Thursday, May 3, 2007

Olentangy River Trail Construction Plan A True Foul-Up

If you commute from Worthington or Beechwold into downtown via the Olentangy Bike Path you've probably noticed the closure due to construction on the pedestrian bridge just south of Antrim Park. Using its usual bit of expertise, the city has routed all the traffic for the trail out onto Olentangy River Road between the park and Henderson Road.

If you've been on Olentangy River Road between Antrim Park and Henderson, you know what a rotten idea this is. There are people flying on and off 315, people who are trying to use ORR instead of getting on 315 at all, and of course no one is in a good mood because they're driving.

According to the city, they expect to fix the problem of cyclists being forced onto Olentangy by building a temporary trail around the construction.

My question: why wasn't this done before construction ever started? If there was work being done on High Street, or Morse Road, etc., there would have been proper detours set up before work ever started. But in this case, since it's just a bike trail and therefore just a recreational thing, it wasn't necessary.

This is why the city's so-called "Green Plan" as the mayor put it in his State of the City address is doomed to failure: they still consider bikes to be recreational instead of actual transportation.

Perhaps part of the problem is that the trail is managed by Parks and Recreation, when it should actually be part of the city's Transportation Department. Of course, that assumes that the Department knows how to handle bike traffic.

Yeah, we have a long way to go here in Cowtown...

2 comments:

  1. Part of the plans for the Big Dig in Boston was the items that were in the "Green Project". None of that was done, and there is not any mention of doing any of the "green" things promised.

    The point being, places like yours and mine can't even plant grass, never mind building bike lanes.

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  2. It's going to be an interesting time in Columbus - our mayor has just announced (in his last state of the City speech) the "Get Green Columbus" effort, which will supposedly improve the city's environmental signature by the year 2012.

    Columbus is actually a lot more spread out than Boston, and therefore it SHOULD be easier for us to add bike lanes and the like in places. The question is whether the mayor has the vision to see how bikes can make a difference in efforts to improve our city.

    The trail in question in this post is one that has existed for decades... they're just closing it temporarily while a pedestrian bridge is built to improve access to the city's parks. A noble effort indeed. My point is that if this was a ROAD (i.e. affecting cars) that was being inconvenienced, there would have been notices up for months in advance. But at least two weeks before the linked story came out in the Dispatch, I'd heard about this sudden and unannounced closure on various mailing lists and the like that I frequent.

    So that says two things: 1) the city still doesn't acknowledge bikes as transportation instead of recreation, and 2) the Dispatch waited until a slow news day to let this article go - showing that even the media is unconcerned about this issue.

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