An effort is underway to mark area bike trails in a similar way that interstate and state routes are identified.
There are currently 11,000 miles of officially designated bike routes throughout 24 states, including Ohio, according to Tony Dorsey of the American Association of State and Transportation Officials.
A network of U.S. and state bike routes would help local economies by creating tourism opportunities and improve the health of residents by making it easier for people to bicycle, Dorsey said.
“This is a growing phenomenon for many people across America and the world,” he said. “It also helps local economies and promotes economic development in local communities.”
The Ohio Department of Transportation’s Districts 7 and 8, which includes Butler County, are working with local jurisdictions to designate seven possible U.S. and state bike routes.
Many of these bike routes are already established, but this would provide a numerical designation for each of the bike paths, according to Brian Cunningham, ODOT District 8 spokesman.
“This is to give these trails more publicity and to raise more public awareness,” he said. “There are no construction dollars attached.”
Once a bike route is designated, ODOT would provide the initial signage to mark the routes.
Monroe City Council will consider a resolution of support at its meeting Tuesday.
At a recent ODOT presentation, it was noted that cycling contributes $133 billion to the U.S. economy and supports 1.1 million jobs across the nation producing $53.1 billion a year in retail sales and services. In addition, cycling also generates $17.7 billion a year in local, state and federal income and sales taxes.
ODOT also said that bike infrastructure projects are labor intensive, resulting in more jobs than roadway projects that are more materials intensive.
Two other regional bike routes, both about 75 miles long, are being proposed to be designated among the four future U.S. Bike Routes in Ohio and would link states and metropolitan areas:
- The Great Miami River Recreation Trail that goes through Butler County would become U.S. Bike Route 25. It is envisioned that it would link Louisville, Ky. and follow through to Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo to Detroit, Mich.
- The Little Miami River Scenic Bike Trail that goes through Warren County would become U.S. Bike Route 21, which would link Louisville and link with Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.
In addition, there are five other smaller bike routes in both ODOT districts that would be designated and numbered as state bike routes.