Monday, July 23, 2001

Mason expected to clear way for bike paths

Plan would cost about $6 million

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — Pedaling around town could become easier if city leaders implement a plan to add 50 miles of bike paths over the next 15 years.

        City Council today is expected to approve the first reading of the master plan that would use bike and pedestrian pathways to link neighborhoods. The plan would be phased in and cost about $6 million.

        City officials said if the first reading is approved, they will set a public hearing for Aug. 27. McKenna Associates Inc. of Lebanon developed the master plan.

        City Manager Scot Lahrmer said having a bike master plan is a prerequisite for obtaining grants. Assessments from property owners and the city's general fund also will be tapped to pay for the proposed plan.

        Mr. Lahrmer said the bike paths will encourage residents to use alternate forms of transportation.

        “It encourages exercise, lowers the amount of traffic on our streets and improves our air quality,” Mr. Lahrmer said. “But probably the most important part is, it connects our neighborhoods and keeps that feel of Mason being a small town.”

        Jack Wright, 78, who rides his bike 1,000 miles per year, said the bike path will be a success.

        “It used to be that it wasn't cool to ride a bike, but now you see more and more kids riding bikes, even at junior high and high-school age,” said Mr. Wright, a General Electric retiree. Without an array of bike paths, he said, parents are “afraid right now to put a kid out on the street because of traffic.”

        City officials are building bike paths on Mason-Montgomery Road, between Tylersville Road and Main Street, and on Tylersville Road linking Kings Island Drive and U.S. 42.

        The city also owns a bike path in the Hickory Woods area near Mason Road.


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