Trail Talk - Fall 2013

As you can see, above, there is still good reason to be out on the Miami Valley Trails in autumn.  And there is good reason to keep up with Trail Talk on Miami Valley Bike Trails. In this edition we have news about the 2013 Trail User Survey that was conducted in August, Clean Ohio Trails grant awards in the Miami Valley, and repaving projects that are keeping the Miami Valley System in top condition. You'll read about developments along the Great Miami River Trail in Miami County - mileage markers and construction on the Robert Shook Bridge. We also return to our occasional series and explore "Troy by Bike." Enjoy!

Miami Valley Trail User Survey

In August 2013, four of the region's trail managing agencies conducted the second trail user survey and count project, using a corps of trail volunteers to hand out surveys and count trail users. The project was designed to replicate the survey conducted in 2009 to look for trends in trail usage and the trail using-population. Becuase the Miami Valley Trail netowrk is better connected now than in 2009, there were fewer count and survey locations needed in 2013. The full report can be viewed and downloaded from the MVRPC web site.

In general, few questions showed statistically significant changes from 2009; among survey respondents, the gender split, typical activities, length of time on the trails and frequency of trail use did not differ greatly from 2009 results. In two areas there were changes that were found to be statistically significant. The first was the age groups of the survey respondents.  There was a shift to older age groups - fully 71 percent of survey takers reported their age to be 46 or higher (up from 66 percent in 2009).  Also, there was a subtle shift in how survey takers reported learning about the trails.  Compared to responses in 2009, fewer people indicated that they get trail information from newspapers and more reported getting trail information from the internet. This trend fits with anecdotal information about the shift away from newspapers in favor internet usage, generally.

Using a methodology developed by the National Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the user survey responses can be used to estimate annual economic impact derived from trail use in the Miami Valley.  The survey asks questions about trail related purchases of hard goods (such as bicycles, footwear, clothing, etc.) and consumables or soft goods (such as beverages, snacks and meals). These questions are coupled with questions asking how much money the respondent spent on Hard Goods (in the past year) and soft goods (on the survey day). An additional category looks at money spent on lodging for trail visitors from outside the Miami Valley region. Using the Rails-to-Trails formula, the survey results calculate a regional, annual economic impact of the trails at just over $13 million. These results are very similar to those found in 2009 as well.

The trail managing agencies and MVRPC will be reporting separately on the automated trail counters that are scattered throughout the network. Over time, this effort should provide an increasingly reliable understanding of how many visits the Miami Valley Trails are getting each year.

Clean Ohio Trails Grants Coming to the Miami Valley

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources released the results of their latest round of Clean Ohio Trails grants on November 1, 2013, and there are four grants related to the Miami Valley Trails among the projects to get funding! These four projects total about 5.4 miles of trail and will receive funding totaling $1.7 million. The four projects are:

Miami Valley Clean Ohio Trail Projects - 2013
County Mi. $ Description Trail
Clark 1.2 $450K The construction of 1.2 miles by 10 foot wide asphalt trail. The proposed project will connect the two missing links for the Little Miami Scenic Trail on the south end of Springfield. Little Miami Scenic
Butler 1.6 $500K Construction of 1.6 miles of new multi-use trail, which will connect downtown Hamilton and its inner city neighborhoods to Rentschler Forest MetroPark along the Great Miami River. Great Miami Trail
Darke 1.5 $250K Acquisition of two land parcels and the construction of 1.5 miles by a 10 foot wide asphalt trail. Ohio to Ind.
Montgomery 1.1 $500K Design and construction of 5,647 linear feet of a 10 feet wide multi-use asphalt trail along Upper Holes Creek. Local Trails


Each of these projects will continue the development and progress of the Miami Valley Trail network. The Clark County project replaces to on-road sections of the Little MIami Trail inside the Springfield city limits. The Butler County project partially closes a gap between Middletown and Hamilton along the Great Miami Trail.  The Darke County projects continues their great efforts to connect the Miami Valley Trails network to the Cardinal Greenway in Indiana. The Montgomery County project will construct another piece of the Centerville Washington Township trail network that connects to both the Iron Horse Trail and will eventually, through neighboring townships connect to the Great Miami Trail. Congratulations to all the grant awardees! You can check on all the grants throughout Ohio on the ODNR web site.

Creekside Trail detour still in effect in Xenia. See our Detour Page for more information!

Little Miami Scenic Trail reopened after repaving from Hedges Road to Yellow Springs

Xenia, Ohio---The section of the Little Miami Scenic Trail between Hedges Road and Yellow Springs is now open again after complete repaving and repair, according to Greene County Parks & Trails. “That section of trail has not been repaved in more than 20 years,” says Greene County Parks & Trails Director Chrisbell Bednar.  “The average lifespan of a paved trail is approximately ten to 12 years.” Greene County Parks & Trails manages 62 miles of paved, multi-use trails as well as 2,600 acres of park land in the county.

Funding for the project was provided by a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation to the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC).  Greene County Parks & Trails received funding for the project from the MVRPC. 

Several trails in Greene County may still receive striping work yet this year, Bednar says, but will not be closed for any extended periods.  Temporary closures will be established when required; cyclists should be able to detour around these short-time closures. Users of the trail are urged to respect the trail closure signs as work progresses along the Little Miami Scenic Trails. “We want our trail users to have a safe and enjoyable experience while visiting our trail system,” Bednar says.  “Even if you do not see obvious work being done, please do not go around the trail closure signs.  The trails are not approved for use if the trail closure signs are in place.”

For more information, call Greene County Parks & Trails at 937.562.6440 or email abotkin@co.greene.oh.us.

Trail Marking in Miami County

The Great Miami River Trail in Miami County will soon have mile markers installed to help trail users keep track of distance traveled.  The markers will be located every quarter of a mile along the trail starting at the southern county line continuing north to Piqua where the trail ends.

Marker placement was calculated using GPS technology so that each is linked to a specific coordinate.  These coordinates along with trail access points will be incorporated into the local 9-1-1 system maps allowing law enforcement and emergency responders faster and more precise access to various points along the bikeway.

GPS mapping took place earlier this fall and installation is currently underway by the County Engineer’s maintenance staff and the various cities’ street maintenance crews. The permanent markers are made of a durable, thermoplastic material that is adhered directly to the trail’s surface.

The trail marking system being used in Miami County may serve as a model for other counties in the system.  This project was a cooperative effort of the Miami County Sheriff’s Department, City of Troy, Tipp City, City of Piqua, County Engineer’s Office, Miami County Park District and the Troy, Tipp City and Piqua Police Departments. The project was paid for by the Rec Trails Fund administered by the Troy Foundation.

Robert J. Shook Bridge Update

The shovels are still turning at the site of the Robert J. Shook Bikeway Bridge. Since the groundbreaking last September, a lot of progress has been made. The gravel lane leading from the parking lot to the bridge construction site was one of the first things to be put in place. This allowed for heavy equipment to be transported to and from the bridge site.

Also completed early in the process was a work pad constructed in the river. It was from this work pad that the pilings for the center pier were installed. The pilings, which extend nearly 50 feet into the ground, are an important piece of the foundation. Over the next month, the abutments will be put into place, completing the bridge’s foundation.

The Bridge is scheduled to open in July 2014 and when finished, will complete the Great Miami River Trail from the Montgomery County line north to Piqua. The bridge, named after Shook a long-time bike trail advocate and chairman of the Miami County Trails Task Force, will connect Miami County to over 300 miles of paved trail in southwest Ohio, making it one of the most extensive bikeway systems in the country.

For more updates and pictures follow check the Miami County Park District website at www.miamicountyparks.com.

Troy By Bike

Troy, OH is no longer one of western Ohio’s best kept secrets now that Mumford & Sons invited 40,000 of their closest friends to spend the weekend there during the 2013 Gentlemen of the Road Stopover. Many of the concert goers arrived via bicycle on the Great Miami River Trail (25) that ran right into the concert venue. Nearly 3,000 cyclists from around the county also descended on Troy in June as part of the annual Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA).  Visitors camped and spent a few days shopping, dining, checking out museums, and biking day trips around the area.

Biking to Downtown Troy

Downtown Troy has become a destination for major events and everyday visitors alike looking to enjoy recreation, food, shopping, music, and a quaint bit of Americana.

Troy is an easy ride, just 24.7 miles north of Dayton, and boasts an amazing number of independent restaurants just off the bike trail.   Riders can cross the Market St. bridge (bridge-mounted sign directs you) and refuel with delicious food and drink at more than a dozen establishments in the historic downtown--- featuring Italian, Asian, Cajun, Irish, Continental, casual fare, local/natural, tavern, and comfort foods. Dine at La Piazza, the Caroline, K’s Hamburgers, Tokyo Peking, Bakehouse Bread & Cookie Company, Le Doux’s, Mojo’s Bar & Tavern, Dunaway’s Beef & Ale, or the Country Bulk Barn.    The area’s finest locally roasted coffee and chocolates are available at Winans Fine Chocolates & Coffee.  Enjoy fine cigars, scotch, and craft beer at the Leaf & Vine or kick back along the river’s edge at the Brewery.

Visit the shops of historic downtown while you rest after a ride and meal.  Don’t miss Olive Oasis, featuring olive oil tasting and bottling-on-site;  Up and Running, a specialty running store; the Troy Family Bike Shop for a new bike, accessories, or repairs;  Bottle No. 121, a craft beer, wine, and gourmet foods shop; samozrejme, an eco-friendly children’s retailer; David Fair on the Square, an unique home furnishings consignment store;  3 Weird Sisters, an eclectic shop filled with antiques and re-purposed home accessories; Savvy Squirrel, an upscale fashion consignment store; furniture retailers Home Comfort & Design and Amish Furniture; and many more.  Visit www.troymainstreet.org for a complete listing. 

Troy loves local history and displays it throughout downtown.  The Troy Hayner Cultural Center’s Distillery Collection features artifacts from Hayner Distillery-- a nationally recognized and enormously profitable mail order whiskey business from the pre-prohibition days.  Other attractions include  the Miami Valley Veteran’s Museum, the Troy History Museum, the Local History Library, and the Overfield Tavern Museum & Annex—a 200 year old tavern meticulously restored to reflect life in the early 1800’s and  featuring a rare collection of early 19th century furniture, household items and artifacts.

Troy has been designated Honorable Mention as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Cyclists.  The City has invested $10,000 in unique bike parking in downtown Troy with the addition of cool “high wheel” bike racks, updates riders with an information kiosk stationed two miles south of town on the trail, and organizes a “cycle to the symphony” initiative each summer. 
 

 

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