On Centre: Centre Region | Proposed signs to educate walkers, cyclists on paths

November 7, 2013 

Proposed informational signs would aim to educate walkers, runners and cyclists on shared-use path etiquette in the region, featuring a new logo.

The logo would encourage users to “Share the Path Centre Region” and incorporates half a bike wheel and footprints, denoting path users.

The draft sign shows a woman walking with a child and leashed dog, as well as a cyclist.

The sign suggests etiquette for all users — to keep right except to pass and to be respectful of all users.

For cyclists, it offers reminders of state law — to use audible warnings when passing and lights when it’s dark outside, and for children under 12 to wear a helmet.

Discussion of an educational program began early this year when Ferguson Township resident Jack Williams sent a letter to township officials about his concern that cyclists weren’t following the law, especially related to the “audible warning” provision.

Regional planner Trish Meek presented the proposed signs and a brochure modeled after one from Portland, Ore., to the Council of Governments Transportation and Land Use Committee on Monday.

She suggested that the municipalities implement the program individually and said the region’s public works staffs could finalize consistent size, language and color for the signs, proposed as blue with white type and images.

“We think it boils down the intent and information,” she said. “There are still more steps until this is finalized.”

State College Councilman Tom Daubert asked about placement of the signs so that path users can read them.

Meek suggested they might be posted near formal parking areas and where people would join the paths.

“We’ll work very closely with the municipalities about placement,” she said, adding that the educational program also will include working with police on enforcement of the cycling laws, as well as working with Penn State and the State College Area School District.

The brochure mockup gives brief explanations of the state cycling laws on the sign about children wearing helmets, using lights, giving an audible signal when passing and yielding to pedestrians.

It also uses graphics to explain those laws and etiquette items, like respecting other path users and not blocking the trail.

The brochure’s cover shows a section of the shared use path on Bristol Avenue, looking toward Blue Course Drive.

“We used graphics and words with a simplified method to get the word out,” Meek said.

Jessica VanderKolk writes this weekly column featuring news from the Centre Region. Contact her at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter.

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