“Cars make it unsafe to ride my bike.”
“It’s not safe to walk on Brand Rd.”
“Traffic is too fast on Brand Rd.”
“Protect the rural character of the road”
“My house was built at the turn of the last century, it needs to be protected”
These are all statements that have been heard during the debate following the delivery of the final recommendations document by the Bicycle Advisory Task Force. They are all valid and sometimes competing voices that have been raised specifically regarding recent City Council discussions concerning continuing the City’s commitment to a variety of transportation modes. Council has been discussing widening Brand Rd. to accommodate a multi-use path, bike lanes and automobile traffic. Today there exists no pedestrian or safe bicycle east-west connection between Muirfield Dr. and the Scioto River. As depicted in the City’s bike path map, there are several places where an east-west connection is missing. Brand Rd. and Memorial Dr. are the two most noticeable.
Brand Rd. presents the most interesting challenges in that Brand has been designated by the City as a scenic road. It also has very difficult natural boundaries with the North Fork of Deer Run running next to and across the road. Further, it is lined with Landmark Trees and homes and barns with historical roots to Dublin’s rural past. It also is a major thoroughfare that connects the heart of the city east and west. Further subdivisions line Brand Rd, meaning thousands of residents traverse the road to walk to parks, neighborhood events and life in general. Brand Rd. is a real-life microcosm of the pressures that have existed in Dublin over the last thirty years. As with other challenges in Dublin’s history, this one too can be met to the greater good of the community while respecting the needs of those directly impacted.
City Council requested choices on how to solve this problem, but were presented false choices. They were faced with either/or choices. Council weighed the choices and decided on a plan that neither solves the problem, nor respects the variety of voices on this issue. Kevin Walter believes that difficult challenges call for big thinking. City Council decided to push forward with a plan that only partially solves the problem and in fact, ruins the long-term viability of Brand Rd. as a scenic road, doesn’t address the issue of bicycle safety nor neighborhood connectivity and destroys trees and home values. All-in-all, the solution is the worst example of bureaucratic decision making that leads to horrific outcomes.
Kevin Walter believes that the City should adopt a program that is comprehensive and evolves over time. The primary features of the plan should include:
- Multi-Use Path: Build a multi-use path from Dublin Rd. to Muirfield Dr. Neighbors need safe and secure ways to connect with each other, jog, stroll and passively recreate.
- Bike Lanes: The City should construct bike lanes on the road from Earlington to Dublin Rd. There is ample room to allow serious bikers to be safely segregated from traffic along this entire stretch.
- Realignment of Brand Rd: From Earlington to Murifield some reworking of Brand in minor and major ways can go a long way towards ensuring that as many competing interests as possible can be served.
This is the type of infrastructure project that the City should undertake. Unlike traffic calming on Tara Hill or the Roundabout to Nowhere; projects like this connect the city, unite the city and ensure the long-term protection of valuable city treasures. Kevin Walter supports building infrastructure that has short-term benefit and long-term vision.