Bike lane project sparks debate, compromises proposed

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Neighborhoods Committee heard arguments concerning a protective bike lane project for Central Parkway on Monday afternoon.

The new street design for Central Parkway is between Elm Street in Over the Rhine and Ludlow Avenue in Clifton. However, there is much debate about the plan.

Supporters of the bike lanes say it expands transportation options and connects neighborhoods in the city.

Those against argue that it will restrict parking outside of businesses, and the lane restrictions will cause traffic congestion. Community outreach and input began for this project more than a year ago, but some residents say they weren't aware this project was a go until it was too late.

The Cincinnati Transportation Committee also unveiled three new options to please all parties involved.

"It is important to do something. You should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We think this is a very workable solution and would help mitigate some of the concerns and some of the issues that are out there," said Michael Moore, Cincinnati Department of Transportation.

The three alternatives presented Monday would require paving on part of a tree-lined park near the 2100 block of Central Parkway between Ravine and Brighton Place.

Option one would preserve five parking spots, but cost taxpayers roughly $40,000.

The second alternative preserves 23 spots, but impacts more than 4,000 square feet of green space totaling $110,000.

"If we go forward spending over $100,000 to accommodate some people who come after the fact there is no win in that for the taxpayer, that is not a good negotiation," said Council Member Wendell Young.

Tim Haines is a business owner who says if this path isn't re-directed, it will have a negative impact.

"It's not just the past development that we've had, it's that future growth that's there that's being dramatically affected," said Tim Haines with Relocation Strategies.

Finally, the option with the most changes preserves 30 parking spots, but impacts nearly 6,000 square feet of greenspace eliminating 18 trees at a cost of $150,000 to tax payers.

"Tomorrow a new lease could be instituted on that street. Do we then put in another $40,000, $110,000 to make an accommodation for the next business?" asks Council member Yvette Simpson.

The Cincinnati Department of Transportation says if one of these alternatives are approved, the parks board willing to work with them.

City Council unanimously approved the project last year, but Mayor Cranley wanted approval from the current council. They're expected to vote on the future of the project on Wednesday.

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