By Michael Beamish
Over a year ago, the section of Adams Street from Riverside/Staunton to Shaftsbury roads was repaved. When it was finished, the city faced a dilemma: either we stripe it for one driving lane in each direction, which was all that was justified under Ohio’s standards or look at ways to protect the students and parents traveling to Troy Junior High School, as well as the many walkers, joggers and bicyclists who travel that road frequently to get to the nation’s largest continuously paved bike path known as the Great Miami Recreational Trail. Before it was repaved, the only reason there were four lanes was because the two outer lanes were considered parking lanes — which were only used during the Troy Strawberry Festival events, when that festival was solely on the levee.
To help traffic at the junior high and to create safe routes for our walkers, joggers and bicyclists, we decided to add bike lanes, which allowed us to also add a third vehicle lane in traveling north so that parents could safely turn into the junior high school. By doing so, we have also been able to connect Archer Park, Community Park, Duke Park and the Great Miami River Bikeway recreational trail for bicyclists, joggers and walkers. Contrary to what some may think, that lane is consistently used by young and old individuals and families throughout the year.
In the next few weeks and months, our residents will (finally) see how the Adams Street bike lanes will further connect to other recreational trails to make Troy safer for our bicyclists, joggers and walkers. Safe access for all of our travelers, whether they are in a vehicle, on a bicycle, or on foot, has always has been a huge priority for me as mayor of Troy. Our status as a bronze medal level bike friendly community is not about awards but is our way of saying that we care about ALL of our travelers, not just those in vehicles.
Later this year, with council’s authorization, we will begin phase 2 of the North Market Street Reconstruction Project. That project will rebuild and refine the section of North Market Street from Foss Way north to Stoneyridge Drive, including adding bike lanes. Hopefully, critics of the Adams Street bike lane will see that this lane will not only connect our parks but will also create a loop along Foss Way, Market Street, Staunton Road, and back to Adams Street. This will create connections to and from the Troy High School, Troy Junior High School, Troy Aquatic Park, Hobart Arena, the North Market Street ballfields, Downtown, Community Park, Duke Park, and Archer Park.
Troy’s reputation as a forward thinking leader in the region is only enhanced by providing safe access to all of our visitors, businesses, and residents. The community-driven Downtown Riverfront Strategic Plan, which can be read online at http://www.troyohio.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1367, is not a city government initiative, but one that a diverse group of community leaders cared enough to invest their time and money in looking at ways the community can continue to grow in stature and inclusiveness.
It is truly visionary in planning for a future in Troy that would further that positive reputation. I encourage everyone to read that plan and know that change for change sake is not always good, but change for a better Troy is always best for our wonderful community.
Michael Beamish is the mayor of the city of Troy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org