Provide input on the Connect Columbus Transportation Plan. Don’t Be shy!

ConnectColumbusThe City of Columbus is gathering input from residents, businesses and other stakeholders for the creation of Connect Columbus, a long-range multimodal transportation plan that will serve as a guide for future construction on City streets.

“Yay Bikes is delighted to be a member of the Community Advisory Group for this plan,” said Catherine Girves, Executive Director of Yay Bikes!. “We fully support the focus on enhancing equitable, healthy, and sustainable transportation between the places people live, work, and play in and around the City of Columbus”

The plan will emphasize improved safety and reduced congestion, and will promote economic development and a healthier, greener city that will continue to be competitive, attracting residents, employers and visitors.

 “We must invest in streets that are safer for pedestrians and bicycles and embrace other alternatives to individual cars,” said Mayor Michael B. Coleman.  “Everyone has a role in this process to help keep Columbus growing and one of the most vibrant cities in the nation for generations to come.”

 A series of open houses, workshops and community events will be held, focusing on three themes:  Vision and Goals; Generating New Project Ideas; and Evaluation of Projects.  Residents will be asked to comment on projects, community goals and policies relating to public transit, driving, cycling and walking in Columbus.  The schedule for the first meetings on the plan’s Vision and Goals include:

·         March 31,  6–8 pm at Christ Memorial Baptist Church, 3330 East Livingston Ave

·         April 1,  10am–2pm and 6-8pm at Columbus Urban League, 788 Mount Vernon Ave

·         April 2, 2015:  6–8pm at Downtown High School, 364 South 4th Street

Additional public meetings will be scheduled in the future.  Public comment will be incorporated in the Connect Columbus final plan which will produce policies, guidelines and plans that will help define, prioritize, and guide Columbus to implementing realistic goals and projects.  The plan will influence how local transportation dollars are invested in transit, pedestrian, bicycle, and roadway infrastructure.  The Connect Columbus planning process will also complement COTA’s Next Generation plan and MORPC’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

 “Connect Columbus represents the next best step in planning for a city that will add 500,000 by the year 2050,” said Councilmember Shannon G. Hardin, chair of the Public Service and Transportation Committee. “By working together to assess our diverse transportation needs, we will ensure a plan that is both sustainable and attractive to all of our community’s stakeholders.”

 The Connect Columbus planning process will be a two-year effort.  Residents are encouraged to visit an online forum to comment and for current information about Connect Columbus.

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*!@#%ing pot hole! But wait, Columbus to the rescue

Columbus will begin a three -week-long intensified pothole repair program on March 22. During this period, the city’s goal will be to patch every reported pothole within three dry-weather days. From March 22 through March 28, street maintenance crews will fill potholes 24 hours a day, seven days a week, weather permitting. From March 29 through April 19, crews will work from 7:30 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday, with an additional overnight shift Sundays through Wednesdays. There are typically six to 10 crews per shift and four to six equipment operators on each crew. Potholes cannot be repaired during snow, ice or rain events.

During the intensified pothole repair effort, residents may report potholes through Facebook at Columbus Public Service or Twitter @ColumbusDPS, in addition to the customary 311 Customer Service Center which can be reached at 614-645-3111, or online at www.311.columbus.gov or by using the MyColumbus Mobile App. Residents are asked to include the location of the pothole by referencing:

·         The name of the street where the pothole is located;

·         The address of a home or business closest to the pothole;

·         The direction of travel (northbound, southbound, eastbound, westbound) where                the pothole is located;

·         The lane in which the pothole is located if it is a multi-lane street.

 The city will continue to repair potholes beyond April 19. Residents are encouraged to report potholes throughout the year by contacting 311 at 645-3111, or online at www.311.columbus.gov or by using the MyColumbus Mobile App.

STAND up with Yay Bikes! for Transportation

Yay Bikes! is delighted to stand with The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), Ohio Public Transit Association, Mid Ohio Regional Planning  Commission, Franklin County Commissioners, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, Women’s Transportation Seminar (Columbus), Transit Columbus, Yay Bikes!, and other transportation supporters across the country who are hosting events in honor of National Transportation Infrastructure Day on April 9, 2015.

We stand together in advocating for equitable distribution of resources for sustainable transportation. Events around the nation will highlight and strongly advocate on behalf of a long-term, sustainable and reliable federal transportation funding bill. The extension of the current transportation funding bill, known as MAP-21, expires on May 31, 2015.

The Central Ohio event will bring together municipal, county, regional and state government leaders, transportation professionals and advocates, trade groups, contractors, business and community leaders.

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Year of Yay! February, a real winter wonderland

YayBikes_FebWheel You Be My Valentine?  The forecast did not answer that question with certainty,  predicting frigid temperatures, snow and 40 mile-per-hour winds.  Despite this, the question was answered by an astounding 43 riders who showed up at Whole Foods on February 14, 2015.  What they did not know was that the ride leaders, Jennifer Cowley and Kathleen Koechlin, along with other Yay Bikes! members spent the previous week, evening and early morning working to determine the best course for a safe, successful and fun ride, given the weather.

At 10 am, the weather was mild and promising and after announcements by our fearless Yay Bikes! Executive Director, Catherine Girves, and an explanation of the ride by Jennifer Cowley, we headed out towards The Ohio State YayBikes_FebOSU2University (OSU). We wove through the streets of Upper Arlington to pick up a trail off of Guilford and North Star that led us to campus and the OSU Ornamental Pant Germplasm Center.  Dr. Pablo Jourdan met us there to share his passion for the genetic YayBikes_FebOSU3diversity of floriculture. The best explanation of what is done here is on the Center’s website which states, “Our mission is to conserve genetically-YayBikes_FebOSU4diverse herbaceous plant germplasm and associated information, conduct germplasm-related research, and encourage the use of germplasm and associated information for research, crop improvement and product development. Our goals are to acquire, document, maintain, characterize and distribute herbaceous ornamental genetic resources and osu2associated information for conservation, and to enhance scientific research as well as the floriculture and nursery industry.” Dr. Jourdan also gave us a tour the greenhouses. It was interesting, educational, warm experience and offered our first gift of Valentine’s Day…..flowers!

While the weather was holding  we decided to continue towards our secondGarden 1 YayBikes_FebMuralstop. We rode through campus, via Hunter Ave and through Victorian Village where Third Ave took us east to the Short North, and The Garden.  After all, why not lingerie on Valentine’s Day? The Garden is an adult emporium with two levels. The first floor features shoes, boots, stockings, lingerie and costumes. For those seeking a more adult Valentine adventure, the basement level had everything you could need. It was all presented in a respectful way. The staff was friendly and informative, YayBikes_FebMural2and the atmosphere was comfortable and inviting. The best part about this stop (okay, maybe not the BEST) was that, as someone on the ride posted on Facebook, “43 bikes fit easily in the space that would be used by a few cars.” We parked bicycles along a beautiful mural and the photo opportunity was amazing!  It was a beautiful photo opportunity embellished by the heavy snowfall as we left.

Leaving The Garden was where the true adventure began. Snow began to fall with enthusiasmYayBikes_FebNapoleon, and visibility diminished. We found ourselves in a serious white out!  We decided to skip our 3rd stop, the chocolate shop (not to worry…there was chocolate later…stay tuned), so onward to our 4th stop which  was on the way back to Whole Foods. This part of the ride was amazing in so many ways. The snow was coming down in big, beautiful flakes and the gusting, 40 mph westerly blew the snow sideways fogging our glasses and goggles.  A number riders had never ridden in these conditions before, so there was a feeling of uncertainty along with exhilaration and pride.  It served to remind us of the hardships those who have no other form of transportation endure.  Caution was exercised and we looked out for one another.  As John PC later wrote, “What’s interesting to me is that during the worst of the storm, enroute 1everyone was going about the same speed due to visibility and the condition of the road. For those few minutes, I felt safer and less worried about being rear-ended than I did during other parts of the ride.”

We soon arrived in intact at Weidinger Jewelers and the French Loaf (photo credit: Kathleen O’Dowd) on Grandview’s  Fifth Ave. Weidinger Jewelers is the shop of WilliamKathleen O'Dowd A. Weidinger, who has designed and created original jewelry for over 40 years. His shop has 24 showcases highlighting his designs with platinum, gold, and gemstones.  There were beautiful gifts for a well healed Valentine! While some riders perused the many elegant jewelry pieces on display, others went into the neighboring French Loaf to warm up with hot coffee. Some refueled with delicious baked goods; some of which were Valentine themed! We returned outside to find our bikes covered in new snow, and the visibility and the road conditions were getting even more bleak. The wind had picked up, and at times was a challenge to stay upright!  Again YayBikes_FebSnowCoveredBikesthe route was altered as we moved off 5th Ave as soon as possible. We chose to head north on the lesser traveled North Star and wound back through Upper Arlington.  No riders were left behind. In fact, even more camaraderie was displayed during this last leg.  The cross wind was relentless and a couple of first-time Year of Yay! riders chose to walk their bicycles. Several seasoned Year of Yay! riders dismounted and walked alongside them to be assure they felt comfortable and made it back safely.

K. Koechlin, ride leader and article author in black
K. Koechlin, ride leader and article author in black

Back at Whole Foods, we became prideful. Many of us had successfully negotiated our first snowstorm, but the day still promised surprise. Because the forecast was so uncertain and stops might have to be abandoned, the leaders provided a drawing for items representing each stop. There was chocolate for all (Dove dark chocolate hearts wrapped in red wrappers).  names were drawn for items representingwhoe foold The Garden and Weidinger Jewelers. These token items made for whole foods 3a lot of laughter and fun. Many stayed to enjoy a cold beverage or two and a meal. The bond had been set as we all felt stronger for having weathered the weather through a significant storm together. In fact, there are aspects of this ride that will forever connect us – suffice it to say that sometimes what happens on Year of Yay! stays on Year of Yay!. Jeff Gove summed the ride up perfectly in his post. “For me, Saturday’s ride was a tribute to everyone’s common sense, concern for their own safety10991427_10205843679350331_1454315075789946722_n and those around them, awareness of weather conditions and all vehicles, etc. The fact that it sprang up on everyone and we banded together so well and so naturally proves that motorists and cyclists can co-exist, should co-exist and need to for the health of our community.”  It was a total winter blast.

 

 

 

 

Earn a Bike 3.0 @ Great Western Academy

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Gladden House youth touring the West Side in 2014’s Earn a Bike Program

With generous funding from the Coca Cola Foundation through the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Ohio regional office, this spring we’re partnering with Imagine Schools Great Western Academy to deliver our third round of our Earn a Bike programming to 20 youth. During the program, kids will participate in 8 hours of mechanical education and 8 hours of safe cycling education, plus complete a bicycle-related community service project. If they complete the program, they’ll take home a new bike, plus a helmet, lock and other accessories.

Final report from 2014:

Yay Bikes! and Franklinton Cycle Works partnered with Gladden Community House on the city’s West Side to offer their youth a 2-week Earn a Bike program. During the program’s first week, participants learned basic bicycle mechanics and maintenance over 8 hours at Franklinton Cycle Works; in the second week they rode for 8 hours with Yay Bikes! to learn trail and road safety. On the final day of the program they shared what they’d learned with their peers by staffing a bike rodeo at Avondale Middle School. Ten children aged 8–14 began the program and 9 (3 girls and 6 boys) completed it to earn their bicycles and accessories.  Continue reading

Out & About with Yay Bikes! : February 2015

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Selfies Snapshots with Catherine”, Michelle May (Safety Program Manager, ODOT), Jolene Molitoris (Former Director, ODOT) and Joy Lanham (President, WTS Columbus) edition

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Behold, February:

Feb 2 = Columbus Underground article: “Protected Bike Lane on Summit Just the Beginning, Says City & Cycling Advocacy”

Feb 2 = Columbus Dispatch article: “Transportation Insider: New markings to guide 4th Street cyclists”

Feb 3 & 25 = Yay Bikes! Member Champions Night (link to March’s event)

Feb 5 = Annual Meeting of WTS Columbus (Women’s Transportation Seminar)

Feb 12 = Regular meeting of Mayor Coleman’s Green Team, on which Catherine serves

Feb 12 = Meeting of the CoGo Planning Team, on which Catherine serves, to strategize with the new Motivate CEO, Jay Walder

Feb 12 = Buckeye News Now video: “Bike lanes to be added off campus” (story @ 5:31–7:29)

Feb 13 = Meeting with Julie Walcoff of ODOT to plan for the National Safe Routes to School Conference in 2016 and other potential partnerships

Feb 16 = Meeting with Stuart Hunter, founder of roll:, to discuss Business Membership

Feb 18 = Regular board meeting of Downtown Residents Association of Columbus, at which Catherine was elected to the Board of Directors

Feb 20 = Meeting of City of Columbus engineers and project consultants to discuss proposed changes to 3rd/Summit & 4th Street designs

Feb 22 = Inaugural planning meeting for 2015’s Ride of Silence

Feb 25 = Inaugural meeting of the Bike to Work Day Planning Group, on which Catherine & Meredith serve

Feb 25 = Regular meeting of the Bicycle Subcommittee of the Transportation & Pedestrian Commission, on which Catherine serves

Feb 26 = Meeting with Abby Rhodebeck, Outdoor Programs and Outreach Market Coordinator for REI to discuss Bike the Cbus sponsorship

Feb 27 = People for Bikes blog post: “Boston, Columbus, Detroit, Indy, Minneapolis, Houston, Denver & Seattle all Unveil Protected Lanes”

safe routes to schools

2016 Safe Routes to School National Conference coming to Columbus

Hot flash from the Columbus City Council:  “The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the National Center for Safe Routes to School are pleased to announce that the fifth Safe Routes to School National Conference will be held in Columbus, Ohio. The event, sponsored by these two national organizations and hosted by MORPC will take place April 5-7, 2016 at the Hilton Columbus Downtown.”      Read the entire press release here.

Riding north on 4th Street, and approaching I 670? We have good news for you!

“Drivers and bicyclists who use 4th Street leaving Downtown likely are familiar with what some have called a head-scratching conflict point for commuters.

planning“Just before the entrance ramp for westbound I-670 on the left of the street, the dedicated bike lane crosses a lane of vehicle traffic that is merging left to enter the ramp.

“Both lanes are set up for continuous flow, and there is no clear instruction on which lane should yield. Yay Bikes Executive Director Catherine Girves calls it the “teleport zone. The city, though, is planning a fix”…Get it here!