By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
The Grove City Bicycle Transportation Task Force has given improvement recommendations to city leaders and those advancements cannot happen soon enough for cyclists.
At a recent meeting, James Daniels addressed Grove City Council and reported that two of the nine task force members were recently injured while cycling.
According to Daniels, his fellow task force members Josh Stamper and Dan Starcher were stopped at an intersection when the driver of a pickup truck lost control and struck both men. The cyclists required hospitalization and were treated for concussions. Starcher has had a series of surgeries to repair the injuries he received from the accident.
“Anything we present to you, as far as bicycle safety, comes from a very keen awareness that we have of the dangers of cycling,” said Daniels.
Earlier this year, the city created this task force to help integrate the city’s trail system into the surrounding regional trails by working with entities like the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), Central Ohio Greenways, Metro Parks, and the city of Columbus to review connections between Grove City and downtown Columbus and to the Camp Chase Trail.
Daniels said the task force members split up and rode on the routes to identify paths and safety concerns.
Those who cycled from Grove City to downtown Columbus used the route that travels down Gantz Road to Hardy Parkway, then to Brown Road. The problems bicyclists face on this route are that the roads are narrow, there is a lot of traffic, it lacks signage, and the bridge over Interstate 270 is unsafe.
According to Daniels, they are working with Central Ohio Greenways to create a trail from Scioto Grove Metro Park to Berliner Park, along Columbus and part of the Great Southern Shopping Center.
Connections from Grove City to Darby Park and the Camp Chase Trail, which leads to the Ohio to Erie Trail, include Johnson Road, the Bolton Field Bikeway, and Demorest to Big Run Park to Georgesville Road. Daniels said all those routes need safety improvements.
As far as connection within Grove City, Daniels and the task force had an idea.
“Our big ask is a bicycle and pedestrian-only bridge over Interstate 71, north of Hoover Road, where Hoover crosses the interstate,” said Daniels.
All the bicycle task force members have crossed the interstate on the Hoover Road bridge and Daniels said no one likes it.
“The bridge could link the east and west areas of the city and would greatly improve safety,” he said.
Some of the task force’s recommendations are already in the works.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said the city has had the goal of connecting the east and west side of the city via a bridge near Hoover Road by Mount Carmel Grove City. He said the pedestrian and bicycle bridge has been incorporated in the plan as a possibility.
Council president Ted Berry said city leaders have had discussions with officials from the city of Columbus and other entities to make connection easier. He said improvements are planned along Gantz Road and Hardy Parkway.
“We are getting there, but there is more work to do,” said Berry.
According to Daniels, the task force would also like to create bike-friendly educational and map materials as well as host cycling events. They plan to continue to work with community partners on connections to downtown Columbus and the Camp Chase Trail.
The task force also plans to submit accreditation paperwork to Bicycle Friendly America by February of 2024. According to its website, this is a program that provides advocates with a roadmap and assistance to build places more welcoming to people who bike. It is a tool for states, communities, businesses, and universities to make bicycling a transportation and recreation option for all people.
Approximately 500 cities across the nation participate in the program and share best practices.