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City council to consider changes in plans for bike lane on Central Parkway

CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- It sounds a bit like the streetcar controversy; a new city council being asked to overturn a decision by the old one.
    
And this issue involves transportation as well but it's cars and bikes instead of street-cars.

It's hard to disagree with bike lane in principle; good exercise, good for the environment, going green, right?  But some business owners along a proposed bike path on Central Parkway think the path could cost them some green.  The new city council is being asked to un-do a bike path okay-ed by the old one and find a compromise.

Bike riders along Central Parkway have two choices right now: share the sidewalk and worry about hitting pedestrians or share the road and worry about cars hitting them.  The previous city council approved a bike lane on Central Parkway which would ultimately go from Plum Street downtown up to Cincinnati State.  But some business owners along Central Parkway say the current plan would hurt them.

Tim Haines, a Central Parkway business owner, said, "I'm not an anti-bike person.  I own two bikes and ride myself.  It's just that restricting a major artery into the city is a bad idea."

Tim Haines bought an old run down building a few years ago, fixed it up, and now has 60 people working there in his own company, Relocation Strategies and Others.  Haines is worried that his investment will be hurt by the proposed bike lane configuration because both driving there and parking there will be a mess.

So here's how it would work.  This is currently the parking lane.  It would become the bike lane.  You go out into what's the middle lane right now, this would be the parking lane.  And you go out another lane, that would be the driving lane.  One driving lane on Central Parkway for most of the day.
     
The new plan does allow two lanes of inbound traffic in the morning rush hour, and two lanes outbound in the evening.  But other than that it's kind of a back country road in the big city.

Mayor John Cranley said, "Central Parkway is a major, major artery into Cincinnati and going from 4 lanes to two is going to be very problematic for commuters."

The mayor is hoping for a compromise solution.  So are business owners.  The bike lane was unanimously approved by the last city council.  The current council needs five votes to change that.
      
There will be a public hearing on Monday afternoon to discuss the bike path question, 2p.m. at City Hall.

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