City officials working to get Central Parkway back on [cycle] track

There had been hopes to build the region’s first cycle track, a fully separated bicycle facility, on Central Parkway in 2012. Internal disputes and the lack of funding, however, have delayed the project’s implementation.

The Department of Transportation & Engineering (DOTE) gave City Council’s Major Transportation and Infrastructure Projects Subcommittee an update on the project, in addition to the other bicycle investments being advanced, last week.

At that meeting, Mel McVay, Senior City Planner with the DOTE, stated that the Central Parkway cycle track efforts were in the preliminary investigation stage, but that there could be some challenges regarding the facility’s relationship to vehicular capacity and on-street parking along the 3.4-mile stretch of roadway.

The full length of the cycle track would extend from Ludlow Avenue, where the City installed the region’s first green bike lanes in November 2012, to Liberty Street in Over-the-Rhine, and would cost approximately $750,000.

Plans for the Central Parkway cycle track first came to light during episode eight of The UrbanCincy Podcast.

The hope now, McVay says, is to finish the preliminary analysis within the next month. Should that analysis show it feasible to finance and construct the Central Parkway cycle track, then design work would begin immediately.

The City’s Bicycle Transportation Program has installed nearly 40 miles of bicycle facilities to-date, with an additional 289.9 miles planned in a citywide bicycle network.

  • Mark Christol

    It’s a bad idea – hopefully stillborn. There’s plenty of room there to share the road. The only problem on that stretch is motorists at intersections. They don’t understand the lines, signs & lights that have been around for years – the green paint is just going to confuse them.

    • Wouldn’t that be an argument for a Central Parkway cycle track?

    • Mark Christol

      You would still need to open it up at intersections and that’s where the problems are.

  • anything to get bikes off the SideWALKS…

  • I won’t complain about bike facilities going just about anywhere, but it does seem like they’re going in places that are already pretty OK for riding. I want cycletracks on Reading Road or Glenway or something like that. We need them were they’ll actually protect cyclists from dangerous, high speed traffic.

    • So true, but I think it’s important to mark easy existing areas to build awareness for motorists and bicyclists to acclimate the public before undertaking more extensive and complex routes. It’ll be good to build off of in order to gain support for the places you are talking about where it might be more difficult to implement.

      I’m a little surprised it takes $750k to get this done. Seems a little steep for green paint at intersections.

    • Green bike lanes and cycle tracks are not the same thing; although, cycle tracks sometimes use green-colored lanes for extra identification.

      The reason cycle tracks cost more is because they offer some sort of physical separation from moving traffic. This could come in the form of bollards, reflective posts, on-street parking moved away from the curb, planters, or some other type of barrier.

    • Glenway would be difficult to pull off because it would mean you would have to remove an entire moving lane of traffic from one side of the street. It would also require an almost complete transformation of that street from entirely automobile orientation to something more multi-modal. I don’t disagree with you about the benefits of a cycle track facility on Glenway Avenue, but I don’t see it being all that feasible.

      Reading Road, on the other hand, seems like a much better candidate…especially since it could be done in conjunction with any BRT implementation along that corridor.

    • I would not complain about removing a lane of car traffic from Glenway 😉

      The point is though that I think they (the DOTE generally, I guess…)should do some thinking about what the major traffic chokepoints for all modes are and make sure that the critical areas are secured first. IMO, the hills make this an easy decision while making it clear by limiting the potentially useable space what the tradeoffs are: cars or bikes? Admittedly, I think that strategy reveals my bias as an experienced utilitarian cyclist. A less comfortable or recreational rider would probably prefer an emphasis on quieter streets while I just want to get places quickly.

      Damn it. We need more than two people focused on bikes in a department that big. Rock on, Mel! We support you from the outside!

    • Eric Fazzini

      If you think Central Parkway, especially in OTR, could handle a road diet, then why not do that with a cycle track?

  • patrickjnewton

    It’s a great step – permanent bicycle infrastructure that will be maintained as part of an overall transportation network. It’s really these types of transformative projects that change people’s perception and understanding of “sharing the road”. Sharrows, while visually useful do not convey the message to all (pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists alike) that bikes are here to stay and are part of a comprehensive plan for roadways with all uses being taken into consideration by transportation officials.

    • Mark Christol

      But, it’s not “sharing the road”. It’s dividing it up into “separate but equal” sections.

    • Which is sharing the road…

      The roads’ lanes, no, but the road itself, yes.

  • As a Northside resident and amateur cyclist who is too scared to ride Spring Grove into work downtown, this would be a godsend. I would definitely use this.

    • Mark Christol

      I used to commute on this route from Northside to OTR. Frequently in the dark. The only places I ever had a problem were at the highway access points & intersections. I don’t see how this plan would help.
      And, yes, I know they are planning to move the highway access points.

    • Would you prefer to see a cycle track installed somewhere else? If so, where? If not, are you just opposed to the whole idea of physically separated bicycle facilities?

    • Mark Christol

      Basically I am opposed to the special stuff for bikes. There is one non-intersection stretch on Central Parkway where a cyclist could use some help, tho – on the northbound curve around Cincinnati State. Motorists routinely go over the existing curb there now so you’d need a daggone wall or something.

  • I consider myself a some what fearless bike commuter, but riding the Central Parkway Grand Prix on a bike seems sketchy to me, all those curves people are flying around going wide. I would ride Central all the time with a separate lane.

  • Eric Fazzini

    Is there really a concern about “relationship to vehicular capacity” on underutilized roads?

  • This is precisely the type of bicycle infrastructure that Cincinnati needs: safe, clearly intentioned bike paths connecting the city’s bikeable neighborhoods to each other and avoiding hills as much as possible. Investing in well-planned bike infrastructure always pays off by benefiting a region’s health, economy and happiness, while reducing fossil fuel dependance. The human on a bicycle is one of the most efficient machines ever designed, and the most energy efficient form of transportation, even when you consider the extra calories you will need to eat because of your vigorous exercise. And this kind of exercise not only builds heart health while shrinking bellies and butts, but it also promotes all kinds of happiness-promoting and work-motivating neuroendocrine effects in the CNS. So, less fuel dependance and pollution, better health and longevity for the people, bigger appetites at local restaurants, and happy, industrious spirits working to benefit the region.