestrian and bicycle links should be provided even when the road does not connect. When cul-de-sac and dead end streets are used, pedestrian and bicycle cut-through’s should be created to link to adjacent streets.  The Township should regulate the form and shape of new neighborhoods to support and promote pedestrian and bike mobility by modifying master plans and development standards. Non-motorized connectivity between adjacent residential, commercial and institutional developments should be provided as well.

Mutli-modal Connectivity

The Township should work with MDOT and the County to ensure that bicycle and pedestrian traffic is accommodated along major roads.  When major roads are reconstructed they should be widened to provide bike lanes or paved shoulders on both sides of the road.  Also, concurrent with development, a contiguous sidewalk system should be provided along both sides of the primary roads, especially in areas with retail and near parks and schools. Providing bicycle and pedestrian connections along major roads will help to support transit use and may serve as future connectors to regional trail facilities.

Trail Connectivity

There are currently no off-road trail facilities in Perry Township. However, there may be opportunities with the abandoned railroad and interurban lines to provide off-road trail connection through the Township. The Township should work with Johnny Appleseed Metroparks and the local schools to provide off-road trails throughout the Township and eventually connect to other regional routes.

Transportation Project Coordination

A Community Active Transportation Team (CATT) that has representation from a diverse range of travel modes, age groups and mobility issue should be established.  The purpose of the group would be to provide design and planning input during the earliest stages of a project prior to the preparation of engineering drawings. This group would reference the plan and others in the review of any transportation project and would provide formal recommendations to the governing board of the Township regarding specific projects.