Ledger Inquirer: Pothole poses peril for pedalers on path

June 30, 2013 

If you haven't ridden your bicycle on the Fall Line Trace, the riding and walking path built on an abandoned rail bed, you should.

But until this week's problem is solved, I would ride with great care at the western end of the trail.

A Concerned Rider named Cindy called in to report a hazardous pothole at the beginning of the trail section going west from 12th Avenue. Some riders may think the path ends at the five-way intersection where Buck Ice and Coal has been since God was a kid. But it actually picks back up about a half-block south on the other side of 12th and runs another few blocks to 10th Avenue.

The pothole is a doozy and could flip a cyclist onto his or her head if it were struck at any speed.

Potholes are usually an easy fix. Call the city's Public Works Department and they're all over it. But maybe not this time.

I called Public Works Director Pat Biegler Friday afternoon and she sent one of her people out to check on it. That person reported back that the pothole is apparently on private property. And the city doesn't just go on private property fixing things.

Biegler said the city would notify the property owner and express the city's concern and hope that the owner would repair the problem before someone gets hurt.

But then things took a better turn. Biegler called me back and said she'd been looking at aerial photos of the site and determined that, even though the driveway is the entrance to several private businesses, it's also the only way citizens can access the Fall Line Trace at that point.

So the city is going to "err on the side of safety," as she said, and fill in the pothole with "crush and run," a sort of gravel that compacts well and should immediately make the path much safer. Then a more permanent solution can be explored.

Update

While we're on the subject of unsafe bicycling venues, and while I had Biegler on the phone, I asked if there had been any progress on the RiverWalk's slippery covered bridge.

You may recall a few people have taken a tumble on the bridge just north of Rotary Park because the wooden surface of the bridge is very slick when wet.

The city called in a consultant to come up with several options to address the problem. Biegler said a meeting has been called for next week sometime to go over the options and choose one or more to take to Columbus Council for approval.

Hopefully the councilors, who will be meeting in their plush new digs in the City Service Center, will be feeling generous and fix that thing up right.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at mowen@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8570.

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