Dozens of bike-riding commuters came together at the Ohio Statehouse May 12 with Consider Biking, Mayor Michael Coleman and City Councilmember Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, to hear details on the city’s 20-year Bicentennial Bikeways Plan.
"The soaring price of gas is helping jump start a transportation revolution in Columbus, and we are proud to promote biking as an alternative to the automobile for commuters as well as recreation," said Mayor Coleman, who biked from his Berwick home to join the rally. "We’ve committed $20 million by 2012, and are looking to making biking a safer, easier way to get around Columbus’ neighborhoods and to jobs and activities downtown."
The mayor and council member outlined many of the elements of the Bikeways plan, which is at www.altaprojects.net/columbus.
The city engaged Alta Planning and Design, the company that guided Portland, Oregon’s bike planning, last summer to guide local planning efforts, in partnership with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, MetroParks and the Departments of Public Service and Recreation and Parks.
"The first policy recommendation in the new bike master plan is to adopt a ‘Complete Streets’ policy for the city, to assure that roadways are built to accommodate not only cars, but pedestrians, transit and bikes," O’Shaughnessy said. "I hope to gain the support of my Council colleagues in support of a ‘Complete Streets’ resolution."
Columbus has about 87 miles of routes and trails, and by the 2012 Bicentennial, the city will add 31 miles of off-street trails, 58 miles of on-street bike lanes and route, with signs and striping to make biking safer, as well as installing hundreds of new bike racks and other amenities.
Regional partners will add another 49 miles of trails and routes. The 20-year plan will get the community to a total of nearly 728 miles of marked routes and new paths by 2028.
The funding for Columbus’ investment will come from the capital budget and the Bicentennial Bond Package going before voters in November.
"World class cities have world class accommodations for moving people by means other than a car. This week of activities and the Bicentennial Bikeways Plan are helping to promote and encourage our community to move in that direction," said Jeff Stephens, executive director of Consider Biking.
Some Columbus bikeway projects planned for construction between now and the end of 2012 from the Department of Public Service:
•Turning Milton Avenue in Clintonville into a Bike Boulevard, providing connection to two sections of the Olentangy Trail;
•Connecting the Olentangy Trail to the Alum Creek Trail, with 14 miles of bike lanes and paths;
•Constructing one mile of bike lanes on Kimberly Parkway, from Hamilton to Courtright roads;
•Transforming Sullivant Avenue into a 12.6-mile bike corridor, from the Main Street Bridge to Georgesville Road;
•Building five miles of bikeways in 8 Downtown alleys;
•Adding 1.8 miles of bike lanes on State Route 161, between Sawmill and Linworth roads;
•Building one mile of bike lanes on Lockbourne Road, from Livingston to Frebis avenues;
•Designing a share-the-road campaign for an eight-mile stretch of High Street, from Downtown out to Morse Road.
The Department of Recreation and Parks will add new neighborhood connections on bike paths and improve 7 major bridges to make room for cyclists and pedestrians. Some of the major projects include:
•Building three miles of the new Big Run Trail;
•Completing four miles of the Alum Creek Trail from Ohio Dominican to Innis Park;
•Adding 1.5 miles to the Scioto Trail from Berliner Park south towards Grove City;
•Adding two miles to the Big Walnut Trail.
The city also is planning to create a downtown "Bike Station" where cyclists who commute to Downtown jobs will be able to change clothes and store bikes.