West Side News

Cycling in Columbus

Online survey will help city frame improvements

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Columbus' investment in new amenities for bicyclists includes a public survey meant to make the city a more bike-friendly community.

This year, the city will spend $5.6 million on bicycling facilities and improvements, while also asking residents to help update the Bikeways Plan, first adopted in 2008.

"It really comes down to some fine tuning," said Rick Tilton, Columbus assistant director of public service.

Surveys, available online at surveymonkey.com/s/cbus transportation, will be accepted through Wednesday, April 23.

Tilton said there are simply more cyclists on the road, particularly Downtown, where the bike-sharing program CoGo has added 300 bicycles and 30 bike stations.

So, bike safety has been on the minds of city officials for some time. Last year, the city launched the Share the Road campaign, an ongoing educational effort meant to educate drivers and bicyclists about roadway safety.

Among new facilities planned for 2014:

* 56 accent pavement markings, or "sharrows," on 1.1 miles of roadway.

* 36 bike boulevard pavement markings on 2 miles of roadway.

* 1.5 miles of shared-use paths.

* 1.3 miles of bike lanes.

* 5 miles of bike trails.

* 50 bike racks.

Since 2008, the city has made considerable strides on the cycling front by adding a number of resources, including 13 miles of new bike trails, 393 bike racks, 18 bike shelters and 153 bicycle pavement markings at 48 intersections, said Dan Williamson, spokesman for Mayor Michael B. Coleman.

"Over the past several years Mayor Coleman has made it a goal to make Columbus one of the best bike cities in the nation," Williamson said.

"Bicycling has become a real part of our culture in Columbus and the mayor is going to do his part to make it easier to ride on the road or trails as much as possible."

Jess Mathews, outreach manager for Consider Biking, said she's encouraged the city is investing money in additional bicycle resources and safety, which is a concern for cyclists who navigate the roadways with motorists.

Mathews said motorists will shout nasty things, drive too close or dangerously swerve to avoid cyclists, who are prohibited from riding on the sidewalk.

"I think everywhere it's just a lack of education," Mathews said.

"But I think it will come if we make true changes with our infrastructure," she said.

"I think if you truly change the infrastructure you're truly going to change the behavior."

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