Green Umbrella in the News

  • May 10, 2021 2:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU
    By Michael Monks

    The United States officially rejoined the Paris climate agreement in February and President Biden said tackling the climate crisis is among his highest priorities. So how is our region meeting the challenges of a changing climate? This week the 2021 Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit explores this topic. The theme of this year’s Summit from May 12 to 14 is "Accelerating Action: The Path to 2030."

    This year's keynote speaker is climate policy expert Joan Fitzgerald, whose talk will focus on how cities can recover from COVID-19 equitably while making environmental advances. Green Umbrella is presenting the Summit with the City of Cincinnati and the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University.

    Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit are Green Umbrella Executive Director Ryan Mooney-Bullock; Northeastern University Professor of Urban and Public Policy Joan Fitzgerald, Ph.D.; Groundwork Ohio River Valley Program Manager Sophie Revis; and Village of Silverton Village Manager Tom Carroll.

    Listen to the episode at:

  • May 07, 2021 2:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
    By Chris Mayhew and Wayne Baker

    About two miles of new bike trail from the Cincinnati neighborhood of Mount Washington to Anderson Township was ceremoniously opened Saturday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

    There event was held to celebrate the new Salem Road to Sutton Avenue section of the Ohio River Trail on the trail near where Salem intersects with Kellogg Avenue.

    “This trail is a perfect example of regional collaboration,” said Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails at Green Umbrella. “Now you can ride the Ohio River Trail 22 miles from Smale Riverfront Park to New Richmond in a trail or a bike lane.”

    East from Downtown, the trail utilizes bicycle lanes along Riverside Drive and Kellogg Avenue to meet the Salem Road section of the trail. The Ohio River Trail will be part of a statewide series of trails stretching from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, according to Johnston.

    "This route connects Anderson Township to the planned CROWN 34-mile trail loop," he said.

    Tri-State Trails, Ohio River Way, City of Cincinnati, Great Parks of Hamilton County, and SORTA are partnering to secure funding and take the Ohio River Trail off road along the former Oasis rail line 4.5 miles from Lunken Airport to Friendship Park, Johnston stated.

    The Little Miami Scenic Trail will soon connect to the Lunken Airport, Armleder Park, and Ohio River Trail at Beechmont Avenue.

    Great Parks is currently constructing a separate bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists that is scheduled for fall 2022 completion.

    People participating in the ribbon-cutting will included Mayor John Cranley, members of city council, Anderson Township Trustee Josh Gerth, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments Trustee Bob Koehler, Rick Greiwe of the Cincinnati Riding Or Walking Network (CROWN), Wade Johnston of Green Umbrella, and John Brazina, director of Cincinnati's Department of Transportation and Engineering.

  • April 22, 2021 2:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
    By: Ryan Mooney-Bullock

    Studies show that half of all kids worldwide spend less than an hour outside each day, and a third of kids less than 30 minutes – less than the outdoor time mandated for inmates in U.S. prisons. This was a crisis before the pandemic, but the past year has underscored the important health benefits of spending time outdoors.

    For Cincinnati Public Schools students who returned to their classrooms last month, the crisis of the pandemic is also an opportunity. CPS and three dozen partners – including Green Umbrella, the regional sustainability alliance – have developed a collaborative called CPS Outside to get more kids into nature for learning, recreation and after-school programs. Though the coordination was underway before the pandemic, the need has intensified in the past year, with outdoor activity being more important than ever for students and teachers.

    Our partners are now assessing CPS campuses to find ways to promote outdoor, nature-based activities. The vision is for every school in the district to have a Green Schoolyard for students and the community to use for learning, play and exploration. That work will be guided by Cincinnati’s participation in the Green Schoolyards Technical Assistance cohort organized by Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN), a national joint initiative of the National League of Cities and the Children & Nature Network. Mayor John Cranley and CPS Superintendent Laura Mitchell signed the Green Schoolyards Pledge, committing to work towards equitable access to nature for all children.

    The benefits of getting kids outside more during the school day are many: better physical and mental health, improved behavior and focus, increased environmental awareness, pursuit of green careers and improved academic outcomes. These align so well with Cincinnati Public Schools’ strategic goals that the school board and administration have made it a strategic priority to get students outside.

    CPS Outside partners are working at all levels of the education system to achieve this goal. In the coming year, we will help teachers get more comfortable taking students outside, integrate outdoor learning into the district’s curriculum maps, provide outdoor camp-type experiences for students at schools and expose teens to green career pathways.

    Cincinnati Public Schools has many large campuses surrounded by greenspace where the outdoors is, or could be, a vibrant part of the learning day. Smaller campuses require a more creative approach. No matter where the school, CPS Outside wants to make sure ALL students have access to rich outdoor learning environments.

    • Students at Dater Montessori’s Nature Center have been learning outside for 20 years! The Westwood school serves as a nationally recognized example for in-school and after-school programming. It inspired the school’s choice of “Green and Healthy Living” for its Community Learning Center focus.
    • At Lighthouse High School in Madisonville, students work with Groundwork Ohio River Valley to manage a hoop house with aquaponic beds for growing vegetables and fish. They monitor the water quality in the tanks and use the fish and plants to study biology.
    • A rooftop garden at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy makes creative use of a tiny campus in a dense urban environment by bringing nature onto the roof. A stand-alone organization, Rothenberg School Rooftop Garden, maintains the garden and provides engaging programming for students.
    • Volunteers coordinated by the Civic Garden Center are restoring forest at Walnut Hills High School, removing invasive species and planting 1,300 native pollinator plants and 800 trees to date.

    We are also encouraging schools to take walking field trips to explore nearby natural areas. Most CPS schools are within a quarter mile of greenspace, which they could walk to for lessons, exercise, or unstructured exploration time in nature. We’ll be sharing an interactive map later this year to help school staff identify places to explore near their campus.

    The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but especially children. CPS Outside is finding a silver lining in the cloud of COVID-19, by capitalizing on the safety of gathering outdoors. By getting kids outside we will strengthen the relationship they have with the living world, help them relieve stress, be healthier, think more clearly and build community with their teachers and peers. This Earth Day, join CPS Outside in advocating for the students in your life to get outside and into nature.

    Ryan Mooney-Bullock is executive director of Green Umbrella. She is a former high school teacher and environmental educator and the mother of four children attending Cincinnati Public Schools.

  • April 22, 2021 1:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Spectrum News 1
    By Katie Kapusta

    It’s been 20 years in the making, and now, the Little Miami Scenic Trail in southwest Ohio will be connected to downtown Cincinnati. It’s the missing link of a trail connecting Cincinnati all the way to Cleveland.

    What You Need To Know:

    • The Beechmont Bridge connector has been in the works for 20 years
    • The less than a mile connection will keep cyclists off of busy roads
    • The bridge will connect the Little Miami Trail to a trail that connects to downtown Cincinnati
    • This will connect downtown Cincinnati all the way to downtown Cleveland

    Wade Johnston, a commuter cyclist in the area, said this extension will make his trip a whole lot safer.

    It’s all about safety for Johnston, which is why he avoids some roads on his bike.

    “It is quite treacherous to cross over the Beechmont levee,” Johnston said.

    But Johnston enjoys riding to work, and has commuted since his days at the University of Cincinnati.

    “It was kind of a part of my lifestyle at that point," he said. "I find it to be easy and a great way to sneak in a workout and just live a healthier lifestyle.”

    Especially because his job involves building trails to connect Cincinnati neighborhoods.

    “I saw this job as an opportunity to really positively impact our community by helping communities invest in becoming more walkable and more bike-able and really reconnecting the neighborhoods in Greater Cincinnati," he said.

    However, if he wants to ride from his house to his job, it’s necessary to take some busier roads.

    “If I were to take the most direct route, it’s about six miles and would require crossing the Beechmont Levee and riding along Red Bank Expressway which is not a very fun or really safe bike ride," he said.

    It won’t be like that for much longer. The Beechmont Bridge extension means a connection to several trails, including one that will connect to downtown Cincinnati, and a much safer way for cyclists to get on the Little Miami Scenic trail.

    “This trail connection is going to be huge because the Little Miami trail, which we’re on now is the southern end of the 326-mile Ohio to Erie trail which goes all the way to Cleveland," Johnston said.

    While Johnston has to get off his bike to see where the extension will be, the construction now means it’s worth the wait.

    "This is a huge piece of that connection linking up the Little Miami trail to Lunken airport and the Ohio River trail," he said.

    Johnston will have to wait until next fall for the nearly $8 million project to be completed.

  • April 12, 2021 1:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: CityBeat
    By Hannah Gwynne

    In August, Cincinnati City Council will decide whether or not to provide additional funding to make the protected bike lane permanently available to pedestrians and bikers alike.

    The new, two-way bike lane that opened at the end of March along Clifton Avenue has the potential to become a permanent addition to Cincinnati’s infrastructure.

    In August, Cincinnati City Council will decide whether or not to provide additional funding to make the protected bike lane perpetually available to pedestrians and bikers alike, so they can feel safer on their commutes.

    Wade Johnston, director at Tri-State Trails — an initiative of Green Umbrella that expands and connects Cincinnati’s bike trail networks — has high hopes that the Clifton Avenue lane will be sticking around, namely because Uptown has had a need for a protected bike path for years.

    “Clifton has so much activity,” Johnston says.

    “(Biking) ends up being quicker in a community like Clifton,” he says. “When we create a designated bike lane like (the one on) Clifton Avenue, it’s kind of like a bypass for people to walk and to bike.”

    During his years as an undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati, Johnston relied heavily on biking to get to his classes and co-op faster than he could in a car.

    In addition to adding convenience, the bike path provides much needed safety to often vulnerable bikers and pedestrians.

    According to Johnston, before 2020, bicycle fatalities had been steadily on the rise. Last year, at the start of the pandemic, however, cities across the country made a conscious effort to become more bike-friendly as people stayed home and commuted in cars less frequently.

    Biking became a more prevalent form of transportation — for fun and function.

    “This (bike path) is an example of (Cincinnati) seeing that trend, responding to community needs and making it happen,” Johnston says.

    That being said, last year "car crashes on local streets killed 94 individuals and injured at least 5,064 others in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky," says Tri-State Trails. And just last month, a cyclist died after being hit by a van in Westwood. (Tri-State Trails recently implemented a dashboard to track "traffic crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists," which you can view at

    The new Clifton Avenue lane features protective curbs, markers and signs alerting vehicle traffic of bikers and walkers.

    “We know that there are 41% fewer accidents when protected bike lanes are in place,” Mark Jeffreys, Clifton Town Meeting Trustee, told CityBeat in an email. “That is not just about cyclists, but also pedestrians and those in cars impacted by those accidents.”

    Jeffreys played a pivotal role in the development of the new trail.

    “In the summer of 2020, I saw temporary bike lanes popping up in cities all over the world as an easier way for people to get around in the pandemic,” he says.

    That is when he drafted a proposal for the Clifton bike path and spoke with Clifton Town Meeting, where he says he received unanimous support for the idea.

    Jeffreys then communicated with stakeholders who would be directly impacted by the path, like UC, Hebrew Union College, Tri-Health and Cincinnati Parks. He received a letter of support from each institution in favor of the potential bike path.

    After collaborating with Cincinnati Councilwoman Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney and Mayor John Cranley, the project was set in motion.

    “We jumped on (the idea),” says Councilwoman Kearney. “Cincinnati has not been a bike-riding city, and so cars don’t always think about bicyclists.”

    Kearney says that safety was on the forefront of her mind as Cincinnati City Council moved forward with the plan. It was for Jeffreys as well.

    “It was a parallel effort — first making sure there was community support and then support within the city elected officials and administration and then overcoming the funding barriers,” Jeffreys says.

    He reached out to the Devou Good Foundation, an organization that has funded bike infrastructure in the Cincinnati area previously, and they agreed to help him fund the project with up to $86,000 of available budgeting.

    Ahead of the August vote, Councilwoman Kearney says she hopes the path will become permanent.

    “We’ve asked people to give input and let us know if they like it and they want it to stay,” she says. “The hope for Clifton Town Meeting and my hope is that it will stay.”

    Email your input on the bike path to Kearney’s email or call her office at 513-352-5205.

    Within a few weeks of the bike path’s unveiling, it has already proven to be effective. Jeffreys says that before the paths were in place, 55% of cars would speed on Clifton Avenue, sometimes up to 73 miles per hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone.

    After the two-way bike paths were installed — with signs alerting drivers to their presence — the number of speeders has reduced to 29% of cars.

  • April 07, 2021 10:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Local 12
    By: WKRC

    You can head down on the farm in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods.

    Crews are building greenhouses on a two-acre plot of land in Camp Washington. The group "Common Orchard Project" is behind this.

    The plot of land will also include an orchard with fruit trees. The aim is to grow fresh food in communities that don't have stores, which are known as food deserts. Food deserts are linked to obesity and poor health.

    Organizers are also planting orchards in other city neighborhoods.

    Watch the video at

  • April 01, 2021 10:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Movers & Makers
    By: Grace Hill

    Winding through public parks, orchards, art walks and iconic landmarks, Cincinnati’s first urban trail loop looks to connect the city through a sustainable and equitable lens.

    As envisioned, The CROWN – Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network – will connect 356,000 residents in 54 communities to a 34mile trail.

    The CROWN is Greater Cincinnati’s first comprehensive trail plan, merging its several partners’ existing and planned trails into a cohesive vision and a shared mission: to provide a means of discovery, connection and wellness to all of Cincinnati.

    Wade Johnston, the director and only employee of Tri-State Trails, has established a coalition of advocates and stakeholders to advance work on the CROWN and has become an essential resource to local governments and nonprofit groups, helping them to “articulate a vision” for the trail, pursue funding, and promote its various sections when built. Tri-State Trails is an initiative of Green Umbrella, a collective impact organization whose goal is to convene partners across sectors to create a “resilient” and “sustainable” region.

    Todd Palmeter, the CEO of Great Parks of Hamilton County, said Cincinnati’s residents have always prioritized trail development, but the events of 2020 put their importance in greater perspective.

    “COVID taught us – even more so – how important trails were in people’s lives, not just for their physical well-being but their mental wellbeing,” Palmeter said.

    Today, in collaboration with TriState Trails, Great Parks is leading an effort to connect the Little Miami Scenic Trail to the existing CROWN loop with the half-mile Beechmont Bridge Connector. The connector is a complex section of trail that will tunnel under the Beechmont Avenue bridge and extend over the Little Miami River, through a “safe, shareduse trail” that is physically separated from the bridge’s traffic and will meet the Armleder Park and Lunken trails on the other side. Construction began in March and is scheduled for completion in 2022.

    But Great Parks’ connection with the CROWN doesn’t end there. Last year, Great Parks built the first leg of a connection stretching west from 50 West Brewing Company toward Mariemont. This year, Mariemont will pick up that project, extending the Murray Path about half a mile.

    All around the city, mile by mile, gaps are closing in the CROWN map.

    And according to Johnston, the CROWN has seen steady progress since 2019, when Tri-State Trails formed a partnership with the Ohio Riverway and Wasson Way nonprofit groups. Previously, Johnston said, the two groups competed for the same resources, but now, united by CROWN, the entities can work together to achieve funding.

    In 2020, Tri-State Trails applied for another federal grant through OKI and secured $3.76 million to complete that western connection and link Wasson Way to Martin Luther King Drive and Reading Road in Avondale, where UC’s Uptown Innovation Corridor will create a development supporting its medical, research and innovation industries.

    The city has also planned and secured funding to extend Central Parkway’s protected bike lanes in what the CROWN refers to as the Canal Bikeway, which will follow the path of the former Miami and Erie Canal from Marshall Avenue to Ludlow Avenue. This progress will likely be seen by 2023.

    In terms of scope, Johnston said these connections would be a “game changer” for the CROWN. As the second largest employment hub in Cincinnati, he said the area around UC would greatly benefit from a safe pathway for bike commuters. And as a community partner of the CROWN project, UC recognizes that benefit.

    “We strive to provide a diversity of different transportation alternatives so that when folks are coming to UC, they have options besides just using a single occupancy car,” said Daniel Hart, UC’s sustainability coordinator.

    And while Johnston does see the trail as a means of recreation and exploration, the CROWN also works to promote transportation equity in an effort to counter “a car-centric culture.”

    “Frankly, it can be difficult to navigate the city if you don’t have access to a car,” Johnston said. So a goal remains to expand the trails into communities that could truly benefit from a safe and accessible mode of transportation.

    “Right now, where many of the trails are located are in our white, affluent communities,” Johnston said. If expanded to our more diverse neighborhoods, the CROWN could provide a means for residents to more easily access groceries or jobs.

    In the case of Avondale, which is classified as a food desert, Johnston said the trail could connect the community to the fresh and healthy food it deserves.

    Though he admits the trail won’t remedy underlying issues, Johnston believes it will help to better connect residents to resources and opportunities outside of their communities.

    And according to Johnston, it’s also a way to repair communities that have been historically devastated by the city’s transportation policies. Johnston refers to the over 25,000 people who lost their homes to the construction of I-75 in the West End, 97 percent of whom were non-white.

    “Through this project, we are trying to undo some of the really terrible negative impacts that the highways had on our city and specifically on the Black community,” Johnston said.

    Johnston believes connecting the CROWN to those communities is an important first step – but one that must be taken with intention and care.

    “There is definitely concern from the Black community in some of these neighborhoods that the trail is going to create gentrification or displacement. So we’re trying to be a step out in front of that in working with these communities and the city to try to really create affordable housing opportunities,” Johnston said. “It’s something we’re really diving into this year with a partnership with the Urban Land Institute in Cincinnati.”

  • April 01, 2021 10:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU
    By: Michael Monks

    At least 18 Greater Cincinnati pedestrians and cyclists were struck and killed by cars in 2020, a toll advocates say is indicative of the need for better safety infrastructure for walkers and bikers.

    Bicycle and pedestrian safety advocates will gather on the Newport Southbank Bridge April 7 to hold a day of remembrance for those lost, and to push for better safety measures to prevent future tragedies. Among those will be a dashboard that will show vital information about pedestrian and cyclist safety.

    Joining Cincinnati Edition to talk about the day of remembrance and bicycle and pedestrian safety in general are Tri-State Trails Director Wade Johnston; Vision Zero NKY's Jody Robinson; and Shawna Rodriguez, whose daughter Gabby Rodriguez was hit and killed by cars in Westwood in 2018.

    Listen at

  • March 31, 2021 10:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: CityBeat
    By: CityBeat staff

    Wasson Way is the area’s most recent railroad-turned-bike-trail. “Right now there’s about 1.5 miles between Madison Road and Montgomery Road,” Tri-State Trails Director Wade Johnston told CityBeat this past summer. “Tri-State Trails helped secure $6 million last year to extend the trail west to Avondale and east through Ault Park to the Murray Trail. Through our #CROWNcincinnati project, we are working to connect this to the Ohio River Trail and Mill Creek Greenway to create a 34-mile trail loop around the city.” The trail will begin construction on the Red Bank Road leg soon. And Great Parks just broke ground on the Beechmont Bridge Connector. The project will allow users to safely travel from the Little Miami Scenic Trail to the Ohio River Trail for the first time. The new connector will link the existing Little Miami Scenic Trail terminus near State Route 32 and Beechmont with the Otto Armleder Memorial Park to Lunken Trail and the future Elstun Road Connector.;

  • March 27, 2021 10:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU
    By: Nick Swartsell

    Getting around uptown just got a little safer and easier for cyclists. City officials, neighborhood groups, and cycling advocates cut the ribbon Saturday on a one-mile stretch of bike lane along Clifton Ave. between the University of Cincinnati and Clifton's business district at Ludlow Ave.

    Tri-State Trails Director Wade Johnston says it's a big deal.

    "This is just the second protected bike lane in Cincinnati," Johnston says. "I interact with a lot of people who enjoy bikes and the feedback I hear overwhelmingly, from the avid cyclist and beginners alike, is that most people don't feel safe riding next to cars ... this is about making bicycling accessible for people of all ages and ability levels."

    The protected lane has both a northbound and southbound side, as well as protective cement parking curbs and plastic bollards to separate cyclists from traffic. Cars will be able to park outside the lane, providing added protection for cyclists.

    "Once we found out this was a safe way to ride bikes and connect these neighborhoods, city council unanimously approved it," and the mayor embraced it, City Council Member Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney said at the ribbon cutting. Kearney helped move the proposal through city hall.

    The area's community councils worked with City Hall to get the bike lane installed in a minimum amount of time. The Devou Good Foundation, which advocates for safer cycling and walking in Greater Cincinnati, funded the lane's $50,000 cost.

    "What this represents is a paradigm shift in how we think about bike infrastructure," Clifton Town Meeting Trustee Mark Jefferys said. "The old way we would do bike infrastructure, we would study it and take a couple years to implement it. This, idea to execution, took six months. Here, we're going to pilot it and welcome feedback so we can optimize the design before we build it permanently."

    For now, the bike lane is just a pilot program that will end August 1. Pending community feedback, the city manager has included $2 million the city's proposed budget to establish it permanently, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said at the ribbon cutting today.

    "This has been a long-term goal of Clifton and CUF to connect this two-way bike track that I think will be hugely popular," Cranley said, noting the lane could eventually connect with nearby bike paths like Wasson Way. "If this neighborhood still likes this idea, in a couple weeks they should tell city council to keep it in the budget."

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