Over the past 2 years the Miami Valley has made numerous strides toward making the region a more vibrant and livable community focusing on pedestrian and bike friendly amenities. The completion of the Comprehensive Regional and Local Bikeway Master plan, Miami Valley Cycling Summit and many more efforts has driven the movement forward. Following the Cycling Summit, communities and organizations across the region committed to continuing the process and moving their community closer towards Bike Friendly Status.
The City of Dayton is following through with their promises regarding Bike Friendly projects and the evidence is now striping the way, literally, as they are marking the first on-road bike lanes in the Urban Core. The Bike Lanes and Sharrows are designed to encourage more cyclists to travel on the roadways and as a communication tool to let motorists know where cyclists will be. This method of cycling infrastructure has been widely used across the country in cities such as Portland, Minneapolis, Louisville, Washington DC, Tampa and many more.
The BikeWalkDayton Committee is responsible for recent projects and the movement in becoming bike friendly. This group is comprised of City Leaders, Planners, Engineers, Advocates and other members of community organizations such as MVRPC, Five Rivers MetroParks, and Miami Conservancy District. The team’s goal is to work on addressing the comments and issues presented at the Cycling Summit and working toward making the City of Dayton a more Bike Friendly Community. Word on the street is that the team has also committed to submitting the Bike Friendly Community Application by the Spring Deadline. With the new bike lanes, BikeWalkDayton Committee, new RiverScape Bike Hub and other events such as Courteous Mass, I foresee a bronze – maybe even a silver designation right off the bat.
Throughout the cycling advocacy community in the US, there remains a lot of controversy surrounding Bike Lanes. Let the Outdoor Evangelist be the first to tell you, when bike lanes are improperly engineered they can be dangerous, if not fatal. However, if strategically implemented they can provide another method to get more cyclists on the streets, which is exactly what this community needs. There are many opposed to bike lanes. Many advocates can be considered members of the “Everyone Should Ride on the Street, NO Matter How Many Riders There Are” group. However that philosophy doesn’t grow a community, nor does it provide for good forum articles.
Just this past week the first Grassroots Cycling Advocacy meeting took place, one of the main objectives arising out of the Miami Valley Cycling Summit. This group is vital to the future of cycling in the region and hopes to provide a voice for all cyclists in the future. Cheers will surely be had at their next meeting over the success of the bike lanes.
So, kudos to the City of Dayton and kudos to the BikeWalkDayton Team. The striping of the bike lanes is more than just the simple act of paint on the street – it is the future of the City of Dayton. This future differentiates the city from the rest of the region as one of the most bike friendly communities in the Midwest and (of course), “The Outdoor Recreation Capital of the Midwest.”
Get Your Butt in the Saddle and Ride!