'Up & coming neighborhoods' ride recap

 Crossing the bridge into Franklinton. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

Crossing the bridge into Franklinton. Photo credit: Keith Lugs

It's 10:00am on April 11, 2015. There are 80+ bicyclists outside of Whole Foods ready for 3 stops and 1 mission: to tour the up and coming neighborhoods of Columbus.

April’s Year of Yay Ride was a collaboration between Yay Bikes! and CRPSA, the City and Regional Planning Association at Ohio State University. Devin and Will, both board members of CRPSA, created, tested, and coordinated the stops and 18 mile route. After a brief safety message and notes about upcoming Yay Bikes! events from executive director Catherine Girves we were off!

The route to stop number one took the group through Upper Arlington and Grandview. On the way, the group spotted signs of construction at the new Grandview Yard development and took a test ride on the Goodale Street Olentangy Multi-use Trail Access Ramp. The route progressed as planned until the group exited the Olentangy Trail and headed into Franklinton. A road closure near the intersection of Souder Avenue and McKinley Avenue forced the 80+ Year of Yay-ers to a detour on a nearby trail.

At the eastern side of COSI, the group took a quick stop for a group weigh-in on the outdoor giant scale. Our 14,000+ lb total weight confirmed what we already knew – it’s time for everyone to invest in a lighter weight bicycle…or maybe time to ride! We headed west to the Columbus Idea Foundry, the ride’s first stop. Alex Bandar, Founder & CEO, greeted us and provided a brief tour that included a stop in the Foundry’s new upstairs presentation space. Members of the Idea Foundry have 24/7 access to the facilities, which include metal working equipment, 3D printers, and other tools to create almost anything.

On the way to Stop #2, the group pedaled through East Franklinton, one of the major up-and-coming neighborhoods in Columbus. In 2012, the Columbus City Council adopted a new plan for the area that forecasts and plans for 4,000 new residential units and over 500,000 square feet of arts, retail, office, and incubator space over the next 20 years. After crossing the Main Street Bridge, the group continued east through downtown into Olde Town East, the second up and coming neighborhood in Columbus.

Central Community House was our second stop. The organization’s mission is to provide a source of support and a community center for families in the Olde Town East neighborhood. The group was able to tour the facilities with Jackie Calderone, a member of the Central Community House leadership team and director of the Transit Arts program. Chloe Green, the president of CRPSA, spoke about her personal work with the Transit Arts program and its impact on teenage students in the area. Area students can also join other after-school programs and take classes about topics that range from public speaking to spoken word performance.

The route took the group west down Bryden Road and past the new Columbus Museum of Art expansion, which will nearly double the museum’s exhibit space. Passing under the Columbus College of Art and Design’s ART sculpture, the group continued down Gay and Front Street, passing by numerous construction sites on the way.

The third stop of Year of Yay! April 2015 was Ohio State University’s north campus residential project. In conjunction with the OSU Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP), the OSU north campus will see the net addition of 3,200 bed spaces, 11 new buildings, and 2 new dining facilities. Jennifer Evans-Cowley, OSU professor and Vice Provost for Capital Planning and Regional Campuses, provided a presentation on the details of the project – scheduled for completion in Autumn 2016.

Back at Whole Foods, the group rejoiced in a great ride full of optimistic thoughts for the summer season of bicycling. Will Yay Bikes! collectively reach our end-of-year weight loss goals? Surely a beautiful summer of Year of Yay! rides will begin to have an impact on our upcoming end of the season weigh in! See you in May for another great ride. Yay Bikes! (article written by Will Hughen)