Wayfinding is a catchy word to identify road signs that illustrate local bike paths.
Great Bend motorists and bicyclists have seen traffic signs in Great Bend. The installation of bicycle awareness signs started in 2014 with the painting of sharrows — shared lane bicycle markings.
The project includes 19th Street from Main Street to McKinley Street and McKinley Street from 19th Street to the Great Bend Sports Complex. The 32-block route features one sign for each traffic direction at seven locations, and eight sharrows stenciled in white on the street, which includes one for each traffic direction at four locations.
The project is a partnership between the Be Well Barton County leadership team and the city. The new signage raises awareness that bicyclists share the road with motorized vehicles.
The Be Well team suggested the route for three reasons — It is a high-traffic area and would call attention to efforts to improve active transportation with visible street markings; it connects several major areas, including downtown shopping, Brit Spaugh Park, Park Elementary School, Great Bend High School, Great Bend Middle School, Veterans Memorial Park, shopping on 10th Street, medical services and the sports complex; and it cemented cooperation with the city.
Be Well Barton County is a leadership team under the Central Kansas Partnership and funded by a Kansas Health Foundation grant. Be Well Barton County promotes healthy lifestyles in all of Barton County.
The Barton County Bicycle and Pedestrian master plan is available at the website goldenbeltcf.org. Members will update local communities and Barton County in 2016.
“Signage is multi-purpose. They inform the traveler that bikers might be nearby. They also send a message to educate and inspire the community to be active,” said Sue Cooper, Be Well member and program officer for the Golden Belt Community Foundation. “Bicycle and pedestrian safety is a challenge that requires technical and adaptive work.”
The signage creates awareness and is also a traffic calming measure, which is especially paramount near schools and parks, Cooper said.
It focuses on active transportation — the promotion of cycling and walking and the promotion of Complete Streets policies. This concept involves signs, sharrows, safe sidewalks, bike lanes and bike racks, and walking paths that make a community pedestrian friendly.
“It is great that a partnership has been developed to bring awareness that our streets need to be shared by motorist and bicycle riders,” said Howard Partington, Great Bend city administrator.
The Great Bend City Council partnered with Be Well Barton County to install signage and sharrows.
“This project will make Great Bend, already a progressive and accessible city, even more progressive and accessible,” said team member Dale Hogg.
Hoisington, Ellinwood and Claflin signs will employ elements that are similar to Great Bend’s concept.
Hoisington’s walkers contend with two highways, K-4 and U.S. 281. The Walking School Bus is very popular in Hoisington.
Ellinwood’s elementary, middle and high schools are within a few blocks of each other on the side of town that is East of Main Street and North of Santa Fe Blvd., U.S. 56.
Claflin is on the north side of K-4, so students have only residential streets to cross to get to the high school or the bus stop.
• The D11-1C Bike Route signs are used at the start of each route and key points along the way. They display the standard bicycle symbol and refers to the destination. Each destination line changes to a key designation later on the route.
• The W11-15 signs will be used at unsignalized crossings of bike and pedestrian routes at major streets. The signs provide advance warning of the presence of pedestrians and bicyclists.
• The Bicycle Guide Sign uses uses the D11-1A sign in combination with route number designators. It is located at the crossing of two numbered routes or key intersections.
• More standard D1 series Bicycle Guide Signs may complement or replace the numbered route guide sign.
• Special city-street signs for bicycle routes. Each city in Barton County could designate their city-specific signs in their school color. The signs could replace D11-1C signs along the route.
• Walking routes could be marked by specially-crafted signs to signify reliable pedestrian routes, including loops for recreaational walking.
Martin A. Shukert, a consultant with RDG Planning & Design of Omaha, Neb., Janelle Rose with the Barton County Health Department and Cooper visited Hoisington, Ellinwood, and Claflin for the bike and pedestrian master plan research.