Some of the city's biggest bike-related projects in the works for 2013 are still in the planning stages, but a few will continue and build on the momentum from last year.
This year, the city's Bicycle Transportation Program
includes plans to finish more than two miles of bike lanes along Riverside Drive, a project that was started in 2009. Plans are also in the works to extend the Spring Grove bike lanes from Hopple to Bank Street downtown; proposals have been drafted for rehabilitation projects along Dalton Street, Bank, Western Avenue and Langdon Farm Road.
The City also hopes to continue its design work on the Ohio River Trail, extending bike-friendly paths from Salem Street to Sutton Road and Collins Avenue to Corbin Street.
The City is also in the early stages of looking to put Ohio’s first cycle track on Central Parkway between Ludlow Avenue and Liberty Street. “Cycle tracks aren’t mainstream yet, but New York City and Washington, D.C., have quite a few,” says Melissa McVay, senior city planner in the Division of Transportation & Engineering. “They’re the most family-friendly bike facility you can build.”
A cycle track is like a bike trail or shared path, but it’s in the street, for bikes only and separated from cars by a physical barrier, such as planters, trees or a curb. Cycle tracks are meant to keep cars from veering into bicyclists’ paths.
“A typical bike lane is usually enough to encourage cyclists to try them, but sometimes, they don’t make everyone feel comfortable,” says McVay. “The physical barrier of a cycle track is meant to make cyclists feel safe.”
One of the most exciting developments for bicyclists last year was the addition of a green bike lane on Ludlow last year. “It started the conversation among people who don’t ride bikes, and they’re beginning to see the infrastructure,” McVay says. “I feel like the bike community has grown, and there is now a growing city-wide awareness.”
Approved by the City in 2009 and put into action in 2010, the Bike Plan outlines bicycle-related projects over the next 15 years. In all, the plan recommends 445 miles of on-street and off-street bike facilities, such as bike lanes, bike racks and multi-use trails.
In 2009, there were about seven miles of bike lanes and sharrows in Cincinnati, says McVay. In 2010, 2.3 miles were added; in 2011, 4.5 miles; in 2012, five more miles were added, for a total of 19 miles.
Since 1993, many bike-friendly projects have been implemented, including striping 12 miles of bike lanes, creating 21 miles of shared-use paths and trails and installing six miles of sharrows, or shared lane markings, throughout the city.
The bulk of the Bicycle Transportation Program's focus is on developing on-street and off-street bike facilities as outlined in the Bike Plan, but it also organizes bike-related events, proposing policy and zoning changes, and working on advocacy projects with Queen City Bike
and Mobo Bicycle Co-op
The public played a huge part in developing the Bike Plan by utilizing online tools to show the City where bike facilities were needed.
Even though there has been an outpouring of public support for bike facilities, there are still issues when it comes to removing parking. The City proposed a project along Spring Grove Avenue this past summer that would consolidate on-street parking to one side of the street, but businesses liked having parking available on both sides of the street.
“The project will be successful if the community comes together and rallies around the project, and the trade-off of on-street parking for a bike lane will ultimately benefit both business owners and bicyclists,” McVay says.
The City wants to hear from you! Take the survery
and grade Cincinnati on different bike-friendly aspects around town.
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter