Nine-month-old Kinley O’Neill of Springfield was having a good time feeding the ducks and watching the squirrels Sunday as her family strolled through Washington Park on Bike and Hike Day.
The Bike and Hike Day tradition at Washington Park resumed May 1, and is set to continue through September. From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays and 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, vehicular traffic in the park is limited. The idea is to encourage more people to get out and walk, hike, jog or ride their bicycles.
Tim O’Neill and Nicole Layne, Kinley’s parents, said they appreciated the opportunity to walk through sections of the park without having to worry about vehicular traffic on the roadway.
“There’s a lot more space for the bikers and joggers,” Layne said. “I saw a lot of couples riding their bikes with their kids in a little carrier in the back. This makes more room for all of us. We don’t have to pay attention to the cars. It’s more about the nature and the beauty surrounding us.”
Bob Wicks of Mechanicsburg also was enjoying a walk through Washington Park on Sunday. He was with other family members, including his 10-month old Dachshund mix puppy, Buddy.
“It’s good to come out, walk the dog and have the road to yourself,” Wicks said. “I haven’t been the park in a while. This is Buddy’s first time. We’re taking him out and getting him use to the smells, people and other dogs.”
This year marks the third year that the Bike Hike Days at Washington Park have been carried through to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
While Wicks and the other walkers, joggers and cyclists were having a good time, some motorists have complained about the limited vehicular access, said Springfield Park District Police Chief Laimutis “Limey” Nargelenas.
“We have some people who do not like it all because they can’t drive their cars through the park during those periods of time,” Nargelenas said. “We do get some people, particularly disabled people, who would like to drive through and they are not able. That’s a bit of an issue.”
The chief added that officers give ordinance violations to motorists who move the yellow barricades and drive into the restricted areas during Bike and Hike Days.
“Overall, we’ve gotten favorable reviews for the Bike and Hike Days,” Nargelenas said.
Back at Washington Park on Sunday, Steve and Raegan Marion of Chicago were enjoying the warm 80-degree weather and blue skies. They said they don’t have any facility like Washington Park near their home, and they liked the idea of the limited traffic vehicular traffic.
“You guys have a great facility here,” Steve Marion said.
–Contact John Reynolds: [email protected], 788-1524, twitter.com/JohnReynoldsSJR.[“Source-sj-r”]