Blog Post

ICYMI: Tri-State Trails and partners showcase new trail progress across the region

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 by Wade Johnston

The work that’s changing our region, one mile at a time

While we didn’t get to meet in person, the energy of 116 participants was palpable when we met on January 29 for our quarterly meeting. If you came, thank you. If you didn’t, we still think you’re pretty great.

Last year was an amazing year for bicycling and walking in our region, and we were excited to turn the microphone over to our community of trail partners to hear what projects are in the works for 2021. We also introduced our new Executive Committee chair, and previewed a new initiative to build an updated bicycle map.

Missed the meeting? We recorded the entire event, just for you

Trail demand is through the roof

Although the last 11 months have been harder than we could have ever anticipated, we have been stunned by the rise in demand for trails during the pandemic. Across our five permanent trail counters, we’ve seen trail use increase 36% in 2020 compared to 2019. It’s a testament to the appeal of the great outdoors, and an indicator that our community of advocates for trails and biking is growing.

What’s been accomplished and where we’re going

From every corner of our region, our partners reported out about their accomplishments in 2020 and plans for 2021. Label us impressed, because our partners are pushing for innovation and for putting pedestrians and bicyclists first in the design process, not just as afterthoughts. Here’s a quick rundown of the trailblazing in progress:

  • Boone County completed several trail projects in 2020–2.5 miles along Mount Zion Road, 0.5 mile along Graves Road, and 1 mile along Veterans Way / KY 18. The county has funding for 10.5 miles of new trails in the coming three years.
  • Southbank Partners completed new bridge connections from Riverfront Commons to the Taylor Southgate Bridge in 2020. The Covington segment of Riverfront Commons is underway. Funding has been secured for Riverfront Commons in Newport and Bellevue.
  • New natural surface trails are under construction at the 6th Street Bike Park under I-471 in Newport and Sargeant Park in Dayton.
  • Phase 2 of the Oxford Area Trail was completed in 2020. The trail now extends 2.5 miles off-road from Peffer Park to Kelly Drive and will one day circle 12 miles around the college town.
  • The gaps in the Great Miami River Trail are closing in Butler County. Franklin and Middletown will be connected later this year, forming a 64.5 mile trail from Middletown to Piqua, Ohio. Tri-State Trails is leading a feasibility study this year to connect Middletown to Hamilton.
  • Phase 1 of the Hamilton Beltline trail started construction in November. Funding is secured for the next two phases, which will create a 2 mile trail connecting into the future Spooky Nook Sports Complex and Great Miami River Trail.
  • The Whitewater Canal Trail received an anonymous $700,000 donation that will forge critical connections and complete the 11-mile gravel trail in Franklin County, Indiana.
  • Lebanon has extended the Countryside YMCA Trail 2.4 miles north to the Miller Road. Part of the extension included a road diet along N. Broadway Avenue (SR 48) with a two-way protected bike lane.
  • Clifton Town Meeting is partnering with the City of Cincinnati to pilot a two-way protected bike lane along Clifton Avenue from Ludlow Avenue to Straight Street. The project is set to cut the ribbon on March 27, 2021.
  • The Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance is working to build on their success with Cincinnati Parks in to install a bike skills park in Mt. Airy Forest.

Tri-State Trails and all our partners are making tremendous progress on building the CROWN. Here’s a summary of the work being done to complete the 34-mile urban trail loop.

  • Lick Run Greenway, the massive stormwater project managed by the Metropolitan Sewer District, will open this spring with a mile of daylighted stream and greenway trail surrounded by over 750 trees.
  • Mill Creek Alliance has ignited a new energy to push forward the Mill Creek Greenway Trail. In addition to several paved trail connections in the works, special efforts are underway to make the Mill Creek more accessible to paddlers.
  • The first 0.6 mile segment of the Ohio River Trail West opened in 2020, and another 1.2 miles will be completed in 2021.
  • Great Parks of Hamilton County continues to be a trailblazer along the Little Miami Scenic Trail. Last year, they completed the first segment of the Columbia Connector behind Fifty West, and this year they are starting construction on the Beechmont Bridge project to connect to Lunken Airport.
  • Wasson Way nearly doubled in length last year and now extends 2.5 miles from Montgomery Road to Marburg Avenue. Another $3.76 million was secured in 2020 to extend the trail west to Uptown. Later this year, the trail will extend through Ault Park and connect to the Murray Path.
  • The Village of Mariemont is extending the Murray Path 0.4 miles from Settle Street to Plainville Road.
  • Construction is almost finished on the Ohio River Trail connection from Lunken Airport to Coney Island. When complete, you will be able to bike 22 miles on a trail or bike lane from Smale Park to New Richmond, Ohio!

New leadership on our Executive Committee

Tanner Yess is the Co-Executive Director of Groundwork Ohio River Valley and an avid cyclist.

We introduced our new Executive Committee Chair, Tanner Yess. Yess is the Co-Executive Director of Groundwork Ohio River Valley. He’s excited to help lead the region into a new era of trail connectivity, equity, and community engagement. “We’re moving from vision to implementation,” Yess said to attendees as he officially took on the title and responsibilities of Chair from Bob Yoder, who will still serve on the Executive Committee.

A low-stress way to explore your community

We’re gearing up to develop a new bike map that’ll make navigating a little less awful for bicyclists. We’ll be highlighting calmer streets, flatter routes, and simple ways to connect to trails near you, all in the spirit of making bicycling a little bit easier. Our region hasn’t had a refreshed bicycle map in almost a decade, and we’re looking forward to lead the way on a map that will reflect your priorities and desires. Take our survey today and help us make this map a reality.

We’re headed in the right direction, but only because of you

“I hope you are as excited as I am,” said Wade Johnston after the meeting concluded. “The more you are involved telling your elected officials and community leaders that this is important, the more we can get done together.”

We’re doing this work, one foot of trail at a time. And we’re proud to be doing it with you.

Looking for more news and updates about Tri-State Trails? Join our email list today.

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