The City of Cincinnati will be installing the region's first on-street bicycle parking this April in the bicycle heavy Northside neighborhood
. Once installed, the bike corral will remove one on-street automobile parking space and create 12 on-street bicycle parking spaces. The installation of the new bike corral at Lingo Street and Hamilton Avenue will cost around $1,000 according to the City's Department of Transportation & Engineering
(DOTE), and will require no disruption to surrounding properties. Additionally, the bike corral represents something more to local bicyclists.
"The bike corral means that the city is listening to bicyclists about infrastructure," said Katie Vogel, Chair of the Cincinnati Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee
"On-street parking is advantageous in that it doesn't take up much needed space on narrow sidewalks, and it's also a major opportunity for City officials to show that they are willing to innovate with our infrastructure."
According to Mel McVay, City Planner with the DOTE, the project is similar in scope to recent projects
in Seattle, Portland, and Columbia. This increased effort by the City to make Cincinnati more bicycle friendly has been noticed by the local bicycling community, and is something many are already taking advantage of, or plan to in the near future.
Vogel stated that she "definitely" plans on utilizing the bike corral when it is completed, and is looking forward to being able to lock her bicycle up knowing that it's not going to get knocked over by a pedestrian or by someone trying to put change into their parking meter.
In addition nearby businesses look to benefit from the increased bicycle accessibility, while bicycling advocates are excited about the effect on people’s mentality as the bike corrals act as an equalizer for bicyclists trying to share the road with automobiles.
"Cars and bicycles are inherently unequal as I'm not in a giant metal box and thus am more vulnerable than an automobile driver will ever be, but we can address that inequality as a community by implementing infrastructure improvements specifically for bicyclists," explained Vogel.
Recent infrastructure improvements including new dedicated bike lanes, sharrows, trails, and bicycle parking requirements within parking garages are just a step in the right direction according to Vogel.
"Cincinnati needs to make a significant commitment of political will and funding to implement the bicycle plan that is currently being worked on. This is going to involve funding maintenance of roadways in terms of paint and other infrastructure improvements that may be made," she said.
"It's easy to fall into the trap of viewing infrastructure exclusively in terms of bike lanes or on-street bike parking; Cincinnati also needs to pass a comprehensive package of bicycle safety ordinances that will help to make motorists and cyclists alike more accountable for their behavior on the road."
Writer: Randy A. SimesPhotography by Scott Beseler
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