Groups working toward more bike paths, trails in Oxford

Efforts to increase the number of dedicated bike paths and lanes as well as expanding the area’s recreational trails were all discussed during a recent forum on providing more facilities for physical activity in the city.

About 65 people gathered Feb. 9 for the event billed as “Let’s Get Rolling.” Jessica Greene, director of the Oxford Visitors Bureau, coordinated the meeting, with speakers from various organizations talking briefly about their efforts.

Vincent Cirrito, a landscape architect at Miami University, spoke about the university’s efforts to increase its number of shared sidewalks, bike lanes and dedicated paths. He also discussed research Miami is conducting about all means of transportation, including taking a 3-D view by studying elevation levels and hills.

Miami began a master circulation plan in 2011 to look at all forms of transportation including bicycles, pedestrians, buses and parking with the idea that all are connected, Cirrito said

“We looked at the community as a whole with a focus down on the campus,” he said. “We looked at bike sharing on campus and we looked at slopes. To look three-dimensionally, we looked at hills, which may deter some folks.”

That study led to widening of sidewalks on Patterson Avenue and Spring Street to better accommodate bicycles, although it did reduce some parking.

The city extended that effort with a bike lane to College Avenue and an emphasis on safety with visual reminders to drivers that bikes may also be on the roads.

Cirrito also discussed the possibility of a new bike share or bike rental program on campus.

David Prytherch, a Miami University associate professor of geology and chair of the Oxford Planning Commission, discussed the need to include cyclists and pedestrians in transportation planning. He also touched on how to gain access to the future recreational trail that is being built and having the ability to walk or cycle to work.

“(Miami’s changes) led to a planning commission recommendation to City Council of a corridor safety plan,” Prytherch said, adding that the city agreed with the university changes to Spring Street but that he would like to see that effort extended to other streets.

“What about Locust Street? What would it look like? (Campus) bike racks are full. There are lots of bikes on campus,” he said.

Sam Perry, planner for the city of Oxford, took the discussion off-road and spoke about the Oxford Area Trail System, a new recreational trail that will be built in the city. He shared the new trail map and provided photos of highlights along the trail.

The OATS would eventually provide a loop around Oxford for walkers and bicyclists to move around off the roads.

The first part of the trail stretches from the Black Covered Bridge on Morning Sun Road to the DeWitt Cabin on Miami University property near Ohio 73. He said Council has allocated $30,000 to update the study and cost estimates for another five-mile portion of that loop.

Wade Johnston, of Tri-State Trails, took the discussion even farther off-road speaking about the group’s Green Umbrella efforts to expand and connect hiking trails around the region.

He cited studies that have shown economic benefits around such trails as hikers take the opportunity to stop at nearby businesses. Local trails also increase property values, he said.

“Look at the downtown Cincinnati loop. It has been found to have a three-to-one return on the expense (of creating it),” Johnston said.

The area served by Tri-State Trails includes Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties in Ohio; Franklin and Dearborn counties in Indiana; and Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties in Kentucky.

Volunteers needed for June cycling events

The forum, organized originally to look at bicycle usage, also brought calls for volunteers when national and regional cycling events come through Oxford in June.

The cross-country Ride Across America will again have a timing station set up at South Locust Street and Wells Mill Drive in the TJMaxx parking lot. While the riders may only stop for a few minutes, their team members are often in town longer, providing an opportunity for locals to meet participants, many of whom are from other countries.

Lisa Brunckhorst, a rider in last year’s Ride Across America, is seeking volunteers for this year’s Ride Across America with the goal of having people at the Oxford timing station 24 hours a day from June 20-24.

Ride Across America, which has been in operation for 33 years, usually includes as many as 40 teams each with 30 to 40 riders racing from California to Maryland. Oxford has been one of 55 timing stations in the race for the past half-dozen years, according to Brunckhorst.

“We need volunteers. We have one of the most famous timing stations in the United States,” Brunckhorst said. “It is one of about five or six that are manned 24 hours a day.”

Another cycling event will see Oxford playing host in June.

The annual Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure is an eight-day circular bike tour through portions of Ohio. About 2,000 cyclists take part each year, riding 50 miles each day with a one-day layover. The event will take place June 18-25 and will be in the local area June 20-22.

This year, that one-day layover will be in Oxford, with cyclists pitching tents on the front lawn of Millett Hall. The event last came through Oxford in 1998, according to Greene.

“It’s a great family event of recreational riding,” she said, adding that volunteers will be needed to help with set up, clean up, first aid, entertainment and staffing a visitors information booth.

With the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure overlapping with Ride Across America, organizers said they hope some of those riders will stop at the Ride Across America timing station to encourage the other racers as they come through the city.

For more information about the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure, visit

For more information about Race Across America,

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