City officials announced today that Cincinnati has been named a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. The award comes after two previous failed attempts, and makes Cincinnati one of three Ohio cities to receive the recognition.
Leaders say the award is as a result of the city’s ongoing efforts to add bike lanes, sharrows, dedicated bicycle parking to streets across the city, and frequently seek feedback from the bicycling community. The designation also illustrates a huge improvement since 2009, when the local community gave the city a “C” in its first bicycling report card.
Since that time, City Council has passed a new bicycle safety ordinance requiring vehicles to maintain a three-foot passing distance when passing bicyclists, and banning cars from driving or parking in bike lanes. Additionally, the city’s Department of Transportation & Engineering (DOTE) has been working to add bicycle parking at special events such as the Midpoint Music Festival and inside parking garages such as at Fountain Square.
Efforts by other organizations have also helped improve the city’s bike friendliness. Three local transit agencies teamed to offer free rides to bicycle commuters on Bike to Work Day in 2011, and non-profit Queen City Bike has offered a list of bicycle-friendly destinations across the region.
City officials and bicycling advocates also took the opportunity today to announce that Cincinnati will begin a bike share feasibility study for the region’s urban core. The process, officials say, will begin in June and be completed by August this year. The work will be done by Alta Planning+Design, which is the same firm that has developed and implemented bike share programs in Washington D.C., Boston and New York City.
“We’re honored to be included among America’s most bicycle-friendly communities,” said DOTE director Michael Moore. “The award, as well as the bike share study, shows the city’s continued commitment and investment to making bicycling a viable transportation option for our residents.”
Bike share programs utilize rental kiosks that typically host 10 to 12 bicycles available to anyone interested in using them. Bike share kiosks across the United States typically accept credit card payments, but best practices around the world allow users to utilize a payment card that is integrated with the region’s bus, rail, and taxicab networks.
Users are allowed to pick up and drop off bicycles at any kiosk location, unlike car share program which require drop-off at the same location as pick-up. Officials say that a website for the bike share program will soon be launched, and will offer those interested a place to learn more and provide their feedback on potential kiosk locations.
EDIT: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Cincinnati was the only city in Ohio to receive the Bicycle Friendly Communities designation, when in fact it is one of three (Dayton, Columbus).