Did you know that on a nice weekend day that there are between 1,000 – 1,500 users of the Heritage Rail Trail? This regional pathway is becoming increasingly popular for walkers, joggers, cyclists, and rollerbladers of all ages and abilities. The City of Hilliard has partnered with the Ohio Department of Transportation to improve the safety of the crossing of the Heritage Rail Trail at Cosgray.


Project Overview

The improvement of the Heritage Rail Trail crossing at Cosgray Road includes: 

  • Realignment of the trail to improve sight distance
  • Installation of a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) to give notice to motorists that a pedestrian is waiting to cross the street and that the motorist should yield to allow the pedestrian to cross
  • Installation of street lighting to improve visibility of the crossing during early morning or evening hours
  • Installation of curbing in advance of the crossing to change the roadway character and encourage slower vehicle speeds
  • Installation of improved signs and pavement markings to give advance notice to motorists of the trail crossing
  • Modification of landscaping to improve visibility of pedestrians and oncoming motorists

What is a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon and how does it work?

Studies throughout the country have shown that RRFBs are quite effective at increasing motorists’ yielding to pedestrians.  

As a trail user, you should push the button to activate the flashing beacon and wait for cars in both directions to yield at the crosswalk.  Never assume that a motorist is going to stop for you, but be ready to cross once you are sure that cars in both directions have stopped.

As a motorist, you should slow down in advance of the trail crossing and be prepared to stop.  If the lights are flashing, which indicate that a pedestrian is waiting to cross the street, you should yield to allow the pedestrian to safely cross the street.

Schedule
The project will be constructed in Spring 2015.  The Heritage Rail Trail will be closed for approximately one week while the path is realigned.  Trail users will be able to divert around the construction area through the grass during this time.


History
The City of Hilliard conducted a study of the pathway and the safety of the crossings at Leppert Road, Cosgray Road, and Hayden Run Road in 2012.  As a result of this study, the Cosgray Road crossing was identified as the most critical in terms of safety based on vehicle speed, vehicle volume, and available gaps in traffic.  Federal safety funds, administered through the Ohio Department of Transportation, were targeted to provide the funding necessary to construct the improvement.  Upon evaluation of the improvements at Cosgray Road, similar improvements at the Leppert Road crossing may be considered.

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Heritage Rail Trail Crossing Study.29Aug2012PDF6.32 MB Download

Why don’t you put in a tunnel or a bridge?

Residents frequently ask this question.  A tunnel would be challenging to build and maintain from a drainage standpoint, and a tunnel presents its own unique sorts of dangers related to personal safety. A bridge would have significant impacts on adjacent properties because of the need to build large retaining walls and long slopes to connect the pathways up and over the street. Either of these two options would be very expensive and may not be the best or most effective solution to improve safety of the crossings on the Heritage Rail Trail.  Studies have shown that unless you physically prohibit trail users from crossing at the street level through the use of a fence or barrier, trail users will rarely go up and over (or down and under) when they can cross at street level easily during most times of the day. At the Cosgray Road crossing, it is only difficult to cross the street during a few hours of the day; therefore, the City is focusing its resources on providing an effective solution to increase motorist yielding during those peak periods.  This stretches the available funds further and allows other pedestrian and bicycle improvements throughout the City to be built sooner.

Want more information?

For more information on this project or other pedestrian and bicycle safety/mobility projects, please contact Letty Schamp, Transportation Engineer, at
lschamp@hilliardohio.gov.