Arts & Entertainment News

A busy weekend for Cincinnati

Despite the rainy weather, Cincinnati will be more alive than ever with an abundance of events that should appeal to most everyone.

The Krohn Conservatory will be continuing its Butterflies of India Show until June 31, and is open to the public from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. On Friday, the Conservatory will host Wine Tasting with Amy Tobin from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M., exploring the wine artisans of the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow morning for Breakfast on the Bridge, a free breakfast held for bicycle commuters that is being hosted by Bike Newport. The event will be held on the Newport side of the Purple People Bridge, and will include Taste of Belgium waffles, fresh fruit, pastries, coffee, milk, and orange juice.

Come celebrate with the MoBo Bicycle Coop as they observe their third annual fundraiser on Saturday, from 7 P.M. to 1 A.M. at Off the Avenue Studios (1546 Knowlton in Northside) The event features a raffle, silent auction, a great music lineup and lots of food and drinks. Tickets are for sale at the door, or at Park+Vine and Shake It Records.

For the weekend, Maifest at MainStrasse in Covington, Kentucky features authentic German and international foods, amusements and arts and crafts booths. On Saturday, from 4:40 to 7:30 P.M., the alternative, country and blues band Kelly Thomas & the Fabulous Pick Ups will perform.

Finally, don’t miss out on the Cincinnati Zoo’s newest addition. Zoo Babies at the Cincinnati Zoo features an adorable lineup of lovable infants, along with children-friendly concerts by Thaddeus Rex and Miss Lori.

Image from Fox19

News Politics Transportation

Bike lanes coming to Spring Grove Avenue

In a press conference yesterday at Cincinnati City Hall, Council Member Greg Harris announced that Spring Grove Avenue would receive two miles of dedicated bike lanes as part of a planned roadway repaving effort set for the spring. The bike lane would connect downtown and the western fringe of the core to Clifton and Northside.

Those who spoke at the press conference included Kathy Holwadel, Chair of Cincinnati’s Bike/PAC, who voiced strong support for the measure. As a regular commuter that takes her along Spring Grove Avenue, she noted that while the road is relatively safe, a dedicated lane would let drivers know that cyclists are part of the road much like an automobile.

Gary Wright, a spokesman for Queen City Bike, stated that the inclusion of the bike lane would be a step in the right direction in making Cincinnati’s neighborhoods and streets livable and green, environmentally friendly and safe. He continued by stating that the bike lanes is a direction that the city and neighborhoods must exploit for the future as a healthy, environmentally friendly transportation alternative to the automobile, confirmed in countless surveys that clearly show that citizens desire methods of transport that do not include a car.

Reactions, to the announcement, have been generally positive. Local transit enthusiast and avid bicyclist Jake Mecklenborg is pleased with the announcement but says the best solution would ultimately be a completely separate bike path divided by a barrier for safety purposes.

Lauren Sullivan, who has spearheaded the nationally acclaimed New Orleans cycling map project (NolaCycle), told UrbanCincy that she supports the lanes because they add visibility to the cyclist, although she noted that dedicated bike lanes were not entirely necessary due to the excessive width and lack of traffic of Spring Grove Avenue. Lauren went on to say that bike lanes should be appropriated on hills where bike and automobile conflicts are more likely, following with cross-town routes. In addition, she voiced comment for the installation of “Share the Road” and other associated bike signage and shared lane striping along Central Parkway, a popular cycling route.

Finally, John Hoebbel, an architecture student at DAAP, said that the inclusion of the bike lane would “enhance the natural connection between downtown and Northside,” adding that the lane is ideal due to Spring Grove Avenue’s relative flatness.

Personally, I am in full support of the bike lane measure, and of similar attempts elsewhere. After having biked Spring Grove Avenue yesterday as part my usual training route, I find that the route is underutilized for both automobiles and cyclists, passing only a handful of trucks and cars and four cyclists. It is also overly wide, and I had no trouble staying within my lane as there is a wide shoulder and parking lane for most of the route. That said, the benefit of physical striping to denote a bike lane and the inclusion of additional lanes in the future, will only benefit cyclists while encouraging more to get out on the bike and enjoy the inherent benefits of cycling.

See below for the press conference:


Cincinnati’s Cycling Scene

It’s no secret. Cincinnati’s cycling scene is a little lacking, and the effort put forth by the city to cater to this mode of transport is paltry at best. The City of Cincinnati states that there are 55 miles of bike routes, although 24 miles are signed. A bike route does not necessarily mean that it features a dedicated lane for cyclists or improved bicycle storage facilities, just that it is a city-preferred route. There are also only 200 bicycle racks in the city that boasts a population of over 300,000.

The city boasts that it has added six sets of bicycle lanes over the “past few years,” although if it is anything like what was added to Victory Parkway, in which the lanes only extend for 1/2 mile and connect to no other facilities or bike lanes and are entirely isolated, then this boasting may be a bit premature.

The city, though, is looking to create designated two-wheeled, motorized vehicle parking areas, and it would be nice if the city could extend that to implenting more bicycle racks throughout the study area.

For the month of September, UrbanCincy asked its readers what the city should do to cater to cyclists, and the response was pretty overwhelming:

  • 38% would like to see additional bike lanes and trails;
  • 16% wanted more bicycle facilities that include dedicated parking areas, lockers and showers;
  • 1% requested additional bike signage and striping on roadways;
  • 1% would like to see more bicycle co-ops;
  • and less than 1% wanted more driver and cyclist education programs.

Interesting enough, 50% wanted to see all five options implemented.

The demand is there for these facilities, and every day that I am out on the bike or walking the streets, I spot countless cyclists interacting in various ways with traffic. Some are commuters, others are racers, but many just don’t fall under any identifiable category. And the number of cyclists continue to increase, especially with weekly rides such as Cincinnati Mayhem and various rides from the local bicycle shops, and with the ever-popular end-of-the-month Critical Mass.

Finding information about these, though, is a bit cumbersome. Queen City Bike is a great resource and blog, where you can find up-to-date information. Although it is a new forum, CincyRides attempts to combine many of the divergent resources together into one convenient and accessible web-site.

Even though winter is fast approaching, it is still a great time to get out on the bike and become one of the many commuters who take to the streets every morning, or one of the many who bike for pleasure and health. An ever-greater bike presence will only result in ever-greater attention by the city, after all.