Council approves Central Parkway bike lanes, Cincy Bike Share
It was a close vote, but Cincinnati City council Wednesday approved a compromise that will allow a project to install protected bike lanes on Central Parkway from Clifton to downtown.
A compromise plan proposed by Vice Mayor David Mann passed on a 5 to 4 vote. It would take the bike lanes out of the travel lanes to maintain street parking between Ravine and Brighton streets to aid businesses in the area.
Mann said he went into Wednesday's meeting not knowing if his compromise would pass or council would scrap the plan altogether. There was an alternative ordinance that would have killed the project that council passed unanimously last year.
“This is a good result,’’ Mann said. “There are strong feelings on either side. But we responded to the legitimate concerns about parking.”
Council had to act today to sign a contract with the state to begin the Central Parkway project.
Council member Yvette Simpson voted for the compromise but warned that it might set a precedent for accommodating other businesses owners with parking issues caused by city projects.
In a separate action, council approved a plan proposed by Mayor John Cranley to set aside $1.9 million in unused capital funds to finance various bike trails and Cincy Bike Share, which will rent bicycles to residents beginning this summer.
There will be 300 bicycles available at 35 stations in downtown, Over-the-Rhine and the Uptown area where people can rent and drop off bicycles.
$1.1 million will go to Cincy Bike Share. The group will raise another $1.1 million privately.
Cranley’s plan sets aside $200,000 each for four bike trail projects that are still works in progress – the Mill Creek Greenway Trail, the Oasis Corridor Trail that will run from Lunken Airport to downtown, the Wasson Way trail that will connect Xavier University with the Little Miami Bike Trail in Newtown, and the Ohio River Trail West that will run from Lower Price Hill to the Gilday Riverside Playfields in its first phase.
Council member Chris Seelbach raised concerns that council was rushing into Cranley’s plan without knowing if it would take money away from other bike-related projects in the city. Cranley said the money is coming from unused capital funds that are not dedicated to any other specific projects.