DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With the help of local, state and federal funding, new bike lanes have been added to downtown Dayton to create a safer experience for cyclists to enjoy the city.
Chris Buck, business development manager for Bike Miami Valley, said by increasing comfort for bikers, he expects to see a shift in the number of people riding downtown.
“Just seeing it and realizing that there’s a place for them to ride, I think will help encourage a lot more people to get on bikes and try riding through downtown,” he said.
Communications coordinator with the Downtown Dayton Partnership, Allison Swanson, said the new, protected lanes will “enhance the pedestrian and cycling safety of downtown Dayton” by giving bikers their own space on the road while creating a buffer between cyclists and traffic. But promoting safety, she said, will require a commitment from downtown drivers.
“I know it’s going to be a learning curve, and hopefully over time, as we get over that learning curve and as more of these protected bike lanes are spread throughout downtown Dayton, it’ll become more natural to us.”
She said more of the bike lanes will appear over the coming months and years, but so far, the adjustment has been a challenge, with drivers taking up space in both the bike lane and in designated parking spaces, which are no longer situated next to the curb.
“Don’t double park,” she said. “That’s something we’ve seen the past few weekends, as the Levitt has kicked off and more and more is happening downtown. Just be aware that there is not one circumstance in downtown Dayton where you can double park, so don’t do that on the street.”
However, when the lanes are used appropriately, they are expected to not only enhance safety, but offer an extension to Dayton’s more than 60-mile bike paths and promote economic growth among downtown businesses.
“Dayton is a bicycle-friendly city as recognized by the League of American bicyclists, so it is actually a pretty great place to ride,” said Buck. We do have the paved-trail network that surrounds the city, which is very helpful [for] getting people around the outside of downtown, but going through the middle of downtown [will be] a pretty easy way to go.”
Swanson added, “Whether it’s people from outside of our community who are coming to Dayton to do that network of paved trails, or even thinking about as office workers return, cycling to your office is a big thing. If you live here downtown, it’s a quick cycle over to your office. So there’s many layers that really drive having these bicycle lanes and safe ways for us to have those multimodal transportation options here in Dayton.”
Swanson said the first bicycle lane installed downtown was completed this spring and stretches from the corner of Fifth and Jefferson and ends at the Riverscape. She added, the bike lanes are open for public use and those who don’t have a bike can still enjoy a ride downtown through Dayton’s bike sharing service.
To learn more about biking in Dayton, click here.