Bicyclists in the Cincinnati region will be excited to hear about plans to develop a 42 miles cycling super highway. Four separate groups were working on their own major trail projects, and decided to collaborate to create one huge trail. The biking trail will be a 42 mile , continuous path known as a “off-road super highway” which will cater to non-motorists.
Plans for the new super highway were announced in December. Leaders showcased their plan for Cincinnati Connects, which was underwritten by Interact for Health. The four leaders coming together to build one trail include Mill Creek Greenway Trail, Ohio River West Trail, Oasis, and Wasson Way projects. Although a great spot for bicyclists, the trail will also be made available to pedestrians, and people using wheelchairs. Robin Corathers has played a huge role in the development of Cincinnati Connects, acting as the project manager and Groundwork Cincinnati/ Mill Creek Executive Director. She said that the urban trail loop could make Cincinnati one of the top pedestrian and bicycle communities in the entire country.
The 42 mile trail is created with the people of the city in mind. It would provide individuals a transportation alternative. Pedestrians and bicyclists would have a safe and accessible route for travel every day, making it easy for people of all ages, incomes and abilities to access. The path would connect 32 of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods, with the hopes to connect with other trail systems across Hamilton County and the Tri-state region. From end to end, the entire loop would extend from Mill Creek on the West side to Armleder Park on the East side. Looking at the big picture, the city hopes that in creating this path, they will see improvement in air quality, emissions, and traffic congestion. Inspiring many others to get some cash for car title, and get themselves a non-motorist way of transportation.
Corathers said that this project was 15 months in the making, and took careful technical work and planning. It will cost around $21 million to construct the six connector trails for the 42 mile path. The University of Cincinnati Economics Center developed a benefits-cost analysis to determine that the return on investment would be around $43.5 million. The next stop in project planning is to collaborate with city leaders to develop a detailed implementation strategy. The team will have to figure out who in the community can be stakeholders for the project. Funding for the project needs to be community-wide, as Corathers said 100 percent of the funding cannot come from City Council. Funding is also possible if they can get a state or federal grant. Corathers believes they have a good shot with the Clean Ohio Trail Fund program, who awarded $500,000 to the Wasson Way project. The Ohio River Trail West also received funds through a federal Congestion Mitigation/ Air Quality grant. Since they are combining forces to create one super highway trail, there are definite opportunities out there for grants to help fund the project.