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Village Council— Group urges bike-friendly changes

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At Council’s May 16 meeting a group of Yellow Springs biking enthusiasts urged Village Council to take steps to make the village more bicycle-friendly. Among the recommendations were painting “share-the-road” markings on streets to clarify that bicycles have the right to use the whole lane, and dedicating one parking space downtown for bicycle parking.

“This would provide a safe parking space and also send a message about what sort of town we are,” Chris Bongorno of the Yellow Springs Active Transportation Committee said to Council.

The group — which includes Bongorno, Marcia Sauer, Gary Zaremsky, Laura Curliss, Sylvia Ellison, Chris Worrell and Eric Oberg — has been meeting for two years, Bongorno said.Village Manager Patti Bates and Council members Brian Housh and Karen Wintrow have previously met with the committee.

The time is right for making these changes, Bongorno said at the May 16 meeting, because the Ohio Department of Transportation, or ODOT, will be milling U.S. 68 this summer.

The group also recommends that Council ask ODOT to use “continental striping” at several busy Xenia Avenue pedestrian crossings. Continental striping uses large, bold stripes that are parallel to the road, making demarcation of a pedestrian crossing more clear to both cars and pedestrians, according to Bongorno.

And “share-the-road” markings for cyclists “would add visibility for cyclists, especially downtown,” he said.

Biking is the most environmentally sustainable mode of transportation, according to Duard Headley of the Environmental Commission, but many local bikers hesitate to bike in the village.

“I’ve had lots of conversations with bikers who don’t feel safe in town,” he said.

Council members are in agreement with the committee’s recommendations, according to Council President Karen Wintrow.

In other Council business:
• Two Mills Lawn School students presented Council with the results of a PBL project in which they surveyed downtown businesses regarding wheelchair accessibility. The students, Owen Gustafson and Mia Campbell, are both wheelchair-bound.

Only about half of downtown businesses are currently accessible, Gustafson reported, while Campbell offered her personal reflection.

“I can’t get into the toy store because of the stairs,” she said.

Wintrow noted that, while it’s hard for some business owners to foot the expense of making old buildings accessible, portable ramps are available that could be more feasible.

Council members said they appreciated the students’ work and their presentation.

“It’s inspiring to see young people engaged in the democratic process,” said Council member Judith Hempfling.

• Council approved the second reading of the purchase of landfill gas for the Village electric portfolio.

• Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to remove a stop sign at Livermore and East North College streets and to instead place a new stop sign at the corner of Livermore and East South College streets, the crosswalk near the Wellness Center.

• Council approved a resolution that supports Glen Helen’s application to Clean Ohio for funds to purchase a portion of the Village-owned Sutton Farm.

• Council approved preliminary legislation that authorizes ODOT to fund the construction of sidewalks along Fairfield Pike from Fair Acres Drive to Winter Street and along Winter Street from Pleasant Street to Fairfield Pike.

• Council’s next regular meeting is Monday, June 6, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers.


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