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With the popularity of the City’s bikeways, an increased interest in leading healthy lifestyles, growing concern for the environment, and the need for sustainable economic development, the Columbus Bikeways Plan will guide the development of a world-class transportation system that features bicycling and walking.

arrow This project was nominated for a Partnership Award as part of the 2008 National Trails Awards, announced at the 19th National Trails Symposium in Little Rock, Arkansas.


Columbus Bicentennial Bikeways Master Plan guides new programs and facilities

photo of biker with big buildings

Trail System in downtown Columbus, OHIO

Download the Map from the Bikeway Plan (PDF 2.8mb) 

In 2012, the City of Columbus will celebrate its bicentennial. This event provides a historic opportunity for developing innovative solutions that build upon the city’s past and create a better future. The bicycle is a symbol of these efforts— a vehicle with significant potential to help meet the City’s environmental, mobility, health, economic and social goals.

The Bicentennial Bikeways Plan provides a new vision of transportation, recreation and quality of life for Columbus. This vision is connected to the City’s Green Initiative, the Commit to Be Fit program, and broader efforts that support a sustainable future. The projects, policies and programs included in this document will provide the City with a lasting legacy for 2012 and beyond.

The 2008 Columbus Bicentennial Bikeways Master Plan is an innovative effort to connect the city’s trails, streets, parks and destinations with active transportation solutions. The plan combines Mayor Coleman’s Green Initiative, the local “Commit to be Fit” program, an extensive urban trail system and a new vision of the bicycle as a key solution for the City’s future. Since Columbus is home to major employers including Battelle, Nationwide and Ohio State University, there is a great opportunity for the City to improve public health. The plan was produced by the consulting team of Alta Planning + Design and Burgess & Niple.

Mayor Coleman personally launched the Bicentennial Bikeways plan by leading a downtown bike ride— and is a healthy transportation advocate. The city council, led by triathlete MaryEllen O’Shaunessy, fully adopted the plan in June, 2008, and is developing new ordinances for “Complete Streets” and bicycle parking. Local non-profit Consider Biking is playing a key role promoting bicycling throughout the City. A Bicentennial Bond measure is being proposed to create $20million in local funding for the plan, and the City is already pursuing state and federal funds for new trail and bikeway projects.

photo of bikes on street

If people bicycled to work just twice a month, 10 percent of
commuter trips will be made by bike.

A key concept in the Plan is the “2 by 2012” campaign: a goal of having each person make two trips per month by bicycle each month by the year 2012. These four trips would represent 10% of commuter trips in Columbus, and will create a significant improvement in physical activity, health and quality of life for the city. The City’s Department of Public Services is already implementing new on-street bikeway improvements, and the Parks & Recreation is continuing to expand the City’s extensive trail system.

For Columbus, the idea of “Commit to be Fit” is about more than just increased physical activity— it is about changing the built environment and the City’s culture as a legacy for the City’s Bicentennial in 2012. The Bicentennial Bikeways Plan is a cornerstone of this effort. Columbus is on the right path and moving forward into a healthier future.

In the late 1960s Columbus constructed its first shared use paths along the Olentangy and Scioto Rivers to meet the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s goal to connect its parks with shared use paths. In the late 1980’s, when Schrock Road was widened, bike lanes were included. In recent years, bicycle lanes have been installed on Hard Road and Morse Road and bicycle route signs have been posted for several identified bicycle routes. In the past decade, bicycle racks have been added to the local bus fleet.

Columbus now has 50 miles of shared use paths along the Olentangy and Scioto Rivers, Alum Creek, and I-670, and six miles of bicycle lanes. Other U.S. cities, including Portland, Chicago, and Louisville are implementing ambitious bikeway systems, and Columbus has the potential to be the best bicycling city in the friendly city: flat topography, a large college-age population,
rivers that run through the city, the state capitol and a large private-sector presence.

The new Bicentennial Bikeways Plan is proposed in a series of phases that allow for Columbus to create the new infrastructure and programs as resources and opportunities become available. The Plan calls for the following initiatives: Complete Streets: Adopt a new City policy consistent with the model adopted by the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission to integrate bicycle facilities into infrastructure projects.

photo of biker on front bus rack

Bicycling as part of a multi-modal trip in Columbus.

100 Miles of Bikeways by 2012: Phase one of the plan involves expanding the existing system to 100 miles with 50 miles of new projects created by integrating bike lanes into street paving and construction projects, implementing "road diets" on streets with extra capacity, and continuing the development of shared use paths using current funding.

200 New Miles by 2018: The second phase of the plan involves the next 200 miles of bikeways, with a continued emphasis towards on-street facilities that link throughout the City. In the long term, if the resources and support are available, the completed system will reach a total of more than 500 miles.

City-wide Share the Road Campaign: The education, encouragement and enforcement elements of the plan are as important as the engineering elements. The Plan calls for a major campaign that provides bicyclists, motorists and other roadway users with the information they need to improve traffic safety on the City’s streets. This campaign will complement other programs including Safe Routes to Schools, Commit to be Fit, and employer-based commuter choice initiatives.

100 Bike Friendly Intersections: Safety at intersections is a critical issue for improving mobility as Columbus becomes a Bicycle Friendly Community. Each year, ten intersections will be improved with enhanced signage, pavement markings, bicyclist actuated signals and other features. nation. Columbus has unique advantages for being a bicycle.

1000 New Bike Racks: Just like driving a car, having a secure place to park is essential for travel by bicycle. A new Bicycle Parking Ordinance has been proposed by the City of Columbus Bikeway Advisory Committee. New bike parking can be installed as a typical element of streetscape design, and worksites, public buildings and schools throughout the City.

photo of bikes with check out machine

Humana Healthcare in Louisville provides free bikes to employees
to use during the workday.

The Columbus Bicentennial Bikeways Plan guides the future development of bicycle facilities, education, enforcement, and encouragement programs for the City of Columbus over the next ten years. This Plan was developed with public input from the community, but continued outreach and civic participation is encouraged through neighborhoods, area commissions, districts and organizations. The Plan inventories and evaluates the City’s current bicycle network, addresses the opportunities and constraints for improving bicycling in Columbus and recommends policy changes to enhance bicycling. The Plan also presents design guidelines for constructing high quality facilities, including shared use paths, bike lanes, signed shared roadways, bicycle parking and innovative treatments such as bicycle boulevards and shared lane markings. The plan prioritizes bicycle facilities and establishes a funding and implementation plan for the next 10 years.

Funding for implementation of the Bicentennial Bikeways Plan will come from a range of sources, including federal and state transportation funds, parks and recreation funds private sector partnerships, and a proposed Bicentennial Bond package that is similar to the bonds that were issued for the City’s sidewalk program. The phasing of the plan allows for implementation as resources become available. The key funding elements are described as follows:

Bicentennial Bikeways Bonds ("B3" Bonds): The City will include the Bicentennial Bikeways in the proposed 2008 bond package that will provide funding for key initiatives related to the City’s celebration in 2012.

Federal transportation "Green Tea" demonstration project funding: The reauthorization of the federal SAFETEA transportation legislation will provide a significant opportunity for implementing the Bicentennial Bikeways plan. The City will work with Ohio’s Congressional delegation and other partners to secure this funding.

Private sector "adopt a bikeway" endowment campaign: Key private sector and philanthropic partners will be engaged in a fundraising effort to adopt each mile of the bikeways system. This program will enable community partnerships to sustain the trail system into the future.

Funding from other state and other local sources: There are a range of public, private and non-profit sources that can supplement the primary funding, including land conservation, public transit, utilities, environmental mitigation, health and physical activity, education and other sources.

Parks & Recreation Funding: The Recreation and Parks Department and Metro Parks are planning to spend approximately $2,500,000 in 2008 for land acquisition, design and construction associated with shared-use trails in Central Ohio. Additional resources will also be spent for operations, programming and management from recreation funding sources.

photo of biker with big buildings

Public involvement is an important part of
implementing the Bikeways Plan.

In order to successfully implement the plan, partnerships between citizens, public agencies, the private sector and non-profit organizations are essential. The plan recommends that the City agencies establish an Interagency Working Group to coordinate the broad range of engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation elements of the plan. A full time Bikeways coordinator will support this effort. The existing City Bikeway Advisory Committee will continue to be a voice for citizens to advise the City Council. It is also recommended that a new entity be created to engage community leadership in longterm support and fundraising for the Bicentennial Bikeways Plan.

This Bicentennial Bikeways Plan will guide the development of a world-class on-street and off-street bicycle transportation system for the enjoyment and use of Columbus’s residents and visitors. With the current popularity of the City’s existing bikeways, an increased interest in leading healthy lifestyles, growing concern for the environment, and the need for sustainable economic development, these actions will move Columbus forward into its third century. With support from Columbus community members, the City of Columbus has the potential to implement the new bicycle master plan. The City can shift one out of every ten trips made by car to bicycling, walking, and alternative transportation.

arrow Download the Map from the Bikeway Plan (PDF 2.8mb) 

arrow See more about the Columbus Bicentennial Bikeways Plan at

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