Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission to showcase trail network in 2017.
By Jennifer Patterson Lorenzetti
It turns out that local, short-trip commuters like myself are one of the primary target audiences for the Miami Valley Trails, the nation’s largest paved trail network, says Brian Martin, executive director of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. Where once the organization focused on long-haul commuters that might bike several miles to work today’s cyclist is often making a short trip or commuting part of their journey to work on the trails. The younger generation of Millennials is especially interested in this type of commuting, meaning that there will be avid bikers using the trails for years to come.
The planning commission has been building trails since the 1970s, putting Dayton far ahead of many metropolitan areas with bike trail networks. “We were blessed with a wonderful flood protection system so we have had trails along the rivers from the beginning,” says Martin, highlighting the beautiful trails that top levees all along the Miami Valley waterways. The early focus on commuting also means that most trails are designed to take cyclists on a beautiful, yet functional, trip from point A to point B with little in the way of close, circular tracks that keep users confined to one area.
The trail network will be showcased in two upcoming events. First, the Miami Valley Cycling Summit on May 5 at Wright State University is a free event designed to gather cycling advocates and allow them to learn about approaches being taken around the country to make cycling safer and more enjoyable.
The International Trails Symposium, May 7-10, at the Dayton Convention Center, will follow the cycling summit event. Expecting more than 800 attendees from around the world, it will be the nation’s largest gathering of trail professionals, such as parks representatives, trail builders, wellness professionals and consultants, and it will address topics including using trails as part of marketing for travel and tourism. Previously conducted in such cities as Portland, Chattanooga, Austin and Orlando, the International Trails Symposium has landed in Dayton largely because of the size and structure of the paved trail network.
Local and visiting cyclists who are ready to hop on their bikes and get on the trails will find the most updated information about trail routes and connections in the new 2017 Miami Valley Bikeways Guide Map and the accompanying website (miamivalleytrails.org), a site that sees heavy traffic during cycling season. Both are slated to debut early in 2017 with the goal of continuing to get more cyclists out on the trails.
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