Promoting the bicycling lifestyle in The Buckeye State
Monthly Archives: January 2009
According to a recent article in The Vindicator newspaper of Youngstown, a public meeting was held recently where residents provided feedback local officials about current and proposed bike trails. In attendance were members of one of the local cycling clubs. The date and location of the meeting were not specified. Read the full article here.
Two articles of note in today’s Columbus Dispatch; the first is a brief note by reporter Spencer Hunt explaining a temporary sewer pipe running along the Olentangy Bike Trail. The second is from reporter Kathy Lynn Gray, who talks to a few area cyclists to find out how they deal with the cold weather.
I attended the public meeting last night in Tallmadge, Ohio for the proposed Freedom Secondary Trail. Representatives for MetroParks Serving Summit County were there to answer questions, along with DLZ, the engineering and design firm working with the parks on the project.
I was told that they would consider the meeting a success if they had at least 50 people attending, but by the time I arrived at 5:50pm, they estimated that they already had over 60! There were detailed engineering drawings of the entire new trail, which showed a few different options where the final trail routing has not been determined. A running slide show illustrated the current location and conditions along the proposed trail corridor. The representatives were eager to hear feedback from attendees.
A decision on the final trail routing is expected some time this summer. With design and engineering work beginning immediately after that, actual construction will probably begin some time in 2010. The project will include rehabilitation work on the currently existing Tallmadge Rail Trail.
This article appears in today’s Chillicothe Gazette, by long-time cyclist David May of the Gazette’s Board of Contributors. He offers many points and tips, most of which are probably familiar to regular readers of this blog. But, it is good to see something like this appearing in a mainstream publication for the benefit of non-cyclists. Thanks, David, for representing us well!
From Columbus Business First:
Ohio Department of Transportation Director James Beasley on Thursday announced plans to retire next week.
Beasley, who served as Brown County engineer for 27 years before joining Gov. Ted Strickland’s cabinet in 2007, will serve his last day at ODOT Jan. 30. His replacement will be Jolene Molitoris, the department’s assistant director and chairwoman of the Ohio Rail Development Commission.
Strickland in a statement Thursday said Beasley made “lasting impacts” in his short time in office.
“He has led ODOT in a way that ensured integrity and ethics in the agency, instilled fiscal accountability and restraint, and modernized ODOT to think beyond just the highway system,” Strickland said.
During Beasley’s tenure, he broadened the focus of the department to include several modes of transportation, including bicycle and pedestrian. Molitoris said in a statement that she plans to further that work.
“As director, I look forward to working closely with our public and private partners to truly transform transportation and move Ohio into a prosperous new world,” she said.
From the Newark Advocate:
The Bryn Du Mansion of Granville is holding the second of three in its series of “Simply Living” lectures on Tuesday, January, 27, 2009 at 7:30pm. The lecture is titled “Walk, Bike!” and will demonstrate the ability to reduce reliance on the automobile in Central Ohio.
The Bryn Du Mansion is located at 537 Jones Rd, Granville, OH 43023.
The Stark County Park District is seeking volunteers to join its Trailblazers group. The volunteers cover 60 miles of park trail, including 25 miles of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.
To get an application and arrange an interview, contact volunteer coordinator Jennifer Martin at 330-477-3552 or go to http://www.starkparks.com/volunteer_program.asp. Interviews will be conducted through Jan. 30.
Five training classes covering first aid, bicycle repair, park history and regulations, and communication skills will be offered on five dates in February and again in April. Volunteers are asked to work at least 32 hours a year.
Metroparks Serving Summit County is holding a public meeting on Thursday, January 22 from 5:00 to 7:00pm at the Tallmadge Community Center, 80 Community Drive, Tallmadge, Ohio 44278. The meeting will be in an open house format, where visitors can see graphic displays, talk to park staff and consultants, and make comments.
The proposed new trail, dubbed the Freedom Secondary Trail, will start at the Portage Hike and Bike Trail in Kent, connect to the Tallmadge Trail, and continue west to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. A possible spur will connect to the Metroparks Bike & Hike Trail in Munroe Falls.
This post is a summary of information from an article by Stephanie Kist in the West Side Leader.
Phil Trexler of the Beacon-Journal reports that the city of Akron will be expanding its downtown safety ambassadors program. The program has been active with three staff members since its inception in 2000, but will be expanded to nine, with funding for the program being provided by the Downton Akron Partnership and the Metro Regional Transit Authority. The ambassadors wear bright lime-colored shirts for easy identification, and are charged with offering to help visitors and workers with directions or other assistance, and also pick up trash and weeds. They are provided with cell phones to alert city police of any potentially dangerous situations.
Note: The following message was e-mailed to many people by a group called Healthy Transportation OH. We don’t know who this group is, but we support their message, and so are passing it on.
Each year, the bicycle/pedestrian community gathers in Washington, DC to share ideas and to speak with our Federal elected officials. A number of citizens from Ohio have made this trek and have tried for years to get an appointment with someone from Congressman John Boehner’s office. Neither the Congressman nor his staff has agreed to meet with their fellow Ohioans and constituents. Because he is the House Minority Leader, Representative Boehner is the second highest-ranking member of the U.S. Congress, and every American who walks or rides a bicycle is affected by his opinions.
On Sunday’s Meet the Press program, the Congressman’s anti-bicycle and anti-pedestrian stance became more public when he said “I think there’s a place for infrastructure. But what kind of infrastructure? Infrastructure to widen highways to ease congestion for American families? But if we’re talking about beautification projects or we’re talking about bike paths, Americans are not going to look very kindly on this.”
Apparently, the congressman believes urban sprawl is the answer. In his mind smog, pollution and asthma must be good things. In addition, he apparently:
- Ignores the numerous studies documenting that the overwhelming majority of Americans favor more bike paths
- Is ignorant of the obesity epidemic that causes diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and dozens of other chronic illnesses which are killing us and crippling our healthcare system
- Does not understand that bicycling, walking, and other non-automobile methods are valid transportation for people
- Cares nothing about the 33% of Americans who do not drive due to age, personal circumstances, physical impairment, or poverty
- Is not aware of the significant economic benefit that walkable / bikeable neighborhoods create or that more people walking and biking foster safer, more vibrant communities
- Fails to appreciate that the Cincinnati/Dayton area benefits from over 200 miles of multi-use paths that are shared by cyclists, walkers, joggers, families, seniors, and others
- Is unaware that two of the country’s Top 100 bicycle retailers are located in Cincinnati/Dayton
- Does not know that the Cincinnati/Dayton area is home of Ohio’s two largest bicycle clubs and numerous walking groups
- Does not care that the Ohio Bicycle Federation is headquartered in Dayton
Whether you are a seasoned bicycle commuter who doesn’t use bike paths, or an occasional rider who is intimidated by riding on streets, anyone who rides a bicycle or walks should take issue with his comments, the insulting tone in his voice, and his anti-bicycle / anti-pedestrian stance. His stance endangers not just bike paths, but also other projects, such as crosswalk improvements, better signage, new striping and sharrows, education programs, bicycle parking improvements, and multi-use paths.
With massive transportation and roadway projects expected soon, we need to remind our elected officials that streets, transportation systems, and infrastructure should include ALL users, not only cars and trucks.
The most effective communication tool in this case is the fax machine (they are inundated by e-mails and sending regular mail can take weeks to clear security). You can send a detailed letter, or you can send a simple handwritten note, such as “I Bike and I Vote!”
Here are the congressman’s fax numbers:
- 202-225-0704 (Washington, DC office)
- 513-779-5315 (local office #1)
- 937-339-1878 (local office #2)
To send a message to any other elected official, their contact info can be found on www.votesmart.org. Please also consider forwarding this e-mail to people you care about who ride a bicycle or walk.