A community group known for its controversial and antagonistic tactics is asking other neighborhood organizations to take a vote on whether they support Cincinnati's proposed streetcar project.
In a recent e-mail sent to leaders of the city's network of neighborhood councils, John Sess, president of the Westwood Civic Association, wants to gauge sentiment about the project. Sess states he will be "keeping tracks of the results," presumably to lobby city officials to reconsider the project.
Cincinnati cyclists have been waiting for the arrival of bike lanes on Riverside Drive since summer of 2011, and patience is running thin. Yesterday, Cincinnati's Department of Transportation announced that it was considering "indefinitely postponing" the bike lane project because of possible future construction on I-471.
The plan was originally postponed because Duke Energy needed to perform some work in the area. Now, Cincinnati officials are concerned that the I-471 traffic could redirect to Riverside in the face of construction, meaning Riverside could become saturated with rerouted motorists. The bike lane project originally required a travel lane to be removed from Riverside drive to install bike lanes.
Nern Ostendorf, Queen City Bike's executive director, expressed disappointment with the decision. "We really have to stick to our plans and prioritize. If we keep being bullied [by the city], nothing's ever going to change."
Riverside Drive is currently a main thoroughfare for East End bikers who work downtown, but problems with speeding call for reform. "The road doesn't have the infrastructure that it needs right now for bikers to be safe," says Ostendorf.
She says that the installation of the lanes is crucial to Cincinnati's urban and economic development. "We need to change people's understanding of navigating space with things other than cars." Ostendorf says there's an immediate correlation between the installation of bike lanes and hikes in business in surrounding areas.
"1. There is no guarantee that substantial I-471 traffic would shift to Riverside Drive; 2. East End already deals with commuters speeding through their neighborhood on a daily basis. It’s time for DOTE to make Columbia Parkway the obvious alternative for motor vehicle commuters by going ahead with this project, which will reduce traffic and speeding in a residential area."
The post directs proponents of the bike lane installation to contact City Council members, along with Michael Moore, director of Cincinnati's Department of Transportation, to lobby for the reversal of the postponement.
Moore could not be reached for comment on Friday.
A new Census Bureau report reveals that from 2005 to 2009, a segment of Over-the-Rhine had the highest income inequality of more than 61,000 communities nationwide.
The segment — known as Census Tract No. 17 — is the northeast quadrant of Over-the-Rhine. The findings were featured in an article Tuesday by McClatchy Newspapers, which attributes the disparity in the tract partially to gentrification and the influx of young professionals into the predominantly low-income neighborhood.
Queen City Bike today sent out an email asking for help in convincing St. Bernard Service Director Phil Stegman why including a climbing lane on Mitchell Avenue between Vine Street and Reading Road is important to the area's cycling infrastructure. According to QCB, St. Bernard's engineers prefer to keep 10 feet of space for parking rather than use 8 feet for parking and include the bike lane. The city of Cincinnati, which owns half the road, needs St. Bernard to sign off on the infrastructure improvement, according to QCB.
At least three of Cincinnati City Council’s four new members will appear at a meet-and-greet event next week in Price Hill to answer questions.
Chris Seelbach, Yvette Simpson and P.G. Sittenfeld are scheduled to attend the Jan. 5 forum, which will be held at Elder Hill School’s Schaeper Center. It’s uncertain at this time whether the fourth and final new council member, Christopher Smitherman, will attend.
The city of Cincinnati is planning to restripe a section of Martin Luther King Drive between Reading Road and Victory Parkway and would like input from cyclists who commute into Clifton and Walnut Hills. Queen City Bike today sent out an email asking anyone who regularly uses the route to fill out an online survey to help planners determine which infrastructure improvements to make.