Source: Soapbox Media, Allison Smith Cohen
What if there was a healthy, affordable, environmentally-friendly way to get to work? What if you could skip the headache of traffic every morning?
CROWN, formally known as the Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network, is a series of trails that loops and connects Cincinnati’s existing biking and walking trails. Interact for Health funds the promotion of CROWN, highlighting the collaboration of nonprofit, government agencies and transportation organizations to expand and promote the trail network.
Wade Johnston is the director of Tri-State Trails, a Green Umbrella initiative that's committed to connecting and expanding the region's trail system. Tri-State Trails is one of the many organizations working to make CROWN a reality. Johnston says that CROWN will connect neighborhoods, taking us back to the basics of transportation and recreation.
“What better way to connect neighborhoods than to connect trails?” he asks.
The CROWN network also keeps us competitive with similar efforts happening in Louisville, Columbus and Cleveland, which are also building ways to actively transport their citizens to their destinations.
The CROWN is founded on five pillars of benefits to our city:
- Active transportation: “Forty percent of car rides in an urban environment are trips that are two miles or less,” says Frank Henson, the chair for Tri-State Trails. The idea is to get people safely between destinations without a car.
- Economic development: “There’s already evidence that trails increase property values,” Johnston says, pointing out the examples of development happening along the Little Miami Trail.
- Public health: “Ohio and Kentucky are near the bottom of public health rankings for cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says Johnston. “If we can make it an easy choice to bike or walk every day, it can reduce healthcare costs collectively.”
- Transportation equity: Providing biking or walking options to impoverished areas can provide additional connectivity to people who don’t have access to a car.
- Environmental sustainability: “We have some of the worst air quality here in Cincinnati and fumes from cars contribute to that,” Johnston says. Walking and biking will have the added benefit of improving air quality and lowering the instances of pulmonary diseases.
The work for the CROWN network is ongoing, with 48 miles of the 104-mile network already built. The vision is to have the entire network completed in 5-10 years.
Meanwhile, citizens can enjoy the portions of the CROWN that already exist (check out the map below). A detailed map can be found on CROWN's website.
“It’s very appropriate for the Queen City to have a CROWN,” Johnston adds.