Findlay City Council’s Streets, Sidewalks & Parking Committee voted Wednesday to seek legislation that would establish a “dismount zone” on downtown Findlay sidewalks.

The new rule would affect more than bicyclists.

Skateboarding, rollerblading or riding a scooter would also be prohibited along Main Street from Lincoln Street north to the Blanchard River bridge, including parts of several streets that intersect Main Street in the downtown area.

Committee members Tim Watson, R-7, and Grant Russel, R-at-large, voted in favor of seeking council’s vote on legislation.

Councilwoman Holly Frische, R-1, who is also a member of the committee, was absent from Wednesday’s meeting.

In 2017, a proposed ordinance called for banning everyone from riding a bicycle on Main Street sidewalks in an area bounded by Lincoln Street on the south and the Blanchard River bridge to the north. Under the proposal, bicyclists would have to take alleys, walk their bicycles in the downtown area, or ride in the street.

Violating the rule would have been considered a minor misdemeanor with a fine up to $150.

Council, concerned with forcing bicyclists off the sidewalk during the heavy street construction along Main Street last year, decided to wait.

Many downtown businesses want bicyclists off the sidewalks, saying bicycle riders create a dangerous situation for pedestrians and a growing number of sidewalk diners.

The legislation would also make the registration of bicycles with the Findlay Police Department a voluntary act. Bicyclists are now required to have their bikes inspected and registered with police.

Russel said registration helps police identify lost or stolen bicycles and return them to their owners. Under the proposal, residents who would still like to register their bicycles may do so, Russel said.

City officials learned this week that the effort to make cycling safer throughout Findlay is going to get more state help. The city has been awarded a second Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant to extend the Blanchard River Greenway Trail from 1100 E. Main Cross St. to Riverbend Recreation Area.

The state announced an additional $1.2 million in TAP money earlier this month, according to Brian Thomas, city service director.

Findlay City Council voted in June to accept about $1.7 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation from TAP to extend the Blanchard River Greenway Trail, and to create lanes for bicycles along Blanchard and Lincoln streets.

The Greenway Trail extension is currently under design and is scheduled for construction in 2020. State grant money is expected to cover 95 percent of the cost.

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