Who yields to whom?
That’s the question the Polly Ann Trail Management Council (PATMC) is hoping to answer for trail users via some new signage.
Last week, the council voted unanimously to proceed with the development and installation of signs along the 16.9-mile recreational trail that inform users who has the right of way in order to help prevent confusion, accidents and confrontations.
Both cyclists and pedestrians are supposed to yield to individuals riding horses. Cyclists are also supposed to yield to folks on foot, be they walking, hiking or running.
Leonard Village President Mike McDonald, chairman of the council, proposed the idea and submitted a photo of a triangular “Trail Courtesy” sign on another Michigan trail.
Images representing a cyclist, a walker and a horseback rider are located in the corners and there are arrows pointing to each one with the words “yield to” in the center of the sign.
“It’s a graphic message more than a written message,” McDonald said. “We could have the signs permanently placed on the trail, especially in the high-use areas where we know there’s going to be a lot of equestrian traffic.”
“I think it’s absolutely perfect,” said Trail Council Member Ed Brakefield, an equestrian trail user and Addison Township trustee.
Trail Manager Linda Moran was directed to explore potential sources for this signage and costs.
She noted she might be able to get this done as part of an Eagle Scout community service project.
“Then it wouldn’t cost us anything,” she said.
Moran asked the council how many signs it had in mind.
“I think the trail manager will determine that,” McDonald replied.
“Every 50 feet,” joked Brakefield.
PATMC Member Mark Thurber, treasurer for Orion Township, noted he doesn’t wish to see the trail become cluttered with too many signs. “I’m a big proponent of less is more,” he said.
Thurber noted he’s “not really crazy about signs” in general, “but I really thought that these (would) fit perfectly” on the trail. He suggested attaching them to existing monuments and poles wherever possible in order to “minimize” the number of new poles needed.
Brakefield proposed attaching them to the mile-markers along the trail.
“That may be the perfect spot to locate them, so you get two things in one,” he said.
Brakefield also suggested placing them on the stop signs located everywhere the trail intersects a road.
“Put them on both sides of the road,” he said. “Anybody who goes on the Polly Ann would have to see it.”’
The Polly Ann Trail runs through Addison, Oxford and Orion townships, as well as the villages of Leonard and Oxford.