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Controversy on both sides of Central Parkway bike lanes plan

CINCINNATI (Rich Jaffe) -- Plans to run protected bike lanes down both sides of Central Parkway could be just a few weeks away from getting started.

But not everyone is in favor of the proposed plan.  Monday afternoon both sides had their say in front of some Cincinnati City Council members.  Almost everyone involved in this issue is in favor of a bike lane plan.  Opponents told me consistently they're just not in favor of this plan, or the way it came about.

The bikeway proponents rolled up early for the council committee meeting.

Bikeway proponent, Margy Waller, said, "Great idea for our whole city because it will not only be great for people who ride bikes or want to ride bikes but are nervous about it now but also for drivers, businesses; for people riding on transit and for people who are walking."
The current proposal calls for an in-bound and out-bound bike lane, along Central Parkway with a parking lane that floats side to side during peak and off peak hours.  The primary concern comes from tenants of a nearby building.
Dr. Brian Terpstra is concerned about what happens to his Parkinson's rehab patients if current street parking in front of the building goes away for a bike lane.

"It's going to really limit our ability to get handicapped people in.  Especially when they start out their rehab, initially stages they're very disabled and we're trying to do something very innovative and with the current plan, it looks like it could actually kind of squash that.  It can take us even with parking right at the curb sometimes 15 minutes  to get a very disabled patient into the building," Dr. Brian Terpstra said.
The head of the city's Transportation and Engineering Department offered three alternative proposals, each of which would, for a price ranging from 40,000 to 150,000 dollars, create parking places in front of the building.  While the bikeway's  been in the works for a couple of years and money's already appropriated, the worried business owners say they didn't find out about the proposal until after it was a done deal.

Council members Young, Seelbach and Simpson didn't like the idea of making changes at this point.  However, Vice Mayor David Mann and councilman Kevin Flynn appeared more sympathetic to the plight of the business owners.  The bikeway proposal as it stands was approved by the previous city council.
Opponents though say this was the first time that they were given a chance to express their concerns to council members.  In the end virtually nothing changed here.  The only remaining possibility is to see if the mayor brings the issue up in front of full council at City Hall.

A combination of city and federal money would pay for the bikeway.  It's slated to run from Elm Street to Ludlow Avenue.

Follow Rich Jaffe on Twitter @rajaffe and LIKE him on Facebook




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