Cincinnati cyclists have been waiting for the arrival of bike lanes on Riverside Drive since summer of 2011, and patience is running thin. Yesterday, Cincinnati's Department of Transportation announced that it was considering "indefinitely postponing" the bike lane project because of possible future construction on I-471.
The plan was originally postponed because Duke Energy needed to perform some work in the area. Now, Cincinnati officials are concerned that the I-471 traffic could redirect to Riverside in the face of construction, meaning Riverside could become saturated with rerouted motorists. The bike lane project originally required a travel lane to be removed from Riverside drive to install bike lanes.
Nern Ostendorf, Queen City Bike's executive director, expressed disappointment with the decision. "We really have to stick to our plans and prioritize. If we keep being bullied [by the city], nothing's ever going to change."
Riverside Drive is currently a main thoroughfare for East End bikers who work downtown, but problems with speeding call for reform. "The road doesn't have the infrastructure that it needs right now for bikers to be safe," says Ostendorf.
She says that the installation of the lanes is crucial to Cincinnati's urban and economic development. "We need to change people's understanding of navigating space with things other than cars." Ostendorf says there's an immediate correlation between the installation of bike lanes and hikes in business in surrounding areas.
"1. There is no guarantee that substantial I-471 traffic would shift to Riverside Drive; 2. East End already deals with commuters speeding through their neighborhood on a daily basis. It’s time for DOTE to make Columbia Parkway the obvious alternative for motor vehicle commuters by going ahead with this project, which will reduce traffic and speeding in a residential area."
The post directs proponents of the bike lane installation to contact City Council members, along with Michael Moore, director of Cincinnati's Department of Transportation, to lobby for the reversal of the postponement.
Moore could not be reached for comment on Friday.