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Promoting the bicycling lifestyle in The Buckeye State
Today I did a long ride up to Rocky River. I’ve done three or four long-ish rides this year where I started out thinking that I might get my first century in for the year, but the failure to set a specific destination always left me with too-easy bailout options. Plus, my lackluster amount of commuting and riding in general this year left me feeling wiped out at around 60-something miles, and I end up limping the last 20-something miles to get home.
So today, by setting a goal of getting to Rocky River, even though it’s still not a century, I committed myself to a specific destination and distance.
I made my way from home over to the Brecksville Reservation, and hopped on the Valley Parkway. The Valley Parkway is traditionally “ground zero” for cyclist vs. motorist conflicts in this area. It makes of the western half of what is know as the “Emerald Necklace,” the chain of parks in the Cleveland Metroparks system. It provides a good mix of flat and rolling terrain, but since it also connects some of the major outer-ring suburbs of Cleveland, it’s also a popular car commuter route.
It had been a couple of years since I rode the Valley Parkway, so on the outbound leg of the trip, I was enjoy the once-again-fresh scenery, despite the long and sometimes steep climb from Brecksville to Ridge Road. Near the Big Met golf course, I took the detour to the left off of the Valley Parkway, up the steep climb to Wooster Road, through Fairview Park, and finally to Rocky River. All the while, I had not one close brush by a passing car, nor any honks, gestures, or yells out of open windows.
After hanging around a while to have a snack, I ended up getting started again later than I had anticipated, and found myself on the Valley Parkway during rush hour. Surely, I thought, this would increase the frustration level for everyone around me, but I made the return trip without incident. Maybe the local drivers have finally come to accept that they are going to encounter recreational users in a recreational area. Or, maybe I was just lucky to catch everyone in a good mood that day.
The best thing, though, was that I felt like I was riding good and strong the whole time, and never really ran out of gas until the last few miles out of the total 82. It was one of those rides that makes me re-discover why I enjoy cycling.
Despite previous news of the economic downturn slowing progress on bike infrastructure, this article from the Columbus Dispatch highlights work being done on trail links in the Central Ohio region. Similarly, in Northeast Ohio, plans are in place to connect the Western Reserve Greenway and other trails near Ashtabula, Warren, and Youngstown to eventually complete the Great Ohio Lake To River Trail (see this article from the Vindicator for details).
There’s been an ongoing debate in Northeast Ohio about the reconstruction of the Interstate 90 bridge in Cleveland, and whether or not a bicycle/pedestrian lane will be added. There have been letters in support of bike/ped access sent by US Representative Dennis Kucinich and US Senator Sherrod Brown. Most recently, Governor Ted Strickland requested that the Ohio Department of Transportation review the issue, according to reports in The Cleveland Plain Dealer and The Akron Beacon-Journal.
You can find full coverage of the Innerbelt Bridge issue on the Green City Blue Lake web site.
According to this article from the Stow Sentry, the city of Stow, Ohio has applied for a $41,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for a new bike trail to connect the area near the Staybridge Hotel property, and the Bike and Hike Trail of the Metroparks, Serving Summit County.
Although this is a pretty short route, it looks to me like it will be a useful connection between popular bike routes in the area, providing a bypass around the busy Route 8/Steels Corners Road interchange.
The downtown area of Kent, Ohio will get getting a new transportation center with the help of a $20 million grant from the federal government. The multimodal facility will include a bicycle storage area and 350 auto parking spaces, and with 10 bus bays, will also service as a regional transit hub.
Read more details in this article from the Plain Dealer.
Dorothy Markulis of the Hudson Hub-Times reports that the local planning commission has approved the design of a new half-mile bike and hike trail in Hudson, near the Ohio Turnpike. The article, titled Trail near Turnpike approved…again, details problems with the trail since its first approval in 2006, and the difficulties in planning the layout to address concerns of nearby wetlands, as well as adjacent residential property.
Carl Feather of the Star Beacon reports that Ashtabula County Commissioners approved a bid for a new paved bike trail in Geneva State Park. The project is being funded by a Clean Ohio Trail Grant, a community development block grant, and a grant from the Ashtabula County Convention Facilities Authority. An early summer completion date is targeted.
Read the full story here.
According to a recent article by Michael Gill in the Cleveland Free Times, the Cleveland City Planning Commission has given approval for funding to be sought for the development of a new 2.5-mile bike trail. The trail will link the city’s Detroit Shoreway neighborhood to the west with the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. The project is expected to be completed in three to five years.
The city of Cleveland is planning to build a Bikestation, which would include bike storage, lockers, changing rooms, showers, and bicycle repair facilities. The Bikestation will be located at in currently unused space in a parking garage on East 4th Street, near the Quicken Loans Arena. No timetable for the opening of the facility is available yet, as the project is in the stages of gathering information, cost estimates, and potential funding. More information can be found on the Cleveland City Planning Commission web site.
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.