2023-05-19 Breakfast on the Bridge-5188 (web)

Triumphs & Trails: Celebrating Tri-State Trails’ Milestones of 2023

Tuesday, November 21, 2023 by Caitlin Sparks

As we reflect on the journey of 2023, we’re humbled by our community’s incredible support and participation. Together, we’ve achieved so much. From the launch of the Covington and Newport Bicycle Transportation Plan to the first-ever Traffic Garden in the region, our collective efforts have sparked enthusiasm and collaboration. 

Follow along as we recount new trail miles, recognize our big-hearted volunteers, and celebrate the successes we shared this year.

January: Cincinnati’s Complete Streets Ordinance, Covington + Newport Bike Plan launched

At the end of 2022, Complete Streets policies were passed by two critical public entities with significant influence over our roadways: OKI Regional Council of Governments and the City of Cincinnati. A Complete Streets Ordinance is an approach to planning, designing, building, operating, and maintaining streets that enable safe access for all people who need to use them, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. When enacted and implemented properly, Complete Streets policies mandate engineers to design for all transportation modes, especially the most vulnerable roadway users like pedestrians, bicyclists, individuals using mobility devices, and transit users. In partnership with the Sierra Club and American Heart Association, Tri-State Trails played an important role in advising on the content of Cincinnati’s Complete Streets Policy through Councilmember Mark Jeffreys’ office.
Read more:

Across the river, in January 2023, the City Commissions in both Covington and Newport approved a Memorandum of Understanding to partner with Tri-State Trails in developing a joint Bicycle Transportation Plan for both cities. Tri-State Trails’ scope of work focuses on creating a protected bikeway network within Covington and Newport that can extend into neighboring cities. The second round of public input is available online until November 22. When approved, this plan will serve as a guiding document for each city to work toward building a connected bikeway network for the future.
Read more:

February: Membership Program launched

When we took the important step of becoming an independent nonprofit organization, we asked our partners to support our work by becoming organizational Tri-State Trails members. Over the course of 2023, 21 organizations answered the call, including eight at the Trailblazer level. Thank you to all our member organizations for valuing Tri-State Trails as a partner in such a meaningful way.

Do you want your community to be more walkable, bikeable, and accessible? We can help – and there are benefits in it for you! Since 2017, Tri-State Trails has collected usage data on our regional trails to document the impact trails and active transportation, like walking, biking, and multi-modal transportation, have on local communities. Your local government or community group can access our depth of information, insight, and support by becoming a Tri-State Trails organizational member today.
Learn more about Tri-State Trails Membership:

March: Advocacy Days in Columbus and Washington, D.C.

Every spring, Tri-State Trails partners with the Ohio Trails Partnership, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and trail groups from around the state to advocate for trails to elected officials in Columbus.  This year, we traveled up with our friends at Great Parks, Mill Creek Alliance, and the Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance.  Collectively, our Cincinnati cohort met with the offices of Senator Steve Wilson (the co-chair of the Legislative Trails Caucus), Senator Catherine Ingram, Senator Louis Blessing III, Representative Dani Isaacsohn, Representative Cecil Thomas, Representative Cedric Denson, and Representative Rachel Baker.

Coincidentally, the League of American Bicyclists’ Advocacy Day lined up on the same day this year.  Brad Bowers on our team attended the National Bike Summit and had the opportunity to meet with staff from the offices of Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator JD Vance, Congressman Warren Davidson, and Congressman Brad Wenstrup to educate them about trail projects happening in Southwest Ohio.

April: Pop-Up Bike Shop Series begins

On April 22nd, our 2023 Pop-Up Bike Shop series kicked off at the Lick Run Greenway Earth Day Celebration. Collaborating with Cincy Red Bike, MoBo Bicycle Co-op, Queen City Bike, Major Taylor Cycling Club Of Cincinnati, REI, and Reser Bicycle Outfitters, we had a blast fixing 24 bikes and sharing bike safety resources with our South Fairmont neighbors. Five more pop-up bike shops followed throughout the summer. 

Our Pop-Up Bike Shop series directly serves neighbors in the communities hosting each event. With the help of committed partners and volunteers, these shops aim to eliminate obstacles to active transportation. We tackle challenges such as the expense of bike repairs, ensuring access to safety gear like lights and locks, and providing guidance on cycling routes, trail locations, and opportunities to connect with fellow community members. This season, we fixed up 144 bikes and distributed over 100 rechargeable lights, about 75 locks, and 36 helmets.

May: 14th annual Breakfast on the Bridge, 501(c)(3) letter

After applying to the IRS in 2022 to become an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we received our IRS determination letter on National Bike to Work Day! On May 19, we also celebrated the 14th annual Breakfast on the Bridge. This year was our biggest turnout, with over 250 people in attendance. Attendees enjoyed coffee from Trailhead Coffee and breakfast from North South Bakery, Taste of Belgium, and Cookie Jar Bakery. We also distributed the updated Low-Stress Bike Map and Bike-Bingo cards.

Our presenting sponsors, Great Parks, and Cincinnati Metro, were stationed near the entrance of the bridge, where they provided updates about their services and shared breakfast treats. There were seven additional sponsor tables, including Reser Bicycle Outfitters, Steve Magas and Chris Carville (Ohio and Kentucky Bike Lawyers), Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library, Newport on the Levee, Ride Cincinnati, Live Well NKY, and TANK (Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky). Thank you to all those who came out and supported this enjoyable community event.

June: Wasson Way 6A groundbreaking, budget advocacy for $400K lighting and $52K College Hill / Northside Connector

On June 30, our CROWN project took another major step forward – Mayor Aftab Pureval and community leaders broke ground on Phase 6A of Wasson Way. This trail extension will run from Woodburn Avenue in Evanston to Blair Court in Avondale and sets the stage for Wasson Way to connect to the University of Cincinnati.

That same month, Cincinnati City Council approved the 2024-2025 budget, which included two important trail investments. Wasson Way Phase 6A will receive $400,000 to install lighting on the trail so it can be used safely at all hours of the day. Additionally, advocates in College Hill and Northside were awarded $52,000 to perform a feasibility study on a trail connection from Salway Park up to Groesbeck Road. Tri-State Trails played a key role in guiding residents to advocate for this neighborhood’s active transportation improvement.

July: Greendale Trails Action Plan adopted

This year, Tri-State Trails embarked on a new partnership with the City of Greendale, Indiana, to create a plan to transform the community’s multi-modal connectivity and recreational opportunities – the Greendale Trails Action Plan. Adopted in July, the initiative received unanimous approval from the Greendale Redevelopment Commission and led to a Next Level Trails grant submission to expand the Tiger Trail. The plan advocates for enhancing local and regional connectivity along the Dearborn Trail and maps out the essential steps and funding strategies required for its successful execution.
Read more about the Greendale Trails Action Plan:

August: Tour de CROWN

We were thrilled by the incredible public response to our first-ever Tour de CROWN ride on August 26.  More than 350 riders signed up for this unique trail adventure, presented by Great Parks. With the generous support of numerous individuals and organizations, we raised over $20,000 to further Tri-State Trails’ mission!
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September: Meet the Candidates Ride

With roughly 80 riders and five fantastic candidates, our community came together to explore the potential for continued investment in bike infrastructure in Cincinnati. People from different backgrounds and neighborhoods convened for a common cause – to make our streets safer for biking and walking. Not only did we have a blast, but we also created an experiential learning opportunity for candidates and residents that will inform future advocacy and decision-making. 

Special thanks to Council Member Meeka Owens, Council Member Reggie Harris, Council Member Jeff Cramerding, Council Member Anna Albi, and Council Member Mark Jeffreys’ team for participating and engaging with our community. Your willingness to listen and learn is greatly appreciated. A heartfelt thank you to our incredible partners for their invaluable support in organizing and ensuring the safety of riders during the Meet the Candidates Ride: Urban Basin Bicycle Club, Queen City Bike, Cincy Red Bike, Major Taylor Cycling Club of Cincinnati, and CORA, this event wouldn’t have been possible without your unwavering support and collaboration!

October: OKI Grant awards, Mill Creek Clean-Up, Mill Creek Triangle Trail

On October 14, over 50 amazing volunteers participated in the Mill Creek Greenway Clean Up Day hosted by Tri-State Trails, Mill Creek Alliance, Working In Neighborhoods (WIN), Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation (NEST), Cincinnati Recreation Commission, the Common Orchard Project, and Groundwork Ohio River Valley. With the support of these dedicated partners and committed residents, we rolled up our sleeves to clean up the trail, install new trees, and plant native wildflower seeds. In addition to improving the existing trail, the purpose of this event was to educate residents about the opportunities for extending the Mill Creek Greenway trail as part of the CROWN network.

Tri-State Trails has been supporting the development of the Great Miami River Trail (GMRT) in Butler County since 2017. In anticipation of the gap between Middletown and Franklin being constructed, Tri-State Trails united partners in Butler County to prepare regional trail plans for the future. In 2018, we completed the Miami 2 Miami Connection Action Plan, which encouraged the City of Monroe to pursue two grants to build the GMRT in their jurisdictional boundary. Both grants were awarded – $750,000 from OKI and $500,000 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Clean Ohio Trails Fund. 
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November: The Dayton Traffic Garden

In collaboration with the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, Governors Highway Safety Association, National Road Safety Foundation, the City of Dayton, Dayton Park Board, Dayton Independent Schools, Lincoln Elementary, and Discover Traffic Gardens, Tri-State Trails piloted the first Traffic Garden in Greater Cincinnati! Together, we created an interactive, fun space for all people to learn about traffic safety, empowering them to use and share roadways safely and confidently. The Dayton traffic garden is already setting an example for innovative outdoor learning.
Read more:

Help us make December memorable by reaching our $20K challenge grant fundraising goal.

At Tri-State Trails, our mission is clear: we’re dedicated to bolstering new trail and bikeway initiatives across the Tri-State region, and we’re counting on your support to make it happen.

Since our inception in 2012, our partners have built over 138 miles of multi-use trails and 55 miles of on-road bikeways. This progress is a testament to the contributions of individuals like you. Your steadfast support has propelled our region forward, accelerating our journey towards a more connected community. Help us continue this important work!

We’re excited to announce that between now and December 31, 2023, we have a $20,000 challenge grant from the Melissa and James Wilz Charitable Fund! Every dollar you contribute now will have double the impact, propelling us closer to our shared vision for an active and connected community. Join us in shaping the future of the Tri-State. Your donation, matched dollar-for-dollar, is a pivotal step towards building a better-connected, healthier community for everyone.
Donate today!

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