The cities of Kettering and Centerville are joining efforts to construct the Hewitt Avenue Bikeway Connector. The connector will begin at the Iron Horse Bike Trail and continue eastward along Whipp Road and Hewitt Avenue to cross Bigger Road to tie into an existing trail. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: STAFF PHOTO
Photo: STAFF PHOTO

Kettering, Centerville building Hewitt Avenue Bikeway Connector

Kettering and Centerville are joining efforts to build the Hewitt Avenue Bikeway Connector, which will begin at the Iron Horse Bike Trail and continue east to tie into an existing trail.

MORE: Centerville, Washington Twp. unveils new bike route

Centerville Mayor Brooks Compton said the project will help Centerville and Kettering connect to a larger bicycle network.

“By helping to create bikeway connectors like this one, we are able to capitalize on a great asset in the Miami Valley’s larger bicycle network and ensure our streets contribute to community life and our overall livability,” he said.

Bike Centerville, a chapter of Bike Miami Valley, a grassroots movement that promotes cycling for people of all ages in Centerville and Washington Twp., is happy to see the project being developed, group treasurer Lucy Sanchez said.

“Bike Centerville is very excited to see this infrastructure improvement that will benefit cyclists in the community greatly,” she said. “Since Bike Centerville convened, this was the first identified infrastructure improvement the city committed in their budget.”

The proposed improvements help to connect cyclists from the side path on Bigger Road to the Iron Horse trail on Whipp via Hewitt Avenue.

“As it is now, for northbound cyclists to connect to the Iron Horse Trail via Bigger, they have to cross four lanes of often heavy traffic after the very nice, wide, low-stress, side path they had been taking abruptly ends,” Sanchez said. “Same with cyclists going southbound from Hewitt, as there is only a narrow sidewalk on the West Side of Bigger.”

The proposed plan creates a lower-stress crossing of Bigger Road to and from Hewitt Avenue, she said. After a discussion of the merits of side paths versus bike lane versus sharrows (shared-lane marking), Hewitt Road itself will also become more bike friendly with the implementation of sharrows, which came out as the best improvement that would benefit all road users.

“While an avid road cyclist may not have had trouble with this area of road, these improvements will greatly increase the confidence of an average or family cyclist connecting to the trails,” Sanchez said.

MORE: Kettering works to promote bicycling

Centerville signed a cost participation agreement in 2017 for the project prior to Kettering submitting for Transportation Alternative funds from the Miami Valley Regional Planning Planning Commission.

The project was award TA funds with construction through MVRPC. The actual construction cost estimates have come down from $670,000 to $475,000 as more detailed designs have been completed. Construction is estimated to start in in the spring of 2022 and should take six months.

“Bikeways such as these provide the preferred infrastructure for most bicyclists, who may not feel comfortable riding on arterial streets,” Kettering Assistant City Manager Steve Bergstresser said.

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