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Why are some curbs painted green in Norwalk?

Joe Centers • Jul 26, 2015 at 10:07 AM

   Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow-brick road Follow the yellow-brick, follow the yellow-brick Follow the yellow-brick road... You’re off to see the wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz!   Lyrics to Follow The Yellow Brick Road (Munchkins)

   Fast forward to July 2015 in Norwalk. There is no Yellow Brick Road, but there are new green markings on the curbs through town to follow.

   Follow the green-painted curbs.

   Those markings are for the Firelands Rails to Trails. The green curb markings help bikers navigate their way through town connecting the trail. The trail, from the west, ends at Jefferson and Baker streets in town. From there you hit a sidewalk to the corner of State and Ohio streets.

   To get through town you: Go east on Ohio Street; south on on Hester Street; east on Monroe Street; south on Foster Street; east on Main Street to Townsend Avenue; Townsend Avenue to Perrin Road at the edge of town.

   “What happens there, that will be the end on the trail until it picks up at Laylin (Road),” said Rick Schaffer, a longtime Firelands Rails to Trails member and supporter. “In the next year we want to build a section from corner of Perrin and Townsend to Laylin Road. The trail is done from Laylin Road to DeRussey on the other side of Collins.    “At DeRussey you have to go back on the road. DeRussey to Liles, to Wakeman Town Line, to Ogan into Wakeman. You end up on River Road in Wakeman. That is the end of our portion of the trail. The bridge in Wakeman is being re-habbed. On the other side of railroad bridge is where Lorain County will pick up.”

   The entire route is the North Coast Inland Trail, with Firelands Rails to Trails managing the trail in Huron County.

   “From end to end it’s pushing 100 miles,” Schaffer said. “It’s about 14 miles (Firelands Rails to Trails) if you count the on-street portion in Norwalk. If you count the portion we built (Prairie Road in Bellevue to the east of Norwalk) it’s about 12 miles.”

   Who came up with the idea to paint the curbs green?

   “That was Josh Snyder’s idea,” Schaffer said. “I think it’s really a great idea.”

   “It wasn’t my sole idea,” said Snyder, Norwalk public works director. “It was a collaboration between us and the Rails to Trails people. The streets we selected were to keep it out of the busy parking area downtown. The bulk of it is on Monroe Street. Even though we are a street from downtown there is still access to many of the businesses.

   “We have it marked and well signed. We have the green curbs. We needed to make this route stand out. Follow the green curb and it will guide you through the urban section of Firelands Rail to Trail.”

   Snyder said he is not a big bike rider, but he does enjoy the trail.

   “I like running on it, personally,” he said. “I go out there out at night running with a headlamp. I like the trail for that.”

   Snyder can’t say enough good things about the trail.

   “It’s one of those legacytypes of things,” he said. “It will be there forever. This route bisects the city. You can get on this dedicated route — it is defined and people will be aware of it.

   “It certainly opens up the city to a whole new sect of individuals. It’s a whole mode of transportation and a whole way of thinking. It could open up a lot of possibilities.”

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