Source: Cincinnati Enquirer, Monroe Trombly
A new organization Wednesday unveiled an ambitious vision: Connect Cincinnati's existing trail systems to create a bicycling and hiking network over one hundred miles.
At an estimated at 104 miles, the Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network (CROWN) seeks to create an "interconnected, active transportation network" to revolutionize the way people move around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
All that's standing in the way is $45.7 million. CROWN does not have a clear way to raise the money.
This unified vision plans to link the existing Little Miami Scenic Trail, Ohio River Trail East, Mill Creek Greenway Trail, Lunken Airport Trail, and Otto Armleder Trail to the proposed Wasson Way, Oasis Trail, Ohio River Trail West, and Little Duck Creek Trail.
At the heart of the CROWN network would be the 30-mile Urban Trail Loop, bringing approximately 242,000 people within one mile of a bike trail.
Nine miles out of thirty have been completed already.
To see which trails or lanes have been built in which neighborhood, consult a larger version of the map here: greenumbrella.org/CROWN
The project is being spearheaded by Tri-State Trails, Green Umbrella, and a coalition of bicycling advocates, nonprofit organizations, and various representatives of governmental agencies.
CROWN network partners cited improving public health, protecting the environment and promoting social equity as their main goals.
"We really value that it will go through some of our most vulnerable population groups, said Megan Folkerth of Interact for Health. "In many cases those groups don't have access to cars and this network will help them get where they need to go everyday."
Wade Johnston, Director of Tri-State Trails, says he is confident the money will be raised, citing recent expansions of trails such as the Little Miami Scenic Trail and Canal Bikeway route and trails under construction.
The Wasson Way Trail has partial funding thanks to $200,000 from the city of Cincinnati, and The Ohio River Trail West will see two miles constructed in 2019.
Organizations involved in the CROWN project include Queen City Bike, Cincy Red Bike, Great Parks of Hamilton County, Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance, Interact for Health, and OKI Regional Council of Governments.
CROWN is the new face and an expansion of Tri-State Trails' Cincinnati Connects project that envisioned 42 miles of biking trails in 2015.
Cincinnati Connects worked with the City of Cincinnati to implement Phase I of the city's Bicycle Transportation Plan, first started in 2010 and outlines 15 years of bicycle infrastructure recommendations.
The city of Cincinnati is ranked #36 in "The 50 Best Bike Cities of 2016" by Bicycling.com, citing the recent uptick in bicycling interest over the last few years and the success of Central Parkway's bike lanes.