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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cincinnati's Cycling Scene

It's no secret. Cincinnati's cycling scene is a little lacking, and the effort put forth by the city to cater to this mode of transport is paltry at best. The City of Cincinnati states that there are 55 miles of bike routes, although 24 miles are signed. A bike route does not necessarily mean that it features a dedicated lane for cyclists or improved bicycle storage facilities, just that it is a city-preferred route. There are also only 200 bicycle racks in the city that boasts a population of over 300,000.

The city boasts that it has added six sets of bicycle lanes over the "past few years," although if it is anything like what was added to Victory Parkway, in which the lanes only extend for 1/2 mile and connect to no other facilities or bike lanes and are entirely isolated, then this boasting may be a bit premature.

The city, though, is looking to create designated two-wheeled, motorized vehicle parking areas, and it would be nice if the city could extend that to implenting more bicycle racks throughout the study area.

For the month of September, UrbanCincy asked its readers what the city should do to cater to cyclists, and the response was pretty overwhelming:

  • 38% would like to see additional bike lanes and trails;
  • 16% wanted more bicycle facilities that include dedicated parking areas, lockers and showers;
  • 1% requested additional bike signage and striping on roadways;
  • 1% would like to see more bicycle co-ops;
  • and less than 1% wanted more driver and cyclist education programs.
Interesting enough, 50% wanted to see all five options implemented.

The demand is there for these facilities, and every day that I am out on the bike or walking the streets, I spot countless cyclists interacting in various ways with traffic. Some are commuters, others are racers, but many just don't fall under any identifiable category. And the number of cyclists continue to increase, especially with weekly rides such as Cincinnati Mayhem and various rides from the local bicycle shops, and with the ever-popular end-of-the-month Critical Mass.

Finding information about these, though, is a bit cumbersome. Queen City Bike is a great resource and blog, where you can find up-to-date information. Although it is a new forum, CincyRides attempts to combine many of the divergent resources together into one convenient and accessible web-site.

Even though winter is fast approaching, it is still a great time to get out on the bike and become one of the many commuters who take to the streets every morning, or one of the many who bike for pleasure and health. An ever-greater bike presence will only result in ever-greater attention by the city, after all.

15 comments:

Quim said...

Those bike route signs are weird.
Other cycling resources are the MoBo Bicycle CoOp in Northside
http://www.mobobicyclecoop.org/
and a weekly ride from Northside's Hoffner Park to Findlay Market
http://www.myspace.com/northsidefindlaymktride
Riding in the winter in Cincinnati ai't bad temerature-wise, it gets kind sloppy, tho.

cincyscenes said...

thanks for posting this -- sorry I missed it when it first went up. I think i voted for more lanes and trails, although in my head that was shorthand for "overhaul the infrastructure" and get bicycles integrated into the traffic flow and pattern.

Quim: yeah, I got a wake-up call when my dad asked my how I could ever ride my bike on Roundbottom Rd (I do, but only in groups); when I told him it was marked as a bike route from Milford to Newtown Rd, he said, "Really? I've never noticed those signs."

Gulp.

ekalb said...

Whoa, Round bottom road. I doubt I would bike it myself. Drivers use it has a speedway shortcut to Milford. It is really scenic this time of year.

I cannot wait for the downtown bike trail connection to the Little Miami Trail. I will be on it often.

Bike racks for downtown are sorely lacking. I choose my lunch destinations based on bike security. Really limits the choices.

Wish I could make the Council meeting Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

I would like to ride to a practical destination, such as Kroger stores. Or send my kid to Kroger for a gallon of milk. You should partner with the Kroger Co for placement of bike racks, and designate paths that assist the biker through the busy store intersections, into less congested residential areas.

Randy Simes said...

^That's a great idea. In some communities there are planning regulations that require bicycle racks to be located on the properties according to their square footage. In the case of Kroger, they should definitely be providing at least one measly bike rack, but probably more.

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