A planned biking/walking path on the West Side has proposed funding for phase one
A plan to connect a few bike trails on Cincinnati's west side just got a major boost. Mayor Aftab Pureval announced funding to design a path to connect Dunham Recreation Center in Westwood with Rapid Run Park in Price Hill and Lick Run Greenway in South Fairmont.
Pureval says construction is still a few years away and will cost millions.
"This initial investment of $400,000 is just the spark that I fully believe will inspire all the rest of our stakeholders to make this a priority and make this a reality," Pureval said.
The proposed money would come from last year's American Rescue Plan federal stimulus and requires council approval. It would fund community engagement and a design plan for the bike path. That first step could take up to a year.
"We know where we're going to go, but we don't know exactly how we're going to get there," said Council Member Jeff Cramerding. "Some of the gaps are very short, but they're still going to be difficult to close those gaps. That's the reason we've not done that yet."
Construction could be funded by state and federal grants, including the federal infrastructure law.
Combined with the eventual replacement to the Western Hills Viaduct, the new bike path would create a route from Westwood to Downtown.
"We are so close to linking the West Side to the urban core," Cramerding said.
The project dates back to early 2020, when Council passed a motion asking city administration to study the area and propose ways to connect community assets. Several public meetings in late 2020 concluded with a list of recommendations.
Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails, says existing paths all over the city are mostly non-contiguous.
"Now we've got all these little pieces all over the place, and we're really pushing on connecting them to form a network," Johnston said.
Officials are also updating the city's overall Bike Plan; public surveys all this year will ask residents where they want to see new bike lanes.