Cyclists and pedestrians along the Olentangy Greenway Trail near downtown Columbus, Ohio.
Central Ohio Greenways Project
Years: 2007 to present
Franklin County, Ohio
Central Ohio Greenways (COG)
Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission; City of Columbus; Franklin County MetroParks
Visioning plan; concept maps; facilitation of trail development meetings; website development; brochure publication
The goal of the 12-county Central Ohio Greenways project (COG) is to create a connected network of local trails and trail systems. Citizens will benefit from increased resource and environmental conservation, community and economic revitalization, increased health and recreation opportunities, increased livability and alternative transportation options, and increased community identity. The project will also build professional collaboration between city engineers, parks departments, greenway planners, local trail groups and others. These relationships will benefit local citizens by encouraging trail professionals to share best practices on building and maintaining trails and break down barriers across municipal boundaries.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has been intimately involved with COG for two years. As co-leads on the project, we acquired funding from The Columbus Foundation to conduct several visioning exercises which resulted in a COG concept map. The tools that will come from the project (including fact sheets, a concept map, visioning plan, interactive website and brochure) will assist local communities and trail groups in their applications for funding. With funding becoming increasingly competitive, trail projects must be able to demonstrate collaboration and the ability to connect their trails to larger trail systems. These tools will assist in elevating local projects and leveraging more funding. In June 2008, COG won a National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) award for Excellence in Regional Transportation.
COG is one piece of the puzzle as the Columbus area acts to improve conditions for cycling and walking. The City of Columbus completed its bike plan in May 2008 with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and Alta Planning & Design. Meanwhile, the local Campaign for Active Transportation steering committee, with input from city officials and trails stakeholders, is using the two documents to support its local active transportation case statement as part of RTC's 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation.
Trail User Counts
In concert with our leadership in the Central Ohio Greenways (COG) collaboration we partnered with the City of Columbus Parks & Recreation Department and Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to administer trail counts along several Columbus trails. The counts will be replicated over two years, year one counts were compiled, analyzed and delivered to partners in the fall of 2011. Year two counts will take place summer/fall of 2012. These counts are being administered in a myriad of locations, including at a prominent new trail bridge location that just opened in the fall of 2011. Funding for the trail counts is provided by the City of Columbus Parks and Recreation Department.