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Covington Board of Commissioners vote to partner with Tri-State Trails, Newport on Bike Lanes

Wanting to take a strategic and feasible approach to making Covington more bike friendly, the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted on partnering with the advocacy group Tri-State Trails to create a bicycle transportation plan for Covington and its neighbor, Newport, over the next year.

The proposal was on the Commission’s consent agenda for its 6 p.m. meeting, and all five members of the Commission voiced support for the proposal.

(Photo from City of Covington)

The agreement describes the goal as increasing “bicycling access to businesses and community destinations for people of all ages and abilities and to create a safe, accessible, and connected bicycle network throughout Covington and Newport.”

The work will include:

• Collecting data related to traffic counts, crashes, and other street conditions.

• Identifying City bike user generators and key destinations such as employment centers, schools, retail districts, parks, etc.

• Mapping and inventorying existing and planned bicycle facilities such as trails, bicycle lanes, and bike parking.

• Identifying gaps in the bicycle transportation network and working with City officials to recommend opportunities for on-road bicycling facilities and multi-use trails.

• Collecting public input through community engagement sessions and surveys.

• Creating a prioritized project list that aligns with potential funding sources.

• Preparing a draft action plan to be presented to elected leaders for feedback and adoption.

• Applying for implementation funding for at least one project in June 2023 to the OKI Regional Council of Governments.

• Partnering with an engineering firm to prepare a cost estimate for the project(s).

City Manager Ken Smith said the emphasis will be on creating a strategic plan that is feasible, balances the needs of various constituencies, and fits within the physical reality of Covington’s neighborhoods and business districts.

“Covington would love to have an improved bicycle network,” Smith said. “At the same time, the unflinching reality is that this is a 200-year-old city with narrow streets that cut through the heart of neighborhoods and business districts. We look forward to working with Tri-State Trails to see how together we can overcome the many challenges related to geography, parking, and other issues.”

Covington has taken steps and continues to take more steps to make the city’s streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. The City:

• Spent millions of dollars to create miles of paved hiking and biking trails north to south along the Licking River and east to west along the Ohio River.

• Is working with the state to move forward on plans to slow down traffic on Scott and Greenup by returning to a two-way system on part of those state routes.

• Is working with the state as part of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project to improve bicycle connectivity beneath the interstate on Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Pike, and 12th streets.

• Last year set aside $100,000 to make pending safety improvements for pedestrians and non-motorists near the Licking Valley Girl Scout (12th Street) Bridge. It also signed off on a proposal to allow state transportation officials to create a bike lane on the bridge.

• Is looking at opportunities presented by the redevelopment of the 23-acre former IRS site and the restoration of the street grid there. Related to that effort, the state has committed to putting bike lanes on the Fourth Street bridge between Covington and Newport when it’s rebuilt.

City of Covington

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