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Promoting the bicycling lifestyle in The Buckeye State
On July 16, 2010, the Ohio Department of Transportation, along with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the cities of Hilliard and Pickerington, are holding a Safe Bike Education Training Tour. The first event of its kind, the objective of the ride is to educate and train public officials, engineers and planners on the proper design of different bicycle facilities.
More information can be found here on the ODOT web site.
From a report in the Courthouse News Service, during a May 17 hearing in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Congressman Steven C. LaTourette (Republican, Ohio) poked fun at Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (also a Republican). The comments stemmed from the Secretary’s web site, where he urged states to “treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes” and promoted the “end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”
To let Mr. LaTourette know your opinion of what priorities should be placed on bicycling and other non-motorized transportation infrastructure, see his web site at http://latourette.house.gov for information on how to contact him by phone, e-mail, or postal mail.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati are together embarking on a new initiative to make their communities more bicycle friendly. To that end, they have made a survey available for concerned citizens to make their opinions heard. To take the survey, go here:
Please join the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the City of Cleveland Planning Commission and Ward 13 Councilman Joe Cimperman for a public meeting to review the proposed redesigned plan for the West Shoreway, also known as the Connecting Cleveland: The Waterfront District Plan. The proposal is working within a finite budget of $49.8 million that includes Route 2 improvements, entrance and exit ramps, and greater lake access via bike trails. The most important component for Ohio City are redesigned exit and off ramps for Route 2 from West 25th and West 28th Streets to enhance pedestrian and vehicular safety, aesthetics, and development opportunities.
Public Meeting # 1:
Columbus City Council has laid the foundation for the future of city sidewalks and bikeways.
Legislation passed last month resolves conflicts within the Columbus codes, brings the city into compliance with 2006 changes to Ohio law, and sets the legal framework for behavior by drivers and bicyclists, said Public Service Director Mark Kelsey.
Read the full story from the Columbus Local News web site.
Bloggers and bike news sites in Southwestern Ohio have been abuzz lately with the news that the city council of Cincinnati recently approved funds for the first Citywide Bicycle Plan in 32 years. Details on the city’s current bike program and facilities can be found here, including a downloadable map of bike rack locations in the city.
The Rails-To-Trail Conservancy has created an online petition to our president-elect and congressional leaders, encouraging them to provide explicit funding for biking and walking in the economic recovery package.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy will deliver the petition with your name and the many others who believe that balance is critical to our nation’s transportation system.
It’s easy to sign the petition. Just visit:
Forward this link to your like-minded friends!