Cincinnati's first protected bike lanes on Central Parkway were
controversial when first proposed. Now, after 18 months, the city is
being lobbied to both kill them and expand them.
Neighborhood councils are chiming in, in various levels of support,
after a citizen suggested doing away with the halfway completed
project. The city's Transportation and Engineering department is
working to complete a report related to the concerns about the
configuration being confusing and dangerous.
"Let's face it," Robert Schwartz wrote to members of Council in late
December, "that project just turned out to be embarrassingly awful."
"Yet another attack" on the bikeway, Vice Mayor David Mann, chair of
Council's Neighborhoods Committee, said during the committee's Monday
meeting when he introduced letters from the neighborhoods of
Over-the-Rhine and Clifton.
Central Parkway bike path passes. This time it is real
"Central Parkway is a perfect street for a protected bike lane because
it links so many neighborhoods with a high percentage of people who
ride bikes," a letter from Over-the-Rhine Community Council President
Ryan Messer reads.
The city should finish the project, which entails extending the path
to Ludlow Avenue, a gateway to the neighborhoods of Clifton and
Northside, Messer wrote.
The bikeway plan – estimated to cost around $500,000 – was approved by
five of the nine members of Council in April 2014. The first section
was completed in July 2014. There is currently no funding for the
second phase to Ludlow.
The section completed on Central Parkway works like this: there is a
bike lane on the outside lane, separated from automobile traffic by
white poles. The middle lane acts as a parking lane and there is a
continuous lane of traffic on the inside lane.
The completed section runs from the northern edge of Downtown to
Marshall Avenue in University Heights, down the hill from the
University of Cincinnati.
Clifton is being more tepid about the requested changes, saying it
"does not necessary connote acceptance of the current traffic issues
raised," according to a letter from Clifton Town Meeting President
Urbas urged the city to address and resolve the problems, asking that
any changes maintain "a safe, protective bicycling infrastructure
route on Central Parkway and not negatively impact the efficient
travel of cyclists."
Schwartz's letter was submitted by Councilman Christopher Smitherman,
who requested a report addressing the letter's laundry list of
concerns. The report is due Feb. 16 from the city's Transporation and
In his letter, Schwartz noted numerous ways in which the configuration
is confusing and more dangerous than the road without the protected
"None of this really protects any biker and is an ordeal to a
motorist," wrote Schwartz, who said no one seems to use the bike lanes
A view of the Central Parkway bike lane near FindlayBuy Photo
A view of the Central Parkway bike lane near Findlay Market Monday
February 8, 2016. Bike lanes that extend along Central Parkway may be
extended through Clifton into Northside. (Photo: The Enquirer/Madison
On the contrary, Vice Mayor Mann said he commutes every day on Central
Parkway and often sees cyclists using the bike lanes.
"I've used it, too," Mann said of the bike lanes.
Given the death last week of Michael Prater, Mann said removal of the
only protected lanes in the city "seems weird to me."
His committee held the letters for later discussion.
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