Monday, April 16, 2007


Newport Cycling Mecca?

Robert Yoder, who I am not going to christen Newport Brainchild, is doing a bang-up job as Newports 'Main Street Coordinator'. His official charge is to revitalize and promote 'downtown' Newport and specifically the Monmouth Street area south of the levee. He has done an amazing job already promoting facade improvements, streetscape programs, and enticing new business (like Steamboat Bagels and Graeter's) to locate on Monmouth.

He's also fantastic at dreaming up and supporting innovative and progressive ideas to make the community interesting. Some cost money (and most of the time he finds state, federal or private grants), but many don't.

His new brainstorm includes relocating a gas station building (circa 1920), which includes a spanish tile roof, to Saratoga and 10th street to serve as a Tourist and Cycling Depot. The concept is detailed as follows:

"bike racks, air pumps, a water fountain, tourist information and a transportation museum detailing the area's railroads and other landmarks. The station would mark the beginning of a bike trail where road signs would point bikers through town to the Purple People Bridge and connect with trails in Ohio."

It's a great concept, and will help bolster Newport's position as a 'bike friendly community', both in name and in certification, as there is early rubmlings about applying for the League of American Bicyclists 'Bike Friendly Community' program, which brings with it honor and streamlined application for additonal grants for cycling promotion.

Bob's a good guy and seems like a great fit for that gig.

I hope this will encourage local motorists to be more aware of cyclists. I'm far more afraid to ride my bicycle around here than I am to drive my motorcycle. I get horn blows and close calls on a regular basis.
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