Bikers on the western end of Riverfront Commons along the Ohio River in Covington. (Photo provided by Tri-State Trails)
Open houses in Covington, Newport to present first look at progress to date on joint plan
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Today is National Bike to Work Day.)
COVINGTON, Ky. – The ongoing effort to make it safer and easier for individuals to travel by bicycle around Northern Kentucky’s urban core – for fun or to commute – is ready for the next step: public engagement.
An open house will be held May 31 in Covington to collect both the experiences of bicyclists and the public’s feedback on the first-blush rendition of a long-range infrastructure plan being put together by the cities of Covington and Newport with bike advocacy organization Tri-State Trails. A second open house will be held June 6 in Newport.
“We’ve been working with Tri-State Trails and others for a few months now, and we’re ready to show where we are so far,” said Andrew Wilhoite, director of special projects and intergovernmental affairs for Covington. “As an older city with narrow streets and a high demand for parking in a vibrant urban core, we face obvious challenges when it comes to improving bike infrastructure, but we believe there are steps we can take to move closer to our goal.”
“Building a safe, connected bikeway network will take time and outside resources,” Tri-State Trails Executive Director Wade Johnston said. “The goal of the Bicycle Transportation Plan is to lay out a roadmap for how each City can prioritize strategic investments in bicycling infrastructure in the short and long term. Obtaining input from the public at this early stage in the plan is critical in shaping the final product.”
“The City of Newport is pleased to partner with Covington and Tri-State Trails to develop a workable bike plan for both cities,” Newport City Manager Tom Fromme said. “With the involvement of many enthusiastic people, the final results will definitely be outstanding.”
About the sessions:
When/where: The event in Covington will be held 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., May 31, at Latonia Elementary, 3901 Huntington Ave. The event in Newport will be held 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., June 6, at the Newport City Building, 998 Monmouth St.
Format: Both sessions will be an open house format, meaning you can show up at any time and can stay as long as you like. Brief presentations will be given at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at each event. Maps and educational materials will be set up for attendees to peruse. Staff will be available to answer questions and collect feedback.
Surveys: Paper surveys will be available at each event for attendees to fill out, and an electronic survey will be posted online starting May 31.
More information can be obtained at Tri-State Trails’ Covington & Newport Bike Plan page.
The Cities and Tri-State Trails signed an agreement earlier this year to come up with a formal yet feasible long-range bike infrastructure plan that would make Northern Kentucky’s largest river cities more bike friendly. (See “Bicycle infrastructure plan on consent agenda.”)
Since then, officials have been meeting to lay out the scope of the plan, study traffic and accident data, and discuss priorities.
Simultaneously and separately, City officials from Covington have been meeting with officials from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to pursue long-term changes to a major east-west state route that leads from the Licking River bridge into Newport through downtown to the Brent Spence Bridge: “State, City’s vision for 4th Street: More friendly to bikes, pedestrians.”
Amid those high-level discussions, Johnston said Tri-State Trails is hoping to hear three things from the general public at the open houses and through the survey:
- Feedback on high-level recommendations for the best roadways to implement a connected network of bike routes in Covington and Newport.
- Bicyclists’ current habits – as in how often they ride, where, when, and why – and their comfort level in doing so.
- Priorities from the public for where investment in bicycling facilities are most needed.
Johnston said the open houses will also serve as an educational opportunity to talk about the different types of bike infrastructure, which can include shared-use paths (such as the Riverfront Commons, Licking River Greenway & Trail, and Purple People Bridge), protected bike lanes, conventional striped bike lanes (like Ky. 9), and “bike boulevards,” or streets with low traffic volumes and speeds, designed with traffic-calming measures and signage to prioritize bicyclists.
“We appreciate working with the cities to get a plan on the books that will help guide future investments in the region’s bikeway network,” Johnston said.
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