New Beechmont Bridge Connector Links Multiple Cincinnati Trails for Increased Cyclist, Pedestrian Safety

The project, scheduled to be completed on Sept. 21, will allow users to safely travel from the Little Miami Scenic Trail to the Ohio River Trail for the first time.

click to enlarge Rendering of the Beechmont Bridge Connection - Photo: greatparks.org
Photo: greatparks.org
Rendering of the Beechmont Bridge Connection

Cyclists and pedestrians soon will have a new connection to local and regional trails.

In a Sept. 8 press release, Great Parks of Hamilton County announced the new Beechmont Bridge Connector will open to travelers starting Sept. 21. The project will allow users to safely travel from the Little Miami Scenic Trail to the Ohio River Trail for the first time.

The paved Little Miami Scenic Trail is 78 miles long and runs from Anderson Township northeast to Springfield. The Beechmont Bridge Connector is part of Tri-State Trails’ CROWN initiative to link the region’s trails.

"The trail has for years terminated behind the speedway at State Route 32, and the goal was always to make sure the trail never had to be on a road," Todd Palmeter, CEO of Great Parks tells CityBeat.

The connector will cross over the Little Miami River on a new bridge extension that is adjacent to the eastbound lane of the Beechmont Avenue Bridge. The trail will turn north under Beechmont Avenue and pass through a new tunnel under the State Route 32 westbound ramp to Beechmont Avenue where it will connect to the Little Miami Scenic Trail.

Safer traveling for cyclists and pedestrians

The Beechmont Bridge Connector gives cyclists and pedestrians 14 feet of extended space on the deck of the Beechmont Bridge. It's divided from the main road by a wall and a barricade, making it impossible for cars to interfere with cyclists and pedestrians.

"Our ultimate goal for regional trails is to have a completely separate trail system that doesn't have to share roads with cars," Palmeter says. "The cycling community is thrilled and very excited and very appreciative of this project and it's been huge supporters from day one."

A recent fatal hit-and-run crash on the Girl Scout Bridge connecting Newport and Covington demonstrates the risks imposed on cyclists while sharing the road with cars. Plans for a similar expanded deck for that bridge are in the works, but it could take years before trail travelers have a barrier protecting the from vehicles.

New downtown access

Palmeter says the expanded access to the trail will likely encourage more recreational travelers, but he notes the connector will make commuting to downtown without a car much easier.

"Getting to downtown Cincinnati is huge," Palmeter says. "There's a lot of cyclists who want to commute by bike to downtown, and before this bridge was completed they had to ride on Beechmont Avenue or Kellogg Avenue. Those are not safe for large amounts of bicycle traffic. I think we'll see more people starting to commute now that they have this safe crossing."

Go Big Day

Great Parks is celebrating the opening of the connector trail with a ribbon cutting on Sept. 21 and “Go Big Day” on Oct. 2. Go Big Day will be held at Otto Armleder Memorial Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The free event will feature a 5K fun run, live bands, food trucks and craft beer, and special activities for dogs.

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