By Andrea Cordle
Grove City resident and councilman Ted Berry frequently rides his bicycle to work in downtown Columbus. The main problem with that is the bike paths end when he leaves Grove City limits.
“There is no safe way to get to downtown Columbus,” said Berry.
Berry said he hears complaints from other local cyclists as well.
“There are tons of bikers in the area and we want an easy and safe way to get downtown,” he said.
According to Berry, the easiest route out of Grove City to Columbus is down Gantz Road, to Hardy Parkway, to Brown Road then onto Central Point into downtown.
“There is nothing over there,” said Berry referring to bike paths.
Bicycle riders could also travel down Harrisburg Pike or State Route 104, but those routes are not without issue. Berry said there is too much large truck traffic on State Route 104 and Harrisburg Pike is just not safe for riders.
To build safe bike paths into Columbus, the city would need to work with other jurisdictions. The routes to get into downtown Columbus from Grove City go through the city of Columbus and Franklin Township.
According to a Columbus Bicentennial Bikeways plan, the city has proposed more than 500 new miles of bikeways, some of which would be cross-jurisdictional with neighboring suburbs, like Grove City.
“We at the city are open to working with our neighbors to expand bicycling infrastructure and connectivity in central Ohio,” said Michael Liggett, community relations coordinator with the city of Columbus. “There are currently no projects in process for this but as our bikeways system continues to expand, there is future potential for projects that are cross-jurisdictional.”
Franklin Township trustee Aryeh Alex said township officials have not discussed a bike path running through township roads, however he said he is open to the idea.
“I am very supportive of the idea and think that building a bike path would be a great opportunity for residents to be better able to commute,” said Alex.
Franklin Township is a smaller municipality and many of the roads do not even have sidewalks.
“Most of our township is without sidewalks and walking on the street is difficult and dangerous,” said Alex. “Adding a bike path on a major thorough way like Brown Road or Harrisburg Pike, would create a safe place for individuals to bike and walk in our community.”
Grove City Parks and Recreation Director Kim Conrad said local bicyclists can pick up the Camp Chase Trail near Alkire Road. The Camp Chase Trail would then take riders through west Columbus and the Hilltop. Then riders could connect to the Scioto Greenway Trail that runs along the Scioto River into downtown Columbus.
Conrad said this is not the most direct route, but it is a bikeway into Columbus.
The parks and recreation director also said the city plans to extend the bike path from Buckeye Parkway through the new Farmstead subdivision to connect to Scioto Grove Metro Park though that is years down the road.
“The main goal for Grove City is to get the path over to Scioto Grove then extend it,” said Conrad.
Conrad said riders could then take State Route 104 into Columbus.
Both Conrad and Berry said they plan to contact the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) about the bike trails.
MORPC established a Central Ohio Greenways committee in 2015 to develop a plan for a network of trails easily accessible to every central Ohioan. Conrad said Grove City is represented in this committee and she would bring up the issue of access from the city to Columbus.
“We are on the radar,” she said. “It’s just a matter of when it will happen.
Berry said in addition to contacting MORPC about safe and easy pathways into Columbus, he also plans to reach out to Columbus leaders.
For more information on the Greenway Committee, visit www.morpc.org/committees/central-ohio-greenways.