It’s hard to believe so many bicycle and pedestrian facilities have been built in the last seven years until you read the list.
I covered the drafting and approval of the plan in 2007 and 2008, and the list of top priority projects seemed like a really good one, but it was hard to believe they were going to be built.
Several county engineers at the time kicked up a fuss about not having enough money to maintain the roads and bridges we already had, much less build new stuff for people on bikes or on foot.
One mile of street widening costs $30 million. That equals 600 miles of bike lanes or 300 miles of buffered sidewalk or 30 miles of bike trails or 20 miles of physically separate cycle tracks.
The entire bicycling network for the city of Portland – now one of only four platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Communities in the country – cost about the same as building one mile of urban freeway.
So please, don’t tell me we don’t have the money. Bicycling infrastructure is actually the best buy out there.
And, in fact, assisted by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Agency’s bike plan, an amazing amount has been built since 2008.
Here, according to the update, is what has been built:
- Great Miami River Trail in Montgomery County — Triangle Park to Taylorsville opened in 2009, an extension on the west/north bank from Stewart to the University of Dayton/Courtyard Marriot complex was built in 2013.
- Iron Horse Trail — Centerville extended the trail toward I-675 and Kettering built sections up to Stroop and Wilmington roads and at State Farm Park in 2009.
- Piqua to Urbana and Piqua-Covington & Bradford-Greenville Connectors — Part of the Ohio to Indiana route, with temporary on-street markings applied in 2010 and 2011. Darke County built major trail and road sections in 2013.
- Downtown Bike Lanes and Sharrows — Created in 2010 by City of Dayton.
- Bikeway wayfinding signage was created and installed across the regional trails in 2010, and has been adopted by other trails groups within the state as the standard for signage.
- Great Miami River Trail in Miami County — Tipp to Troy section opened in 2010, Tipp to Taylorsville and Troy to Piqua sections opened in 2012, and the Shook Bridge at Farrington opened in 2014.
- Riverscape Bike Hub built in 2010.
- Beavercreek Bike Station built in 2011.
- SR 741/Austin Rd Corridors — Sidepath constructed as part of Austin Road Interchange in 2011.
- Great Miami River Trail, Franklin to Middletown Connector — Middletown built to Butler County line in 2011, Franklin applied to fund a missing section within the City in 2014.
- Hamilton, OH connected 3.3 miles to their Rentschler Forrest segment of the Great Miami River Trail between 2012-15
- Dayton Kettering Connector (SE Corridor Trail) — A collaboration between University of Dayton, and the cities of Dayton, Oakwood and Kettering. Dayton completed lanes and trails on Brown Street, Irving Avenue, a sewer access road, and Shroyer Road crossing improvements in 2012. Kettering created on-street signed routes and modified intersections in 2012.
- Mad River Trail was extended through Eastwood Metropark and along Springfield Street to Huffman Dam in 2013.
- Jamestown Connector was extended east to the Greene County line and a tunnel was built under SR-35 near Xenia in 2013.
- Medlar Trail was constructed by Five Rivers MetroParks in 2014.
- Access to the Wolf Creek Trail was improved with bridge reconstruction at the Edwin C. Moses, Salem and Monument bridges. A ramp to the Broadway bridge will be installed in 2015.
- Springboro Spark’n’Go station built in 2013 and second is under contruction for 2015.
- I-675 pedestrian/bike bridge at N. Fairfield Road — Construction starting in 2014 and will be complete in 2015.
- Construction of Kroc Center area improvements addressed an identified high crash location.
It’s an amazing list, and new projects are being constructed this year, too.
Kirsten Frank Hoppe, the regional planner from MVRPC who has been most involved in writing the draft update, said a lot has changed in the region during the last seven years.
What were the biggest accomplishments in the last seven years?
“I would say a few things, mainly on our trails network,” Frank Hoppe said. “When the plan was written, Dayton didn’t connect as far north as Tipp City, let alone Piqua.
“The Dayton-Kettering Connector was just a vision in the original plan in 2008, and the communities have made that happen.”
As a result, we now have the nation’s largest paved trail network.
But some of the biggest, more important changes aren’t on the ground, Frank Hoppe said.
“There’s been a change in thinking and operating on the part of a lot of communities, where they were either trying to build trails or saying we don’t have room for a trail. And now they really are doing a lot more on-street infrastructure.
“That has become thing that cities are getting behind more and more — and even incorporating in their thoroughfare plans, making it a routine thing for the engineering folks.
“So those kind of projects have really stood out just to show what a great amenity and how valuable they are.”
If you want to make your voice heard, it’s not too late to make comments on the plan. You can still make comments through Friday, June 12 at the Miami Valley Bike Plan Updates page.
The final draft document will be finished in mid-July and there will be another comment period, including public meetings in August.
So if there’s something you want to see in your community, check out the plan and make some comments.
Ken McCall is the database reporter for the Dayton Daily News and an avid cyclist. He is a member of Bike Miami Valley, where he serves as co-chairman of the Regional Advocacy Committee; the Dayton Cycling Club; the Ohio Bike Federation; and the League of American Bicyclists. If you have any story ideas or bike news, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (937) 225-2393.