Sunday, January 30, 2000

Area's bikeways lack connectors

Township tries to renew interest

Enquirer Contributor

        LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — The township parks committee is pushing forward with plans to expand a community bike trail system, but it needs the help of volunteers to build some momentum.

        “We're still looking for people who would like to come together and help finish the plan and work more toward implementing it,” committee member Oba Vincent said.

        The parks committee has de signed and built a 2-mile paved trail. It begins at Fort Liberty Playland in The Reserves Park on Van Gordon Road and extends through The Wetlands Park to LeSourdsville-West Chester Road.

        Mr. Vincent said he is optimistic that the effort will succeed, but he thinks it will take years to complete.

        “We're about 20 years away from completing our plan, mostly because of roadblocks such as private property,” he said.

        The parks committee began mapping out the bike trail system nearly two years ago. During that time there had been talk of a bike trail along the Butler County Regional Highway. That plan has fallen by the wayside, but the parks committee is open to new ideas.

        The committee's renewed effort comes just as the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) is updating its 1992-93 overview of area bike paths.

        The OKI region, with its growing number of bike paths, is part of an expanding net work of similar systems being built across the United States. OKI has been involved in such efforts since 1976, when it prepared the OKI Bikeway Policy, which encourages bicycling for transportation.

        “We're updating the regional bike plan now and by this summer, we'll have a better picture of where everything is,” senior planner Ann Gordon said.

        Liberty Township is one of more than 20 townships, municipalities, counties and park districts in the OKI region taking steps to get a bike trail system in place.

        “We sent out an inventory to determine the status of the various projects,” Ms. Gordon said. “I think we know 90 percent of what's going on.”

        In Hamilton County, bike trail planners are looking at ways to connect the Lunken Airport trail with the Little Miami trail that reaches into Warren County.

        In Northern Kentucky, improvements along Ky. 8 — which has long been a popular place to bicycle — are being investigated.

        In Warren County, Mason and Lebanon are looking into bike trail systems, and proponents of the Great Miami Bike way in Warren and Butler counties just received funding to extend parts of that trail south into Fairfield and north of Franklin.

        The regional bike trail system could eventually extend as far south as Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and as far north as Xenia.

        “Our goal is simply to provide the residents of Liberty Township with good recreation and an alternative mode of transportation,” Mr. Vincent said.

        For more information, call Mr. Vincent at 779-6210.


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