Kettering, Centerville ‘bike-friendy’ status on display during Bike Month

Kettering and Centerville have taken many steps to improve their bike-friendly status, and both cities are touting those improvements during May, which has been proclaimed “National Bike Month.”

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National Bike Month, promoted by the League of American Bicyclists, is celebrated coast-to-coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling and encourage more people to give biking a try.

Kendall Draeger of the Kettering Bike Committee, which consists of volunteers and city staff members, said it has been a challenge this year to promote cycling. But he’s encouraged that residents will attempt to continue to get out and ride their bikes.

“The pandemic has caused this to be an unusual year. Normally, the spring is when our Kettering BPAC (Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee) firms up our plans for bicycling and walking education and encouragement events for the remainder of the year,” Draeger told the Dayton Daily News. “With most events either cancelled or postponed, planning has been difficult. Kettering won’t be holding any organized events in May for Bike Month this year. Instead, we are encouraging residents to explore their neighborhood walking paths and bicycle routes.”

He added that the group has a Walk/Bike Kettering email it uses for sending updates on walking and bicycling activities in Kettering, and more than 250 residents have signed up to receive the emails.

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“We sent a Walk/Bike email last month to encourage everyone to relieve some stay-at-home stress by either walking or bicycling — while maintaining social distancing — on the local walking paths or bicycle routes near their home,” Draeger explained. “The email contained information about how to social distance while walking or bicycling, bicycle traffic safety tips, and links to maps of the local bike routes and walking paths.”

The Kettering City Council is still committed to making the city more bicycle friendly. At the last council meeting, Mayor Don Patterson proclaimed May to be Bike Month in the city to help encourage bicycling to be used for both recreation and as an alternate form of transportation.

More than 340 miles of paved trail connect 10 regional counties. Many of those path users are not only walkers and runners, but families out on their bikes or competitive cyclists. Whether using the trails for recreation or transportation, safety on the paths is a top priority for the city.

“Kettering is fortunate to have two of the regional trails pass through our city,” Draeger said.

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Kettering and Centerville have partnered 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.

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

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.

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