By Rick Palsgrove
A bike path in Groveport is now part of a national bicycle route system.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the Ohio Department of Transportation are designating various corridors throughout Ohio to be part of the U.S. Bicycle Routes system.
“As of today, USBR 50 is the only officially designated route through the state of Ohio,” said Erica Hawkins, ODOT director of communication. “It spans east to west and covers 308 miles. That said, there are a total of about 3,300 miles throughout the state that will be ultimately designated.”
One such corridor includes a bike path that passes through the city of Groveport. On Aug. 13, Groveport City Council passed a resolution to support ODOT’s efforts to designate the following paths located in Groveport to be part of the U.S. Bicycle Route system: the Blacklick Creek Greenways Trail in Three Creeks Metro Park that extends northwest from Bixby Road; the 1.3 mile Foor Leisure Path that runs from Corbett Road to Bixby Road; and the 1.7 mile nature trail extending from Groveport’s Blacklick Park east to Rager Road.
“We are doing this at the request of ODOT. It would make these Groveport paths part of the U.S. Bike Routes map,” said Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall. “Being designated as a formal route could assist us in obtaining grant funding in the future, although the purpose of the designations is not grant related. Once designated by American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the routes will be publicized (with maps and information) for tourism.”
Hawkins said State Bike Route (SBR) 33 runs through Groveport and connects to the cross-country U.S. Bike Route 50 to the north and to Lancaster to the southeast.
“This route was selected to provide a southeast connection from Central Ohio to SBR 65 which connects to Southeast Ohio through Athens and Marietta,” said Hawkins. “The portion of SBR 33 that connects from Bexley to Groveport is special because it is almost entirely on off-road bicycle facilities, providing a comfortable bicycling experience for users of all ages and abilities.”
Hawkins said the route follows along the Alum Creek Multi-Use Trail, which is part of the Ohio to Erie Trail, then onto the Blacklick Creek Greenways Trail through the Groveport paths and then follows Groveport Road into Canal Winchester.
Hawkins said the goal of designating State and U.S. Bike Routes is to develop a strategic bicycling network across Ohio.
“Statewide this means identifying, signing, and promoting routes for long-distance bike travel, which can attract local, regional, and national recreation and tourism,” said Hawkins. “Bike tourism has been associated with positive economic gains in local communities.”
She said, at the local level, this also means that communities on a designated bike route are connected to a larger bicycling network that can provide regional connectivity, but also be a starting point for local bicycle facility development and connectivity.
“Designating these routes is the first step before adding signage and directing and encouraging bicyclists to use these networks, which connect major population centers and destinations,” said Hawkins. “Over time, through coordination with local communities and regional organizations, the goal will be to develop and improve bicycle facilities on these routes during scheduled road resurfacing projects and other transportation projects.”
For information visit www.bike.ohio.gov and click on the “State and US Bike Route” button which takes you to the map of the identified bike routes in Ohio. For more information, contact Caraline Griffith at (614) 644-8336 or Caraline.Griffith@dot.ohio.gov.
About the Groveport bike paths
Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst said the paths in Groveport are “shared-use” paths that allow both bicycles and pedestrians. He said there is an estimated total of 6.23 miles of such paths in the city. Additionally, there are about 2.77 miles of the Blacklick Greenways Trail, managed by Metro Parks, located in Groveport.
“This does not include trails and paths on lands owned by the schools,” said Farst.
Nearby Walnut Woods Metro Park and Three Creeks Metro Park also have extensive bike paths within their boundaries.
According to Farst, the shared-use paths in Groveport include: the Foor Leisure Path, Blacklick Nature Trail, a path on the north side of Wirt Road by Groveport Cemetery, the path along the public parking lot by Ace Hardware extending from Main Street to Elm Street, the circular path in Groveport Park, the path on West Bixby Road from Bixby Ridge East to Madison Christian School, the Palm Pond circular trail, and connecting trails in Groveport Park.
Also, Groveport has applied for an Ohio NatureWorks grant to help fund the construction of an 860 to 920 foot paved shared-use path to connect the Bixford Green subdivision to the Blacklick Creek Greenways Trail in Three Creeks Metro Park.
The city of Canal Winchester recently extended its Groveport Road bike path westward from Gender Road to the access road near the Waste Management facility.
When asked if the city of Groveport is considering paving its Blacklick Park Nature Trail from the park to Rager Road, Hall said, “Not at this time.”
When questioned if there are any plans for Groveport and Canal Winchester to link up their respective paths at Rager Road, and if any bike path connections are being considered to connect the city with the paths in Walnut Woods Metro Park, Hall said, “The extension between Groveport and Canal Winchester has been discussed as a Metro Parks project.”
However, no other details are yet available on that potential project.