Oregon council on Monday will consider a resolution supporting the establishment of a U.S. numbered bicycle route in Northwest Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has established a goal to designate a signed network of U.S. and state bicycle routes that will accommodate long distance cycling and also serve as a backbone for local connections. The proposed routes follow the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials national initiative. To date, over 11,000 miles have been designated nationally across 23 states.
“The state and the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) are working together to make sure we have an appropriately designated bike route across Northern Ohio,”
said City Administrator Mike Beazley at a committee of the whole meeting last week.
“They are looking for a couple of paths. And they’ve asked the city to adopt a resolution consistent with the path outlined in the state proposal,” he said.
Although the city has several bike trails, the designation would not have any effect on them, said Beazley. In fact, the designated routes are along roadways, not actual bike trails.
“This would simply put some signage on the route. This doesn’t really connect specifically to additional bike lanes. But long term, there might be some funding opportunities…for an additional bike lane if it happens to be on a designated route. So this is a step we’re following up on as requested by TMACOG.”
Known as U.S. Bike Route 30 as it goes from west to east, the route connects Montana to Massachusetts. More locally, it links Detroit, Toledo, and Cleveland. Much of the route in North Central Ohio is along the North Coast Inland Trail. A scenic alternative follows the shore of Lake Erie and passes through Sandusky and Lorain before rejoining 30 just west of Cleveland.
In the TMACOG planning region, U.S. Bike Route 30 branches off at the Craig Memorial Bridge in Toledo to cross the Maumee River, then heads west on Front St. to Dearborn Ave., then southeast on Dearborn to S. Ravine Parkway Dr., then east on S. Ravine Parkway Dr. until it becomes Seaman Rd. in Oregon. Then it goes south on Wheeling St. to Brown Rd., west on Brown Rd. to Reswick Dr., south on Reswick Dr. to south on Drouillard Rd., then south on Drouillard Rd. crossing into Northwood, then south into the Village of Walbridge where Drouillard becomes Main St., then continuing south to Ayers Rd. in Lake Township, east on Ayers Rd. to Bradner Rd. at the edge of Millbury. Then it goes south on Bradner to Latcha Rd., east on Latcha Rd. to Fostoria Rd., north on Fostoria Rd. to Hellwig Rd. in Ottawa County, east on Hellwig Rd. to State Route 51 towards Genoa.
State connected route
“Why couldn’t we have one of these designations out to our parks – Pearson Metropark, and Maumee Bay State Park?” Councilwoman Sandy Bihn asked Beazley at the meeting.
“This is different than our internal bike routes,” he said. “This is about a specific cross state bike path. Some places, to get across the state, will end up going further south than right along the coast in many cases, and that’s why they have chosen this route. It’s a state connected route, which is the purpose of it.”
Bihn questioned how the routes were determined.
“It would seem to me that if a biker is going from Point A to Point B, as you would in a car, I would understand that. But we have a robust bike path system here that goes through parks and is really wonderful. These end up being on maps, and could become places where people would want to go. And if they see that they’re going through a metropark and state park, the likelihood they might come to our community and take trips through here, I would think, would increase. I don’t know if we have any control over how these paths are determined but it’s kind of disappointing that it doesn’t go through parks,” she said.
“It’s the same way that state routes are following roads,” he said. “One, for instance, is on Bancroft Street, which almost directly parallels the University Park Trail that goes through Wildwood [Preserve Metropark] and the university – it’s a perfect path to be on. Instead they have them directed on Bancroft Street.”
Oregon is currently working on marketing its own bike trail system through its website and brochures, he said.
“We are going to make sure we link to these paths as we market our trail,” he said. “We’ll see if we can have some signage off of it. It’s a much more pleasant bicycling experience on our paths and on our designated bike lanes.”
Beazley, a devoted cyclist, said routes don’t align close to the lake because the water is an obstacle, which presents a challenge.
“As a person who has biked from Toledo to Cleveland, you have to go as far south as Fremont to get around Sandusky Bay. There are no paths, for a cyclist, to cross the bay. On Route 2, a bike can’t cross the bay, on the turnpike you can’t cross the bay because you can’t cross that water. So that’s among the reasons the route is shaped that way – it brings you further south,” he said.