CINCINNATI — City council members are pressing pause on the Central Parkway bike lane extension effort that was waged during the Cranley administration. Options officials are now exploring are projected to be safer and save a substantial amount of money allocated for bike paths.
The design options are for the stretch of Central Parkway between Marshall Avenue and Ludlow Avenue. The area was originally slated to be a shared use path. One of the current options officials are considering is for the road to have a protected bike lane. They are also considering adding trees and a grass median to the entire lane or to only parts of it.
Council member Mark Jeffreys put forward the motion requesting the city halt the Central Parkway bike lane extension project to consider these options on Jan. 12. That motion was passed Wednesday.
“It’s an intersection of everything that we care about,” Jeffreys said. “It’s not just about cyclists. It is about better health, it’s about cleaner air. It’s also about equity. You don’t need to own a car in order to get around if we have the right infrastructure.”
“[T]he good thing is that because this money has already been allocated for bike infrastructure, if there’s any cost savings, we’ll make sure it goes right back into bike infrastructure,” said City Council Member Meeka D. Owens. “So there’s no competing priorities. Again, it’s just about the efficiency.”
Last year, the city allotted $2.8 million dollars for the shared use path concept. Jeffreys said he believes the other options now being explored could save at least $1 million. Those savings would go towards protective bike paths Downtown and in Over-the-Rhine.
“A bike lane to nowhere, which is essentially the parkway today doesn't do any good. So this will connect people from Northside, Clifton, the CUF area into Downtown, and vice versa. And then also potentially connect into the riverfront,” Jeffreys said.
The administration will come back in a month with a report outlining the cost, designs and viability of the three other options for the bike path.
Monique John covers gentrification for WCPO 9. She is part of our Report For America donor-supported journalism program. Read more about RFA here.
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