Bicycle Boulevards Part Of Path Plan
Monday, May 12, 2008 – 01:32 PM Updated: 02:57 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Columbus’ Mayor Mike Coleman wants to make the city a much more bike-friendly place.
Bikes are becoming less of a recreational device and more of a necessity as gas prices skyrocket, NBC 4’s Mike Bowersock reported.
And if bikes are becoming more of a necessity, so goes the city’s bike paths.
With that in mind, city announced new transportation plans Monday, which marked the start of Ride Your Bike To Work Week.
Within the next 20 years, the number of bike paths and trails in Columbus and the surrounding suburbs will increase to more than 700 miles, Coleman announced Monday.
That’s 10 times the paths riders have now. Coleman planned for the number of paths and trails to double within the next few years.
“With gas prices being $4 a gallon and going up — and are going to continue to go up — we have to look at bikes and other forms of transportation,” Coleman said.
Many people have already looked into other ways of getting around, and increasing gas prices have motivated Ohioans to trade horsepower for pedal power.
“We’re seeing people either come in and buy new bikes to commute with or to go to the grocery store within two to three miles. Or they’ll bring in a bike from their basement or garage that’s just been sitting there and we’ll fix those up,” David Baer of Baer Wheels Bike Shop said.
The bicycle business is now a growth business, Bowersock reported.
“We have a lot of people that already commute, but on top of that, the gas prices are definitely bringing in more business,” John Markstein of BikeSource said.
Much of the plan for bike paths and trails was more of a wish list, Bowersock said.
It included “bicycle boulevards,” such as the one on Milton Avenue in Clintonville, which would include a bicycle lane on High Street from Downtown to Morse Road. There also was a plan for a Downtown “bike station” complete with bike parking and a changing area.
In the next four years, the city plans to spend approximately $20 million on bike paths and bike lanes.
I didn’t realize that the city already has a bike boulevard. Can anyone confirm that Milton Avenue is anything more than a signed route? Signed routes are nice, but they’re not bicycle boulevards, which I mentioned in a comment a long time ago.
A bike station would be a big improvement. I think it would convince a lot of people to bike to work who would otherwise worry about being sweaty.
I also didn’t know the city is looking at bike lanes on High Street from downtown to Morse Road. Unless they’re taking away car lanes, I’m not sure there’s really enough space for this in some places. I suspect that there might just be shared lane markings (sharrows) on some segments. Sharrows would be nice, but they’re not the same as bicycle lanes. Another issue is how bike lanes would interact with the proposed streetcar, but that’s a question for the engineering study to answer.