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Cincinnati unanimously approves sweeping bicycle policy reforms

Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously to approve sweeping policy changes with a new Bicycle Master Plan that calls for establishing a 445-mile network of bike routes, progressive bicycle safety measures, and new off-street bicycle facilities that will compliment recently approved bicycle parking requirements.

"Our bicycle safety ordinance package is actually stricter than Chicago's and more comprehensive than anything else in the region," said Katie Vogel, Chair of the Cincinnati Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (Bike/PAC).  "This is something that's going to go a long way towards assuaging the fears of cyclists and towards informing motorists as to the rights of cyclists."

The $55 million bicycle program is expected to dramatically change the landscape for one of the fastest growing forms of transportation in Cincinnati, and is the culmination of a nearly year-long community planning effort that included charrettes, meetings and public rides that took inventory of the city's existing infrastructure.

The changes will take place incrementally over the next 15 years with approximately one-third of the 330 new miles of bike routes completed by 2015 at a cost of $2.8 million.  The new bike routes will include more sharrows, climbing lanes for bicyclists going up Cincinnati's hills, and close to six miles of on-street cycle tracks.

The aim of the aggressive bike route expansion plan is to create a continuous network across Cincinnati, while new policy reforms will aim to change the culture of bicycling in the historic Midwestern city.

While the approval of the Bicycle Master Plan and its programs does not mandate its implementation, it does set the policy direction for Cincinnati leaders as they vote on future measures related to the plan.

"We clearly have a long way to go, but yesterday was downright monumental for active transportation in Cincinnati," concluded Vogel.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Tiffani Fisher
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy
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