Bike-riding should be for everyone, Will Koehler told members of the Clintonville Area Commission -- not just what he termed "spandex warriors."
Koehler, a member of the commission's planning and development committee, was part of Sept. 7's lengthy and detailed update on the work of the CAC, including Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund projects.
Although commission Chairwoman Libby Wetherholt started things out and Andrew Overbeck, now in his fifth year heading up the planning and development committee, also contributed, the largest portion of time went to Koehler.
His focus was the Clintonville Neighborhood Greenways project, which would employ signs and some pavement markings to guide casual bicycle riders along safe routes to a variety of destinations.
"You ride the bike you have," Koehler said. "You don't have to have any special equipment. You don't have to be an athlete. You don't have to be fit. Anyone can ride."
Wetherholt opened for Koehler by citing the frequency in the Clintonville Neighborhood Plan with which increasing bicycle and pedestrian traffic is mentioned.
"We want all modes of mobility being used," she said.
Overbeck was up next, providing information on how $1.5 million is being spent via the Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund, a Columbus program to pay for physical improvements in older sections of the city, which includes Clintonville south of Morse Road.
These projects include the recently completed Indianola Avenue road diet, which includes bicycle lanes, as well as two additional medians, one on North High Street in the vicinity of the Clintonville Farmers Market and the other on Indianola Avenue near Studio 35 Cinema and Drafthouse. The latter projects are set to go out for bid this year and to be constructed in 2018, Overbeck said.
Also scheduled for next year using recovery-fund money are brick crosswalks at North High Street's intersections with Morse, Hollenbeck and Henderson roads and East Dominion Boulevard, as well as the bikeway network, the value of which was outlined by Koehler.
Greenways such as the one scheduled to debut in Clintonville next year already exist in Portland, Oregon, and 10 other cities in the United States, he told CAC members and those in the audience.
Working along with Alex Smith, Emily Monnig, Mike Anderson and Brian Laliberte as a sort of subcommittee of planning and development, as well as with city officials, Koehler said a network of streets has been identified that not only would provide safe bike-riding for the entire family, but also get people to desired destinations.
These include schools, churches, the Whetstone library and many neighborhood businesses, Overbeck said.
"A network like this is meaningless if you can't go somewhere you want to," Koehler said. "I think we're going to see biking blossom more."
A bikeway network is meant to encourage what various studies show are 60 percent of potential riders who are "interested but concerned," Koehler said.
"I'm very interested; my wife is very concerned," District 6 representative Jason Meek said.
"I see a missed opportunity with your plan," B.J. White, the District 9 representative, told Koehler.
Specifically, she saw a lack of attention paid to potential routes in her part of the neighborhood, north of Morse Road.
What's being planned for 2018 is only the first phase, Overbeck said, with more areas to come in the future.
White also said she felt the plan was lacking in any effort to educate motorists how to share the road with cyclists.
White prefaced her remarks by noting she was injured 10 years ago when she was struck by a vehicle while riding a bike, adding she has only recently begun to ride again.
"It really is not about modifying infrastructure; it's about modifying attitudes," White said.