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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Improving Cincinnati's bike scene

Cincinnati is's a very walkable city that has interesting streetscapes that do not completely bend over backwards to accommodate the automobile. I also feel that Cincinnati has a pretty strong bicyclist contingent... but with that said, I also think we should be doing a lot more to provide safe bicycle networks and parking facilities.

Portland is a city that is often thrown around as a poster child for a lot of things. But you know what...they simply do a lot of things right, and bicycling is one of those. You can request free bike racks, from the city, and even check out their standards if you so choose to install your own. Portland even has a master bike plan that has routes and parking facilities mapped out.

Bike Oasis Covered Bicycle Parking Facility

Now this has me asking myself...what could be done in Cincinnati to improve the bicycle situation here. Sure we have racks installed randomly, but Cincinnati's existing bicycle plan seems to be lacking. Furthermore I don't believe I've ever seen a covered bicycle parking facility in this city, or even a plan to install one. With Portland's bicycle parking options you can actually even request to have a facility installed that would provide on-street bike parking...taking up roughly 1.5 on-street parking spaces, and it would provide parking for 12 bikes.

All in all, it seems like something worthwhile for the city to pursue. You could reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, improve fitness levels, offer greater amounts of parking options and just make the city a more attractive place for those who choose to travel by bike. Given the recent progress of streetcars it would seem to be an attractive opportunity for the city to pursue.

Bicycling in Cincinnati:
MoBo Bicycle Co-op
Bike Trails in the Tri-State
Trail Yeah
Trek Cincinnati
Morning Glory Bike Ride


Sean F. said...

Bike parking in the core would really help those (like myself) who do not have room for a bike in their residence. Like you said, we can fit quite a few bikes into very few car parking spots, and it is fairly cheap to do - we should make this a priority.

If we want to be competitive with the "creative class" we have to start doing the little things to make navigating the city easier and providing opportunities for physical activity.

We could also go a step farther and institute a bike sharing program like the one they are trying to start in San Francisco. That way, you won't even need to own a bike to have the mobility it provides.

Anonymous said...

I bring this up every now and again when "increased bicycling" is proposed for Cincinnati. I spend a lot of time in Portland on business, and the cyclists are terrible. Often, they take up part of the "car lanes", so drivers end up waiting behind them or dangerously passing them too closely. And they frequently totally ignore traffic laws like stop signs and red lights, riding through intersections at full speed. Anecdotally, they also throw A TON of attitude at cars. Everyone there seems to have a road rage horror story about a cyclist that spit on their SUV or kicked off their mirror. A car that I was riding in was even punched once! Bicycling is a great idea, but people tend to forget that they are vehicles as well. I'm all for taking cars off the road, but if Cincinnati decides to promote cycling, I hope that they'll also strictly enforce traffic laws for the safety of both cyclists and drivers.

Anonymous said...

Also, that bike oasis looks very cool.

Radarman said...

So confused is the city about bicycles that bikecops routinely ride against traffic, ignore lights, and ride on the sidewalk. Same for the Downtown Ambassadors. It's hard to suggest to young riders that they should be in the street when the cops aren't.

It would be a very nice gesture to put clear wide bike lanes on Eastern Avenue where there is no real need for standard vehicular lanes.

Is there a council member who has even begun to understand why bicycles are useful for the city?

Randy Simes said...

Just a quick note...according to the city's website the city has over 200 bike racks. You can then compare this to Portland which has over 2,000.

The two cities have nearly identical population sizes and densities.

wesg said...

I'm really glad to see all the interest in biking in Cincinnati.

It is true that Cincinnati still has a long ways to go to become an ideal bike community. Even Portland wasn't always the benchmark that it is today. My understanding is that Portland's progress was lead in good part by a group of committed community activists.

The most active group of this sort in Cincinnati, to my knowledge, is the Cincinnati Bike/PAC.

We meet at Arnold's downtown on 8th steet. Second Tuesday of each month, you'll find us upstairs. Next meeting December 9th.

Change happens when commited people get involved.

Anonymous said...

- Requests for bike racks are taken by calling the Public Works Hotline 513-591-6000

- Covered bike racks are available at Seventh/Sycamore Garage, Ninth/Vine Garage, Kroger Parking Garage (1014 Vine), and at the Federal Building (550 Main St). There are more racks inside private buildings but we don't have an inventory of them.

- The Cincinnati Bike Route Guide and the Downtown Inventory has most of the bike racks mapped. Bike/PAC has these available

Anonymous said...

btw, here is the link to the bike rack map

Randy Simes said...

^Thanks for the info joe_schmo

Anonymous said...

Ironic the timing... the City Manager is planning to eliminate Bike/PAC in next year's constrained budget. If you want more racks, maps, lanes, grates, etc., write City Council now!

Unknown said...

On-street bike parking could be a better option for Cincy. 1.5 car parking spots can be converted to 50 bike racks.

Sarai Snyder said...

We have a great opportunity to speak up and let the city know what we want. City Council is holding a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing on October 22, 2008 from 6-9pm. If you would like to state your case for a better bicycle infrastructure whether you live in the city or not, please attend! Many will have the opportunity to testify. For more information and to keep abreast of other bicycle events and chances to speak out for a positive change please visit
We are working to bring everything bicycle related in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to one place. Help us make it happen!

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