Northwest News

Bike enthusiasts fear opposition to path will kill plan

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Area bicyclists say they are concerned vocal local opposition regarding a proposed multi-use path along West Dublin-Granville Road could lead to the project being scotched altogether.

"I am concerned that will delay the process," said Brian Hagerty, president of the Clintonville-based advocacy organization Consider Biking.

In fact, Hagerty said he fears efforts by the group Safety First 161 will "kill the project."

The members of Safety First 161, many of them property owners along the north side of the 2.2-mile stretch proposed for the multi-use path, say their problem is not with the project, but what they perceive to be a stubborn determination on the part of city officials to put the bicycle and walking path on their side of the busy road.

They point to the north side location as being simply too dangerous for bike riders and others because of the number of accidents they observe on the congested state route in front of their homes and properties.

City officials have indicated no final decision has been made on whether or not the north or south side of the Route 161 would be chosen for the path between Linworth and Sawmill roads.

Regardless of which side, two Northwest residents who are bicycling enthusiasts said they want to see a path along West Dublin-Granville Road.

"I would love to have the ability to have an east-west coordinator that was a multi-use trail," said Shari Heinrich, who lives near where Sawmill Road meets Interstate 270.

Jim Good's home is near state Route 315 and Bethel Road. He works for a payroll processing company in Dublin, and makes the six-mile trip to his office and the six-mile one back three or four times a week.

"There's not really any safe or legal way for somebody in the whole Northwest quadrant of the city to go east or west," Good said.

Both bike riders described taking circuitous routes from their homes to the places of work; Heinrich is with Ohio Job and Family Services on East Fifth Avenue, and gets up at 4:45 a.m. to arrive on time the mornings she takes her bicycle.

"Detouring on a bicycle is a lot more of a problem than detouring in a car," Hagerty of Consider Biking pointed out.

Good uses Bethel Road for part of his commute, and even then rides on the sidewalk. City ordinance prohibits adults from riding their bikes on the sidewalk.

"On the one hand I can take my life in my hands; on the other hand I can kind of break the law," Good said.

He wouldn't even try West Dublin-Granville Road without a bike path.

"It is scary," Good said. "It's not very safe or comfortable."

"Columbus has a great system that's been building up north-south, but not in the east-west directions," Heinrich said. "If it's not 161, find another corridor that works. But that's hard."

In fact, Hagerty said alternatives to the north or south of West Dublin-Granville Road simply add too much mileage for bike riders trying to get between Worthington and Dublin.

As far as which side of the road the path should be on, Heinrich favors the south as do Safety First 161 members because it has fewer roads crossing it, but Good said he believes the north side in front of homes would make for a neighborhood that invites more people to walk.

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