FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Wade Johnston, Regional Trails Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org or 513.541.1538, @TriStateTrails – www.tristatetrails.org
TRI-STATE TRAILS’ ADVOCACY SPURS PROGRESS IN OKI 2040 REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN
Cincinnati, OH – For the first time in recent history, bicyclists and pedestrians have become a priority in the Greater Cincinnati region’s transportation policy. This month, the OKI Regional Council of Governments Board of Directors unanimously approved the 4-year update to their 2040 Regional Transportation Plan. The update includes 17 prioritized bike and pedestrian related projects, worth an estimated $191 million. Previously, the 2040 Plan included only three prioritized bike and pedestrian projects equating approximately $2.5 million. The significant increase was due to a partnership between Green Umbrella’s Tri-State Trails initiative and OKI to elevate bicycle and pedestrian projects in the 2040 Plan, and an incredible request for more bike and pedestrian options during OKI’s public involvement process leading up to the June vote.
“We applaud OKI for their leadership to include the voice of bicyclists and pedestrians in the 2040 Plan update,” said Frank Henson, Chair of Tri-State Trails and President of Queen City Bike. “The tri-state needs a comprehensive active transportation network to remain economically competitive with peer regions.”
Tri-State Trails participated in OKI’s community engagement process for the 2040 Plan by providing a recommendation of prioritized multi-use trails corridors from the Green Umbrella Regional Trails Plan. “We are most appreciative of their assistance and participation in the process to help us identify the most important bike and pedestrian projects in our region,” said Bob Koehler, OKI Deputy Executive Director. “Organizations like Tri-State Trails are great advocates for people using the active transportation system.”
[Bicyclists enjoy riding on the Little Miami Scenic Trail, which was recently extended 3.1 miles in Anderson Township by Great Parks of Hamilton County. A separated pedestrian/bicyclist bridge over the Little Miami River to connect this trail to the Lunken Airport Trail and Otto Armleder Trail is included in the OKI 2040 Plan Final Project List.]
Multi-use trails, on-road biking facilities like protected bike lanes, and sidewalks are a fraction of the costs of highways, and they serve a more inclusive user group, including those that do not have access to a car. “The updated 2040 Plan recognizes the growing demand we are seeing for more walkable and bike-friendly communities,” commented Kristin Weiss, Executive Director at Green Umbrella. “Our region needs more active transportation infrastructure to encourage new users to commute by walking or biking. Collectively, this can have a profound impact on air quality, congestion, and public health.”
“Physical activity is a key factor in a person’s overall health, and having access to a safe, robust trail system enables people to incorporate exercise into their daily routines, said Megan Folkerth, program officer at Interact for Health. “Incorporating the trails system into OKI’s 2040 Plan paves the way for a healthier community for all of us in the future, and will help us make Greater Cincinnati one of the healthiest regions in the country.”
[The Riverfront Commons Trail is Southbank Partners' vision to connect six Northern Kentucky River Cities with a pedestrian/bicyclist trail along the Ohio River. Depicted is the existing trail in Newport. Covington's section of Riverfront Commons is included in the OKI 2040 Plan Final Project List.]
OKI administers some of the largest transportation funding mechanisms available to local governments in the tri-state region. The 2040 Regional Transportation Plan serves as a guiding document in OKI’s project review and scoring process for federal transportation funding and is updated every four years.
About Tri-State Trails
An initiative of Green Umbrella and funded by Interact for Health, Tri-State Trails is a coalition of trail advocates, a physical network of trails, and a vision to connect the Greater Cincinnati region. Our mission is to connect people and places via a regional trails network that promotes vibrant communities through equitable access to active transportation and outdoor recreation.