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Cincinnati: Bicycling Developments and News

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^^ The really ingenious thing about Dutch streets, at least in city centers, is that fietspaden have an absurd amount of capacity for how little space they take up. Parking becomes an issue, which you don't get with transit, but supplying bike parking is a lot cheaper than greatly increasing transit service.

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With ODOT, DOTE, and Cranley opposed to expanding bike infrastructure, I wonder if there anything we/citizens can do to improve bike infrastructure without government  support? I don't know what this would look like.

 

But I guess I'm thinking of low-cost, grassroots, slightly subversive acts that would get media attention and grow political support. For example the BBC credits the start of Dutch bike culture to Stop de Kindermoord (“stop the child murder”) https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/may/05/amsterdam-bicycle-capital-world-transport-cycling-kindermoord

The 1970s were a great time for being angry in Holland: activism and civil disobedience were rampant. Stop de Kindermoord grew rapidly and its members held bicycle demonstrations, occupied accident blackspots, and organised special days during which streets were closed to allow children to play safely: “We put tables outside and held a huge dinner party in our street. And the funny thing was, the police were very helpful.”

Another idea could be placing temporary parklets on street parking spots (while paying the parking meters) to create a protected lane?

 

What can we do while we wait for the next mayoral election?

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While it’s not perfect, I think the Watson Way bike trail is a pretty exciting citizen led campaign to make biking in Cincinnati easier. If they can get it fully operational between Xavier and the Little Miami bike trail, that would be amazing. It would give a decent portion of the city easy access to the amazing trail, and would provide fully grade separated bike access to Hyde Park and Mariemont. I know some people here are concerned that the trail will make light rail in this corridor even less likely, but I think the chances of that ever coming to fruition were low, and this bike trail will prove hugely popular. It would be amazing to have a network of grade separated bike trails in the city/region to act like he highways of the bike network. Then the city could focus attention and divert resources to make the connections to and from the trails and points of interest more bike friendly.

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The child murder outrage came about in the 1920s in the US (called motor killings here), which is also when the automobile industry began its massive propaganda campaign to redefine streets as for cars, inventing the term jaywalking, and trying to push cars on city dwellers who weren't all that interested, since automobile sales had flattened.  They had some success, but most urban transit systems didn't end up collapsing until the 1950s when highways started being built with gusto.  In Europe however, there was very little automobile use or infrastructure before WWII, and many countries went all-in during rebuilding.  They tried to do in 20 years what had taken 50+ years in the US and noted the rapid destruction of their built environments, precipitous drop in cycling and transit use, and increase in fatalities.  We were the frog that was gradually boiled to death, while they jumped out because it was too much too fast. 

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I made a last-minute decision on July 4 to drive up to Xenia and ride the one branch of the region's paved trails that had yet to ride, the "Creekside Trail".  It's about 20~ miles from Xenia Station to Downtown Dayton, and then you can keep going along the Great Miami for another 10 miles if you wish.  I turned around near UD so it was about a 45~ mile round-trip. 

 

A thunderstorm hit early in the afternoon and littered the trail not only with about 10 trail blockages, but several miles of twigs:

IMG_0457_zpsdp4rmew3.jpg

 

I didn't take a photo of the unending twigs, but I was quite nervous about getting a flat.  A twig often has tiny branches on it that can kick around and cause a flat in the sidewall of racing road tires.  Luckily I switched to Continental 4-seasons two years ago and I rode over literally miles of twigs today without getting a flat.  Previously I had the Continental 4000s and kept getting flats. 

 

In my opinion the Creekside/Mad River trail is worth riding once but it isn't worth repeated special trips for anyone in Cincinnati.  The big plus is that it has several 1.5+ mile level straightaways where you can test your ability to maintain high speed for a few minutes, and very little traffic so you aren't stuck slowing down to avoid kids and moms and grandpas all the time like you have to between Newtown and Loveland.  There is a nice restroom facility with drinking fountains and a bike repair station at Beavercreek but I don't think there is another one in Downtown Dayton. 

 

The trail gets "disorganized" for 2-3 miles when it leaves the rail corridor and makes its way to the river bank.  The actual river section through Dayton is not very nice or interesting. 

 

I also rode the short "Iron Horse" trail, which branches south from the Creekside Trail, but it's not interesting and not worth riding more than once. 

 

Several years ago I contemplated doing an epic one-day 170+ mile ride from Cincinnati to Hamilton, then from Hamilton to Dayton via the Great Miami Trail, then across to Xenia, and then back down the Little Miami trail to Loveland, Lunken Airport, etc.  If I were to do it I think I'd drive to Dayton at 6am and start the ride from there so I could ride to my house in Cincinnati in the middle of the day for a decent meal, a shower, and a change of clothes.  The big challenge with big miles isn't the mileage so much as the peripheral issues like food.   

 

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^Just FYI, RiverScape Metropark in downtown Dayton does have a restroom/shower facility, bike lockers/rental facility and a repair center.

 

Where is it?  I didn't see any signage for such a thing.  Generally the signage tried to be good but it often gave you information you didn't need while skipping the information you wanted.  For example, I don't understand why they were giving mileage to the beginning of trail segments and not major landmarks like "Downtown Dayton" and "University of Dayton".  It might seem obvious in retrospect but I completely missed the Beavercreek restroom facility the first time I passed it.  Why don't these long-distance trails have signage at each major street crossing that lists this sort of thing? 

 

Even at the Xenia Station they don't have signage that simply says "To Dayton", "To Cincinnati", "To Columbus", "To Springfield".  Instead they give the trail name...which then requires knowing where that trail goes.  The "Creekside Trail", which leads to Dayton, has maybe 2 creek crossings in 10 miles.  The Little Miami trail actually parallels the Little Miami...the "Creekside" trail doesn't parallel a creek at any point. 

 

Closer to home, I usually ride my road bike in Kentucky on KY 8 (ether east or west) or south on Decoursey Pike to 536 or Butler or Falmouth (okay I admit I've only done the Falmouth ride once).  KY 8 would be absolutely perfect (you can ride it casually or ride it hard) except for the amount of traffic near the Anderson Ferry, which seems to be increasing.  Creating a 4-foot shoulder for bikes in the blind areas would reduce the amount of traffic that stacks behind bikers.  Coordinating to create a trail from DT Cincinnati to the Anderson Ferry and then back on the other side could be a really outstanding thing for casual riders, but I have no faith that our area's leadership could follow-through, let along entertain the idea.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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the "Creekside" trail doesn't parallel a creek at any point.

 

Come on Jake.  It's right next to Shawnee Creek going out of Xenia, then crosses the Little Miami River, then parallels the Creekside Reserve and Little Beaver Creek past Zimmerman.  That's like half the distance between Xenia and Dayton. 

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I looked at google earth and whatever this "Creekside Reserve" is (presumably the trail's namesake) is pretty unimpressive and I didn't notice it with the wash of US 35 traffic setting the mood:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Xenia,+OH+45385/@39.7194896,-84.0505411,2861m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x884092db14dd761d:0xdb2ade9ff7153095!8m2!3d39.6847822!4d-83.9296526

 

I was not aware that I crossed the mighty Little Miami, which at that point might be smaller than the Mill Creek behind Union Terminal. 

 

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I looked at google earth and whatever this "Creekside Reserve" is (presumably the trail's namesake) is pretty unimpressive and I didn't notice it with the wash of US 35 traffic setting the mood:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Xenia,+OH+45385/@39.7194896,-84.0505411,2861m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x884092db14dd761d:0xdb2ade9ff7153095!8m2!3d39.6847822!4d-83.9296526

 

I was not aware that I crossed the mighty Little Miami, which at that point might be smaller than the Mill Creek behind Union Terminal. 

 

You seem very worked up by the size of the nearby waterways.

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I was not aware that I crossed the mighty Little Miami, which at that point might be smaller than the Mill Creek behind Union Terminal.

Fake news, Jake. Google Streetview spotted you taking a break right at the river crossing.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.7069359,-83.9983598,2a,39.1y,294.03h,84.5t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPMdnTvSMVVKtQz_GEPwRXw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

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I was not aware that I crossed the mighty Little Miami, which at that point might be smaller than the Mill Creek behind Union Terminal.

Fake news, Jake. Google Streetview spotted you taking a break right at the river crossing.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.7069359,-83.9983598,2a,39.1y,294.03h,84.5t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPMdnTvSMVVKtQz_GEPwRXw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

 

 

That's me in about 15 years.  Thanks for the preview, google. 

 

 

Update: just realized I could have done a "troll" related comeback. 

 

 

 

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You seem very worked up by the size of the nearby waterways.

 

I thought that creek was a creek, not the Little Miami River.  Look at that streetview...there is no signage on either side letting you know you're going over something of more significance than a "creek".  No sign for the Beaver Creek, either. 

 

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The showers and everything are in the building I circled below. Interesting that not all the signs have landmarks on them... I know the one I ride past on the 25 when I ride to UD has the National Park and RiverScape called out on it with mile-markers.

bike.thumb.JPG.dc6c17a8c8710870fc32690730853103.JPG

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Well I biked within 30 feet of that thing and didn't notice it.  I was biking the wrong-way on a one-way so I was paying attention to cars, but remember noticing the row of bikeshare bikes.  So I was basically looking right at it, but had no idea it was there.   

 

You can see that it is hidden by trees and there is no signage:

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.7648582,-84.1878352,3a,75y,306.82h,82.6t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sjARn4e0iMPAvEWVR0-aV9A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

But nothing compares to the dead bike center at The Banks.  The place opened with great fanfare but nobody knew it was there because it was down in the parking garage.  It closed and nobody noticed. 

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.0960415,-84.509768,3a,75y,322.9h,80.61t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sMrOBbjuYiJvWhie3_FopEA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

 

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I attempted to ride the Tower Park trails in Ft. Thomas this weekend:

 

This place is totally insane.  Do you have a death wish?  Or do you merely want to waste a Saturday afternoon getting off your bike to turn it around since the trail you were riding just......stopped?

 

The low-key narration on that video belies the fact that this place is fundamentally unsafe, unmaintained, and simply not fun.  It makes no sense.  There is no organization.  There are no maps.  Am I on the trail?  Who knows.  These guys on the video act like it's so obvious where the trail is.  No dude, it isn't. 

 

Down toward KY 8 there is a drop-off that I'd compare to riding your bike down the ladder of a 10-foot diving board.  I tried to walk my bike down this cliff and could not do it.  Good place to spend the night with a broken neck before a homeless guy finds you in the morning. 

 

About a half mile south of that point, I wiped out in an overgrown meadow.  You see the faint trace of a trail in the waist-high grass...you follow it...and damn your front wheel gets caught in a divot you couldn't possibly hope to see and in a blink you're eating dirt. 

 

I don't understand why CORA is content to abandon various older mtb bike trails in the midst of campaigns to build in Mt. Airy and elsewhere.  Any of these older trails -- Harben, Ft. Thomas, Kheener, etc. -- could be remade into decent trails on par with Devou and Mitchell Memorial. 

 

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Wasson Way makes partial debut

 

wassonphase103*750xx1584-891-100-0.png

 

A portion of the long-awaited Wasson Way Trail is now open.

 

Local leaders gathered near Withrow High School on Saturday to celebrate the opening of the first phase of the mixed-use trail that runs past Withrow High School and Rookwood Commons.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/07/30/wasson-way-makes-partial-debut.html

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I have a hard time getting excited about 1/2 mile bike path. I would have tried to get at least 2-4 miles open first

 

Cranley threw Hyde Park a chew toy. 

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Bird was just the beginning; new dockless transportation coming to Cincinnati

 

The dockless, motorized Bird scooters took off both literally and figuratively when they were dropped off unannounced by the hundreds in downtown Cincinnati in July. They're poised to be joined by another dockless transit company in partnership with a local university.

 

Lime, a San Mateo, Calif.-based startup, is bringing its dockless bicycles to Xavier University. Xavier director of utilities and energy Mark Hanlon told me he hopes to bring the company's dockless electric scooters as well.

 

Hanlon said he's currently talking with Lime and doesn't have a set timeline for bringing the company's bikes and scooters to campus or plans for how many will arrive. There is currently one LimeBike at the Gallagher Student Center for students to test drive.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/08/20/bird-was-just-the-beginning-new-dockless.html

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Hoping RedBike and/or Lime decide to bring eBikes to the city soon. That could be a real game-changer.

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It's weird that Xavier and Lime are "partnering" on this, especially since Xavier wants to forbid students from charging the batteries (which will be annoying to enforce). So will Xavier's campus have a bunch of non-students collecting batteries?  Will Lime set the permitted area to only be right around Xavier?

 

I know Red Bike is exploring options for ebikes and hope to bring something "soon"... so I could imagine that they lobbied the City to prohibit any new dockless ebike programs until Red Bike has a chance to roll their program out. I'm a fan of Red Bike and want them to succeed. Generally, I like competition and so part of me is excited for newcomers like Lime ebikes, but I'm worried that the dockless ebikes will flood the market in a way that makes NONE of them profitable/sustainable long-term.

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It's weird that Xavier and Lime are "partnering" on this,

 

It's like the trapeze that was set up across from UC.  This is just something to dazzle high schoolers on campus visits that costs Xavier nothing. 

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Chris Wetterich is reporting that OKI has approved funding for an expansion of Red Bike that will include electric bikes: 

 

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On ‎9‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 10:51 PM, jmecklenborg said:

The lightly-used 3-mile Miami-Erie Canal bike path in Butler County was just repaved:

IMG_0600_zpsqvpg4nb4.jpg

 

 

^^^That award list includes a $1.3M~ award to extend this trail about a mile past the Rt. 4 bypass, pushing the total length of this trail to about 4 miles. 

Edited by jmecklenborg

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Red Bike renews key sponsorship amid expansion plan

 

uc-health-and-red-bike*750xx4013-2254-35

 

UC Health disclosed today that the hospital system has agreed to a five-year extension as the primary sponsor of Red Bike, which is raising funds to extend the number of neighborhoods served by the bicycle-sharing network.

 

The agreement with UC Health will help to ensure the continuation of Red Bike, whose more than 400 bikes will continue to feature the hospital system’s logo. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

 

“There would be no Red Bike without UC Health,” said Jason Barron, executive director of Red Bike. “As a nonprofit, Red Bike relies on partners like UC Health to continue to keep the bikes in tip-top condition so that people throughout the region can enjoy them. 

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/10/29/red-bike-renews-key-sponsorship-amid-expansion.html

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Just now, carnevalem said:

I didn't realize Red Bike was a nonprofit. Why is it structured that way?

I'm just guessing it would be so donations are tax deductible. 

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15 hours ago, carnevalem said:

I didn't realize Red Bike was a nonprofit. Why is it structured that way?

Transparency and accountability. Non-profits are required to disclose how they spend money in a way that for-profit companies aren't, so it helps potential donor/sponsor feel comfortable donating to Red Bike, knowing that the money will stay within Red Bike. Non-profits essentially have to re-invest (or hold on to) any surplus funds; they can't just issue dividends to owners/shareholders. Technically, non-profits can simply pay their CEO a bunch more in salary (many non-profits do this), but non-profits are required to disclose the salaries of their top employees.

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On 10/31/2018 at 9:53 AM, jwulsin said:

Transparency and accountability. Non-profits are required to disclose how they spend money in a way that for-profit companies aren't, so it helps potential donor/sponsor feel comfortable donating to Red Bike, knowing that the money will stay within Red Bike. Non-profits essentially have to re-invest (or hold on to) any surplus funds; they can't just issue dividends to owners/shareholders. Technically, non-profits can simply pay their CEO a bunch more in salary (many non-profits do this), but non-profits are required to disclose the salaries of their top employees.

 

Great answer, thank you. Perhaps you could also say that Red Bike's ambition is to serve its community, and not become the next billion dollar mobility startup like Uber or Lime. It's refreshing. 

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Bike share systems are structured quite differently from city to city. In some cities, they are owned and operated by the city's department of transportation. In others, the city owns the infrastructure (bikes and stations) but a non-profit organization actually operates it. In a few cases, the local transit agency operates it, which allows for a lot of interesting opportunities to integrate with bus and rail transit (i.e., selling a single one-day pass that works for transit and bikes). I believe RedBike owns the infrastructure in addition to operating the system.

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