GALLIPOLIS — In several recent meetings of the Gallipolis City Commission, commissioners have noted cars driven on the bicycle path in the city.
City Commissioner Beau Sang said during the previous meetings he has noticed the vehicles driving on the path and was concerned for the safety of people using the path on bicycles and for walking. Earlier this month, Sang said he went to the O.O. McIntyre Park District Board to ask for signage and barriers to be put in place.
Gallipolis City Manager Ted Lozier told the Gallipolis Daily Tribune the park district placed “no motorized vehicles” signs along the trail at the road crossings through the city.
“The trail crossing at Mill Creek had not been posted as this was a recent extension of the trail,” Lozier said. “However, it seems this location has become a common problem. To try to alleviate this, the city painted a crosswalk over Mill Creek and O.O. McIntyre installed signage and placed a bollard in the center of the trail just off Mill Creek on the Haskins Park side.”
Lozier said additional options could include different types of barriers to prevent vehicles from accessing the trail. Lozier said these barriers could be vegetation, parking curb barriers or fencing. As noted in meetings, emergency and authorized vehicles need to have access to the trail.
Lozier said the city will be sending a message to families involved in ball leagues at the park. The message states the city has been informed of vehicles on the trail, which “poses a serious safety problem for young children, walkers and bicycles who use the trail.”
“We know that sometimes people inadvertently drive onto the pathway mistaking it for a narrow road or driveway,” the message continues. “And we know that others drive onto the pathway intentionally, ignoring the fact that they know vehicles are prohibited. Neither types of drivers are wanted on the pathway as it creates a safety issue.”
In a statement, Paul Covey and the O.O. McIntyre Park District Board said the Gallia County Hike and Bike Trail is open to pedestrians and bicycle traffic only.
“The park district administration is disappointed that any individual would make the conscious decision to illegally drive a motor vehicle on the hike and bike trail, which is a great recreational resource for this community,” Covey said in his statement.
Lozier said to access the ball field at Haskins Park, drivers are to use the Haskins Park entrance off Ohio Avenue and travel past the skate park.
Lozier said the City of Gallipolis will continue to cooperate with the O.O. McIntyre Park District to resolve the issue. Covey said the park district is “committed to working with the City of Gallipolis to alleviate the problem of individuals driving from city streets and city property onto the hike and bike trail.
If a vehicle is seen on the path, Lozier advises you to call the Gallipolis Police Department at 740-446-1313.
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Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.