Feedback about our community leisure trail system, now measuring 30 miles in length, is very positive. In addition to being a great way to take in the scents, sounds and beautiful scenery New Albany has to offer, the trails promote individual and family wellness and encourage green alternatives for getting around town.
As popular as these trails are, however, there is a growing segment in our community of cyclists who relish sharing the open road with vehicles as much as or more than sharing trails with pedestrians. These cyclists, perhaps spurred to even greater training distances by Pelotonia, may travel hundreds of miles at a time in their pursuit to achieve a personal goal, eradicate cancer or both. Some even talk of lifelong desires to trek across the country on their bikes.
To better serve this ever-growing group, New Albany officials worked with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and other local municipalities to make New Albany an official part of U.S. Bicycle Route 50. Planned as one of the longest official bicycle routes in the United States, Route 50 will run from Washington D.C., to San Francisco. Some alternative route links will even stretch into Canada and Mexico.
While some New Albany residents may be interested in completing a journey across America on this U.S. bicycle route, the central Ohio portion of the route is sizable in and of itself, stretching from Galloway on the west side of Columbus to Bexley before heading north to Westerville, east to New Albany and ultimately further out east toward Newark.
Zooming in on the northeastern central Ohio portion of the bike route closer to New Albany, the route begins on the Alum Creek Trail (the trail from Easton north through Westerville); continues over Hoover Reservoir Dam; turns onto Cubbage Road from the dam; turns east to Walnut Street; turns south onto Harlem Road and then onto Dublin-Granville Road into New Albany before heading further east to Johnstown, Granville and Newark. New Albany riders will have the opportunity to head in either direction, whether their ultimate destination is to our nation’s capital, the Golden Gate Bridge or simply back to their own driveways.
The beauty of these national routes is that people are already utilizing them, so not a lot of new infrastructure is necessary. Those with the proper equipment and experience can hop on recognized routes of existing trails and roadways and ride until their hearts are content. The state of Ohio is expected to coordinate signage recognizing the routes, and the communities along the route get the benefit of more tourists looking for places to shop and eat while traveling.
More information about this route will be forthcoming in the coming months, as will other wellness projects like our partnership with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Healthy New Albany. Your city leaders remain committed to opportunities and projects that support health and wellness in our community. Now get out and enjoy those trails or, for those winter road warriors, this newly recognized national bike route.
Scott McAfee is the New Albany public information officer and a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.