LIMA — Ohio’s U.S. and state routes have long been a staple for motorists, allowing them to access every corner of the state. Now, as part of its long-range plan, “Access Ohio 2040,” the Ohio Department of Transportation is working to designate a similar transportation network for bicyclists, with Lima in line to be included in it.
During Mayor David Berger’s weekly media briefing Wednesday, Public Works Director Howard Elstro outlined ODOT’s plans to create what would be known as U.S. Bike Route 25, which would run north and south connecting Toledo, Lima, Dayton and Cincinnati while also extending into both Michigan and Kentucky. Lima’s portion of that route would incorporate the Ottawa River Bike Path before continuing northeast alongside Interstate 75. Allen County would also be included in U.S. Bike Route 40, which would run east and west almost parallel to U.S. Route 30.
“This is really exciting stuff,” Elstro said. “Some of this is already in place. You can go from Cincinnati to Lebanon and Piqua. This would put Lima on the map for bike networking.”
While many people in the area use the bike path for personal fitness or even for regular commuting, Elstro expects this statewide network to appeal to a different demographic, which he said could potentially pay dividends to the local economy.
“This is more aimed at the recreation side or the tourist side,” he said. “There are people who use these tourist paths all over the nation for vacations, and we’ll have some tourism benefit, both in people getting to know our community and bringing tourist dollars into the community.”
ODOT hopes to complete its bike route designations this spring. Elstro said ODOT may possibly include signage along these routes at no cost to the city.
Lima City Council will consider a resolution of support for this initiative during its regular meeting Monday.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.