Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Region's first bike 'corral' opens in Northside

The region's first on-street bicycle "corral" was dedicated at the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Lingo Street during an Earth Day celebration last Thursday.

The $1,000 project removes one parking space and can accommodate 12 bicycles. This is different than bicycle racks and bikes chained to parking meters, which can overwhelm sidewalks and make movement more difficult for pedestrians – especially in areas as bike-crazy as Northside.

"A bicycle subculture centered on MoBo [Bicycle Coop] has taken root in Northside, and that is putting more bicycles on the street there than elsewhere," says Gary Wright, member of bicycle advocacy group Queen City Bike. "Are the streets there as bicycle-friendly as they should be? Not yet, but we're getting there."

The new corrals also increase the visibility of biking and advertise that one is in a bike-friendly community.

"It is a modest step, but the first of anything is the most difficult to get done," Wright says. "We are very happy to see this happen."

Ideas for corrals and other bicycle infrastructure have come from brainstorming for the City's new bicycle plan, which is expected to be completed this summer. Elements of the plan will include improved trails and bike routes, wayfinding signage, sharrows, bike parking and racks, and programs of bicycle safety and awareness.

"The planning process has raised the profile of bicycling on City Council and in City government when before they were largely ignored," Wright says. "That is happening because the bicycle movement is growing and becoming more visible and active. The movement blends environmentalism with a desire for healthier lifestyles, which is making it hard to resist. The plan has given us a rallying point."

Wright says that it's also a sign that the City is starting to "get it" when it comes to making the City more bicycle-friendly.

"That's a sign that the City of Cincinnati is becoming a partner in making the changes that are necessary to make bicycling work as transportation for more people," Wright says. "With the increased interest in streetcars, there is hope that decades of car-only engineering that has done so much to empty the city's neighborhoods are ending."

Previous reading on BC:
Report on Cincinnati Parks bike policies due this month (4/8/10)
Bike lanes added to Dana Avenue (12/2/09)
Large turnout for bicycle planning open house (10/12/09)
Interactive OKI bike route guide now online (7/15/09)
Initiatives serve to improve Cincinnati's environment (6/9/09)