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Northern Kentucky foundation establishes $3M ‘active transportation’ fund

COVINGTON, Ky. — Over the next three years, one Northern Kentucky nonprofit wants to invest $3 million in new transportation infrastructure upgrades across the region, but there’s one catch: It has to be an improvement that encourages active transportation.

Matt Butler, who heads up special projects at the Devou Good Foundation, announced the fund on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

“In the Greater Cincinnati area, 21% of households do not own an automobile,” reads a page on the nonprofit’s website announcing the new fund. “As a region, we need to do more to protect our most vulnerable road users: people walking, using wheelchairs, and riding bicycles.”

“When we speak to people in this area to find what their needs are, they list childcare and transportation as the top two,” Butler said. “With the average cost of owning a car now at $10,000 a year and folks not feeling safe with the alternative of walking and biking, we knew this is an important problem to solve.”

The announcement comes just a couple of weeks after the foundation pitched in $12,500 — roughly half the needed funds — to assist Cincinnati Metro in making bus rides free on Election Day.

The foundation’s website lists the following sorts of projects as eligible to receive financial assistance through the fund:

  • Bike paths, lanes, trails and bridges
  • Off-road trails that can be used to connect neighborhoods
  • Infrastructure to slow traffic in neighborhoods (such as curb bump-outs, for instance)
  • End-of-trip facilities (bike racks, bike parking, bike repair stations and bike storage)

The fund will also consider donations to programs and campaigns that encourage or support active transportation investment. The nonprofit will consider grant requests for projects up to $500,000. The funding is limited to project proposals in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties in Kentucky and Hamilton County in Ohio.

The Devou Good Project also made headlines when they donated more than 2,500 bike racks to be installed across Northern Kentucky and the city of Cincinnati. Butler also helped the foundation map serious crashes across Northern Kentucky in an effort to identify where improvements might bring the most value.

The foundation will consider grants applications on a quarterly basis, Butler said.

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