It’s summer time, and one of the best ways to get around the community is to use the new trails along Bluffton Road. This addition to the community’s infrastructure provides accessibility and promotes a healthy lifestyle. However, Waynedale still has a learning curve to overcome regarding safety when it comes to pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles.
With new trail installations, one of the largest challenges for communities is to learn how trail users should interact with motorists. Here in Waynedale, there have even been recent reports of uninformed drivers and trail users inappropriately interacting with the trails, such as mistaking the trail for a road and driving on it.
“As our community connectivity increases with more pedestrian facilities, like the trails, and becomes a larger part of our infrastructure, we all have to learn new ways of doing things. Awareness and caution for everyone interacting with the trail are just as important for trail users as it is for vehicular traffic,” commented Kent Castleman, Executive Director of Fort Wayne Trails.
Due to the high amount of vehicle traffic on Bluffton Road and a high amount of entrances to businesses, safety and caution should be used to prevent an accident. For trail users, Fort Wayne Trails, Inc. has issued the following ‘Rules of The Trail’ along with a simple overall statement which is “Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Respectful.”
• Keep to the right, pass on the left.
• Ring a bell or call out “on your left” prior to passing.
• Yield to slower trail users.
• Obey traffic signals and signage.
• Stop for cross traffic.
• Keep pets on short leashes.
• Animal waste must be removed from the trail.
• Never, ever litter.
• No motorized equipment except official and emergency vehicles and motorized wheelchairs.
“Basically, drivers and trails users should be on the lookout for each other. Also, similar to a driveway/ sidewalk situation, if a car is impeding the trail and waiting to pull out into the street, trail users should yield to the car. But, if trail users are crossing a driveway, the car should wait for them to finish crossing.” Castleman continued, in addition to the ‘Rules of The Trails.’ “Pedestrians and vehicles should always follow the rules of the road when at a street crosswalk, including waiting for crossing lights.”
In celebration of the opening of the new trails and sidewalks, a local group, The Waynedale Sidewalks and Trails Initiative, will be hosting ‘EMBARK’ on July 21 from Noon to 4pm. The event, sponsored by the Waynedale Community Improvement Team and area businesses, encourages the public to use the trails and sidewalks to visit area businesses who will be hosting activities and giveaways. Guests will receive a stamp on their event ‘passport’ for each business they visit and will be awarded with prizes if they visit a minimum number of the businesses listed. Additionally, there will be music, food trucks, a children’s scavenger hunt, a chalk walk and more. The event will be free to attend and participate in, and has been designed to promote healthy living and safe trail use in Waynedale.
Editor’s Note: EMBARK is a large community-wide celebration with many features of the event. More information about the event will be available in the upcoming edition of The Waynedale News on July 6.