EAST ROCKHILL — Officials aren't slamming the brakes on a request that bike route signs be added in the municipality, but they're also not ready to push down hard on the pedals.
The Appalachian Mountain Club requested that signs for an on-road bike route be placed on Axe Handle, Clymer and Richlandtown roads, Township Manager Marianne Morano said at the Jan. 28 East Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors meeting.
A review of the request by Steve Baluh, the township engineer, noted that those roads are narrow and are not part of the Bucks County trail plans, Morano said.
"In general, bikes are permitted on any road," Baluh said at the meeting. "There's not a restriction on the road width that bikes can be on."
If the board agrees to have the bike route signs, though, there should also be others, such as "bicycle crossing" or "share the road" to draw motorists' attention to the bicycle traffic, he said. Other bike routes include the additional signs, he said.
Board Chairman Dave Nyman, who had earlier asked about the width of the three streets, asked how much road shoulder space there was on the streets.
"Very little," Public Works Director Jeff Scholl said.
"That's my point," Nyman said.
Nyman said he doesn't think it would be safe to have a bicycle route there.
"I understand that bicycles are allowed there," he said, "but us promoting the use of those roads for bicycle lanes does not seem to be practical."
The township should get a review from the Bucks County Planning Commission and Pennridge Regional Police Department before making a decision, he said.
"I'm not in favor of recommending that we go forward with this at this point in time. There's far too many questions," he said.
"I don't mind bringing the attention to bikes. They're gonna ride there anyway," board member Jim Nietupski said.
It's dangerous to encourage people to bicycle on the narrow roads, though, he said.
Baluh said the township could ask for alternative roads for the bike route.
"[Route] 313 has decent shoulders on it most of the way. It just boggles my mind they wanna go back on country roads," Nyman said.
Bicyclists coming from Quakertown would use Route 313 to get to Axe Handle Road, Baluh said.
He said the three township roads were probably suggested because those streets would be more scenic and have less traffic than Route 313.
"I worry about safety," Nyman said.
"Let's try to get some more information and follow through with things a little bit. I'm having trouble with advertising our narrow roads to use as bicycle trails," he said.
The board understands the request for the bike route, but has to look into it more, board member Gary Volovnik said.
"We're thinking there may be better routes," Nyman said.
In other matters at the meeting:
• The board approved a resolution commending Nancy Booz, who left the East Rockhill Township Planning Commission at the end of 2019, for her 40 years of service.
"I did call Nancy and invited her to tonight's meeting, but she wasn't looking for any fanfare," Morano said.
"Knowing Nancy, she probably wasn't interested in any recognition, but I think the recognition is well deserved," Nyman said before reading the resolution aloud.
• A list of the township accomplishments during 2019 will be posted on the township website, Morano said.
"It's just a nice history of what happened throughout the year," she said.
The report also included analytics for the website, Nyman noted.
Statistics were given for each of the years 2013 through 2019, with the 16,254 users, 26,744 sessions and 65,168 page views in 2019 each being new highs.
"It's nice to see that it keeps growing and people use it as a source of information," Morano said.
• Arlo Eby was appointed as an alternate to the East Rockhill Township Zoning Hearing Board.
• Karen Chellew was appointed to fill an elected auditor vacancy for a term ending Dec. 31, 2021.