Medina County is home to a network of bicycle paths, but without signage, the routes are often unclear or unknown, according to County Commissioner Tim Smith.
Smith said he hopes a resolution to make the newly revised bike path map “official” could be the first step toward signage. County commissioners are expected to vote next week at the County Commissioner meeting Tuesday on whether to officially adopt the bike paths listed on the Medina County Engineer’s Office website.
The resolution, which would carry no cost for the county, is an effort to secure grant funding from Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency for the signs.
“(Making the bike paths official) gives it a little bit more weight when you take it to NOACA,” Smith said.
About 20 bike paths crisscross the county and connect to routes in Cuyahoga, Summit and Wayne counties.
Anthony Ratajczek, a member of the county’s bicycle task force, said the group considered the data collected by surveys as well as the proximity of the paths to schools, hospitals and parks while updating the map for an April release. The map was last updated in 2008.
“I saw a need for a countywide bicycle route system as far back as 2000,” Ratajczek said in an email. “The original work/map was developed and accepted by the commissioners in 2008.”
Smith said one of the update’s improvements is routing paths through Medina and Seville — a move he hopes will bring traffic to businesses there.
“It adds tourism and income to the cities,” Smith said.
The paths, which run along trails and roads, are unmarked. Members of the county’s bike task force estimate 600 to 700 signs are needed to mark all the routes. At $150 per sign, the total project would cost between $90,000 and $105,000. A NOACA grant from could cover that expense, Smith told commissioners last Tuesday.
Commissioner Pat Geissman suggested that the county could also ask interested residents to purchase signs.
“You might also be able to get donations from people who love to ride bikes and have their name on the sign like a lot of creeks and such in the county,” Geissman said during the county commissioner discussion session Tuesday.
Smith said adding signage is also a matter of safety by making vehicle drivers more aware that bikes could be in the same area.
“You just consciously start thinking there could be (bikes) along the (roads),” Smith said.