Green Umbrella, a nonprofit organization that aims to maximize environmental sustainability throughout the city, is working with the nonprofit advocacy group backing the Wasson Way project to extend a mixed-use trail and bike path from Uptown to Cincinnati’s East Side.
Wasson Way is being built in four main phases. The first, which is already complete, runs from Madison Road to Tamarack Avenue in Hyde Park. Phase two is funded and will continue from Tamarack Avenue to Montgomery Road later this year.
The third phase will connect the trail to Marburg Avenue, and the fourth phase will connect the trail to Ault Park.
Tri-State Trails, an initiative of Green Umbrella, is working to prioritize extending Wasson Way from Montgomery Road and Xavier University to Uptown, said Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails.
Through the Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network (CROWN), Tri-State Trails aims to create a 30-mile trail loop that will link Wasson Way, Ohio River Trail, Mill Creek Greenway and Little Miami Scenic Trail with a network of regional trails and on-road bicycling facilities.
“We have been leading the effort to connect Wasson Way to Uptown and UC in partnership with the Wasson Way nonprofit,” said Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails. “Our CROWN plan identifies an ideal route that would connect to the shared-use path along MLK Drive near the I-71 interchange.”
For students without cars, bicycles can provide an affordable alternative to connect students to the amenities that surround the University of Cincinnati’s main campus. Yet many areas around the university — particularly MLK Drive — are car-dependent, said Johnston.
“Wasson Way will enable students who live east of UC in Hyde Park, Norwood, Oakley and other nearby neighborhoods to have a safe route to ride to school without needing a car,” he said.
“Many other urban campuses around the country are connected with a robust bicycling and transit system to encourage students and faculty to not drive to campus,” said Johnston. “UC must continue investing in making its campus more accessible to bikes if it wants to remain competitive.”
Student can experience the route for themselves at 6 p.m. April 18 in a community bike ride jointly hosted by Tri-State Trails and UC Sustainability. The route will span roughly five miles, beginning at UC and ending where Wasson Way will eventually connect to MLK Drive. Students and community members alike are encouraged to attend.
“Let’s be clear though, one trail along MLK Drive is not going to transform UC into a bicycling hub on its own,” said Johnston. “The trail will be the starting point that encourages more people to ride, and [it] builds momentum for investing in more infrastructure like trails, protected bike lanes, additional bike parking, and more.”