getting where we want to be
EcoCity transportation program manager Ryan McKenzie provides news and commentary on what's happening to improve transportation choices in Northeast Ohio and at state & national levels. Get updates on road policies, transit, bicycling, walking, freight, and other transport-related topics, all viewed from EcoCity's sustainability perspective.
Save the date -- Ohio passenger rail hearing
The Ohio Rail Development Commission has announced plans for a public hearing in Cleveland on its Ohio Hub proposal.
The Ohio Hub is a proposed network of passenger rail lines radiating from Cleveland to Pittsburgh, Toledo and Detroit, and Columbus and Cincinnati. A second tier of routes in the plan would link Columbus with Toledo, Pittsburgh, and Lima and Fort Wayne, Ind., and add a route from Cleveland to Buffalo.
The plan proposes multiple trains each way between endpoints, with top speeds starting at 79 mph and increasing during later phases. The system would connect at its extremes with proposed networks based in Chicago, upstate New York, and Pennsylvania.
Jim Seney, the rail commission's executive director, says that besides reviving rail as a passenger travel option, corridor development would improve freight service in Ohio by expanding and improving track, adding new signal systems, and replacing grade crossings with bridges.
The rail commission has pegged the initial system's cost at $3.4 billion, which Mr. Seney has said might be secured from the federal government using funds Ohio spends to improve railroad-highway grade crossings as a local match.
The Ohio Hub plan will be presented in Cleveland by ORDC officials at NOACA on May 5th, 2005 at 2:30 and 5:30.
BikeTown coming to Cleveland
The editors of Bicycling have selected Cleveland as one of their 20 BikeTown USA markets around the country for 2005, and in the coming months will give away 50 bikes from leading bike manufacturer Giant to any Cleveland-area residents interested in participating in the program.
Beginning in mid-March, any Cleveland-area resident interested in taking part in BikeTown can visit http://www.bicycling.com/biketown and submit a short essay (50 words or less) on what they would do with a free bike. Winning entries will be selected by the editors, and all winners will be asked to keep a journal for three months to chronicle their experiences with their bike. Results for all BikeTown participants may be featured in the magazine following the conclusion of the three-month period.
Bicycling began the BikeTown USA program in Portland, Maine in 2003 and expanded to five cities in 2004. As part of BikeTown, the magazine gives away 50 free bikes in each market to see how a bicycle can change someone's life, and perhaps their community.
In 2004, one-third of the 250 BikeTown participants lost noticeable weight, some more than 30 pounds over a three-month tracking period. On average, participants rode 10 miles per week, mostly for pleasure or exercise. But more than 2 in 5 people rode for transportation purposes, happily trading their car for a bike or, for some, gaining the freedom to travel alone for the first time. In addition to bicycles, all 2004 participants received bike locks, bike shorts, and a helmet.
For more information on BikeTown USA and Bike To Work, visit http://www.bicycling.com/biketown.
Cycling "share the road" license plate available
Ohio "Share the Road" license plates went on sale today. When you renew or purchase new vehicle plates this year, please consider these. You'll show you're a cyclist at heart, spread a safety message, and direct money toward a good use.
Proceeds help assure publication of the excellent booklet, "Ohio Cycling Street Smarts." You may order this special license plate by either going to http://www.oplates.com or by visiting your local deputy registrar's office. At Oplates, click on "SPECIAL PLATES" and you can select from a list.
NOACA TLC applicants list available
A review committee has established a scoring system for evaluating each TLC proposal, and will present its recommendations to NOACA's Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on April 15. The NOACA board will approve funding for the selected projects on May 13, with funds available at the start of fiscal year 2006 on July 1, 2005.
We applaud NOACA and the communities who have submitted great proposals for funding. Unfortunately, fewer than half of these planning studies can be funded in this round.