Sunday, July 27, 2008

Clintonville Neighborhood Plan Features Enhanced Bicycle-Friendliness

Part of the city's plans for enhancing and improving our fine city is the creation of various neighborhood plans, and as I live in Clintonville, I am most interested in the plan for our fine neighborhood.

I'd no idea that such a thing even existed till I happened to pick up the latest copy of This Week - Clintonville from my doorstep. It's sad... I rarely have had time to read this paper, but after seeing the insert in it this past week I'll certainly be making it a regular thing. The insert, entitled "The Best of Clintonville," was mostly a feature of a few of the local businesses that are making an impact in our area. But the center section was a description of the Clintonville Neighborhood Plan, and I was most interested to read the plans for bicycle infrastructure in our area.

The presentation in the insert had sections such as "Neighborhoods will have a vibrant mix of activities" and "Open space and critical environmental areas will be preserved." The one that interested me was "People will be able to get around by walking, car, transit, and bicycle." Here's the detail:
  • Parks, schools, and open space should be connected to neighborhoods with pedestrian and bicycle paths.
  • A Share the Road Campaign should be implemented on High St., Weber, North Broadway, and Lincoln.
  • Bike lanes should be included on Morse, Indianola, and North Broadway west of Milton.
  • A Bike Boulevard should be implemented on Milton and Tibet.
  • Bike lockers or bike racks should be considered at transit stops or park-n-rides.
  • Improve bike and pedestrian accessibility on North Broadway Bridge.
  • Investigate the possibility of developing a north-south bike route as an alternative to High Street and Indianola.
Other notes include:
From "Development and public improvements should be designed to be walkable and encourage personal interaction": Install bike racks as part of commercial, office, and multifamily developments.
All these things sound good to me! I'm a bit concerned at a couple of the ideas, though.

First, the concept of Share the Road on High Street seems a bit like not addressing the problem. My guess is that they don't want to put bike lanes on High Street because the business owners are afraid of losing street parking. I suppose that's understandable, despite the fact that many places nationwide that have removed street parking and added bike lanes (and bike parking, particularly) have shown MORE business coming to those areas as they become more inviting to people. Plus, cyclists (not being as able to do all their shopping at once due to the problem of transporting things home by bike) tend to shop MORE - thus opening them up to more impulse buys via more trips to businesses.

The reason this concerns me, though, is that I question our city police and their ability to truly understand a Share the Road concept (as I assume this means sharrows or something similar on High Street). Past performance has shown that most police in this city see Share the Road as favoring cars and fitting in bikes where they can, without slowing things down. That's the wrong attitude, naturally.

Second, there is no real bikeway (lane, path, etc.) going east-west, and particularly nothing going over the Olentangy River. Any real plan that includes improving bike access absolutely MUST include bike lanes at the least going east-west and especially on the bridges. That means bike lanes on all of North Broadway and Henderson Road (according to this map, Dodridge/Ackerman is out of the scope of the Clintonville plan, in case you were wondering).

Finally, if they plan on putting bike lanes on Indianola and sharrows (again, my assumption) on High Street, what's the need for another north-south bike thoroughfare? This sounds to me as if business owners on High and Indianola don't want the bike lanes... and that spells trouble for me.

Still, if all of these recommendations were put into place, Clintonville would be one of the most bike-friendly parts of the city. And I certainly support that.

This link will take you to the plan overview and comment forms. PLEASE fill them out and follow the instructions on the page to make your opinion known. We have till August 8th to make our case for better bike infrastructure, so get the word out!

People, not speed.

2 comments:

  1. My grandparents used to have a place on Walhala Road, with the back of the house over the big ravine. Killer and i miss visiting there since they died. That's in Clintonville, right?

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  2. That's one of the coolest parts of Clintonville, IMHO! Walhalla and that ravine are beautiful areas to live, I would love to get a place in there myself someday.

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