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Cincinnati: Complete Streets, Road Diets, and Traffic Calming

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^Thanks for that. I will have to look at it again when I have more time. One thing I noticed, though, was that in the example of New Haven, the block sizes appear to be much larger than those in Over-the-Rhine. Also, the title was conversions in downtown areas. I wouldn't call Over-the-Rhine a downtown area.

 

 

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I wouldn't call Over-the-Rhine a downtown area.

 

When it comes to street grid and use, I think OTR would be classified as a downtown area - but what do I know?

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>However on a one-way grid you're guaranteed to have more turning movements either on your arrival or departure trip, so you're getting stuck by pedestrians more often. 

 

Great point.  Perhaps one-way streets are faster when there is little or moderate traffic, but at peak hours there might not be any advantage. 

 

If anyone is familiar with Harvard Square, it is easily the most complicated one-way road situation I'm aware of.  There is no parallel street to Massachusetts Ave., so the one-way in the opposite direction is an odd series of side streets.  It's totally nuts. 

 

 

 

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Focus on converting the east-west streets to two-way in OTR.  For various reasons (i.e., rail) converting the north-south streets to two-way isn't a good idea.  Many of the east-west streets in the CBD must remain one-way because they funnel traffic to/from highway on/off ramps.

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I wouldn't call Over-the-Rhine a downtown area.

 

Actually OTR is part of downtown, just like the CBD is part of downtown.  You have different sections of the downtown area.

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>However on a one-way grid you're guaranteed to have more turning movements either on your arrival or departure trip, so you're getting stuck by pedestrians more often. 

 

Great point.  Perhaps one-way streets are faster when there is little or moderate traffic, but at peak hours there might not be any advantage. 

 

If anyone is familiar with Harvard Square, it is easily the most complicated one-way road situation I'm aware of.  There is no parallel street to Massachusetts Ave., so the one-way in the opposite direction is an odd series of side streets.  It's totally nuts. 

 

 

 

 

Agree on Boston, it´s a mess driving around that central city.

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>However on a one-way grid you're guaranteed to have more turning movements either on your arrival or departure trip, so you're getting stuck by pedestrians more often. 

 

Great point.  Perhaps one-way streets are faster when there is little or moderate traffic, but at peak hours there might not be any advantage. 

 

If anyone is familiar with Harvard Square, it is easily the most complicated one-way road situation I'm aware of.  There is no parallel street to Massachusetts Ave., so the one-way in the opposite direction is an odd series of side streets.  It's totally nuts. 

 

 

 

 

Agree on Boston, it´s a mess driving around that central city.

 

The grid in NYC, on the other hand, would be an absolute mess if the streets weren't one-way.  Cincinnati has the grid going for it, at least in (most of) the basin.

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Taft and McMillan have been converted to two way from Victory Parkway to May Street. Makes an astounding difference!


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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I don't really understand why McMillan was not converted as far west as I-71. Allowing access to 71 north would have been nice since you can't get there without looping around Taft still. I suppose they would have had to build a curve so people could turn right onto the entrance ramp. Maybe that is a long-term goal.

 

Map

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Agreed Ryan, that seems like a natural way to improve interstate access from the neighborhood, but you're probably right that it would require extra intervention (engineering) to do, which is outside the scope and budget of this project.  The curve on the east side would likely have to be widened as you say, and they'd probably have to build some sort of deflecting island to channel cars from both directions into the ramp rather than head-on into each other.  That would require either a stop or a yield for westbound McMillan, and it would still be difficult for someone to force their way in during the late afternoon or evening with a constant stream of cars coming from UC.  The ramp isn't wide enough to take two lanes and merge them farther downstream.  I suspect ODOT wanted nothing to do with this project so Cincinnati was taking the path of least resistance by avoiding the ramps. 

 

The situation East of Victory Parkway is what irks me the most, thanks mainly to St. Ursula.  Because of them there's 2-3 blocks of one-way street left before they go back to two-way again, and that's also where McMillan in particular gets the widest and most highway-like.  I find that quite maddening, though the recently rebuilt intersection at Taft and Woodburn, which makes no accommodation for future two-way traffic at all, is just as much of a problem. 

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^I suspect "hard-scape" ramp NB I-71 improvements were not considered since the status of the entrance ramp depends on what is done  with the MLK/Uptown I-71 access/interchange project:

 

http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php/topic,26580.0.html

 

I agree. Why spend money (twice) on it when in a few years (hopefully) an interchange will be built on MLK.

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The situation East of Victory Parkway is what irks me the most, thanks mainly to St. Ursula.  Because of them there's 2-3 blocks of one-way street left before they go back to two-way again, and that's also where McMillan in particular gets the widest and most highway-like.  I find that quite maddening, though the recently rebuilt intersection at Taft and Woodburn, which makes no accommodation for future two-way traffic at all, is just as much of a problem.

 

I haven't read the whole thread, admittedly, but what is St. Ursula's objection here? 

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St. Ursula's objection was that it is hard enough for kids to look for one way traffic before crossing the street let alone two way traffic.

 

IMO, two way traffic would have been safer because it would have slowed traffic down in the area and kids would be even more aware of two way traffic. Or they could have just put a stop light in.

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^ Agreed.  This one-way stretch of road, fronting both St. Ursula and extending around the curve to Taft, begged for a two-way conversion.  The Ursula girls were never a gaggle of pre-schoolers and a simple stop light/crosswalk would have enabled them to safely cross the street.  (Why this more extensive conversion didn't happen is amazing!) 

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IMO, two way traffic would have been safer because it would have slowed traffic down in the area and kids would be even more aware of two way traffic. Or they could have just put a stop light in.

 

Why didn't the Walnut Hills Community folks make this argument.  Anyone here involved with them who can ask them that?

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Extending 2-way streets west to Woodward is the next step. I believe these types of conversations are being held.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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IMO, two way traffic would have been safer because it would have slowed traffic down in the area and kids would be even more aware of two way traffic. Or they could have just put a stop light in.

 

Why didn't the Walnut Hills Community folks make this argument.  Anyone here involved with them who can ask them that?

 

I don't think they wanted to push the issue because St. Ursula is a very valued member of walnut hills and they want to upset them. Also, the fight could have slowed the conversion down and they just wanted to get it done. Maybe in a year or two they will revisit the issue.

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In November 13th Street in OTR was converted from one-way to two-way from Vine to Main Street. Its made a huge difference.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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IMO, two way traffic would have been safer because it would have slowed traffic down in the area and kids would be even more aware of two way traffic. Or they could have just put a stop light in.

 

Why didn't the Walnut Hills Community folks make this argument.  Anyone here involved with them who can ask them that?

 

I don't think they wanted to push the issue because St. Ursula is a very valued member of walnut hills and they want to upset them. Also, the fight could have slowed the conversion down and they just wanted to get it done. Maybe in a year or two they will revisit the issue.

 

One additional block on McMillan will be converted to two-way as a result of the new MLK interchange. Walnut Hills residents will be able to travel west on McMillan and take the existing ramp from McMillan to I-71 North. (This is a really common sense change and should've been done independently of the new interchange.)

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^Agreed.  Having to use that end-around via May, Taft and Essex adds a few minutes, and does nothing to help the McMillan business district.

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:clap:


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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OTR's Main may become two-way street

 

The city of Cincinnati expects to complete a study in April on the potential impact and cost of making the changes on Main Street between 12th and Liberty streets, said Michael Moore, director of the city's department of transportation and engineering.

 

The request from the Main Street Business Association was built on three things: calming traffic speeds, improving pedestrian comfort, and promoting better vehicular accessibility to the businesses, Moore said.

 

An open house has already been scheduled for April 26 at the Woodward Theater at 6 p.m. and at the meeting, the city will provide a preliminary recommendation on its findings and gather feedback from attendees. Through a spokesman, Moore declined to provide details about the study's early findings Thursday other than to say it was still in progress.

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IMO, two way traffic would have been safer because it would have slowed traffic down in the area and kids would be even more aware of two way traffic. Or they could have just put a stop light in.

 

Why didn't the Walnut Hills Community folks make this argument.  Anyone here involved with them who can ask them that?

 

I don't think they wanted to push the issue because St. Ursula is a very valued member of walnut hills and they want to upset them. Also, the fight could have slowed the conversion down and they just wanted to get it done. Maybe in a year or two they will revisit the issue.

 

One additional block on McMillan will be converted to two-way as a result of the new MLK interchange. Walnut Hills residents will be able to travel west on McMillan and take the existing ramp from McMillan to I-71 North. (This is a really common sense change and should've been done independently of the new interchange.)

 

This change is under construction now.

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It seems like the I-71 N ramp was set up for this.  Maybe McMillan was 2-way when I-71 was built. 

 

I wonder how things could work near UC with McMillan and Calhoun changed to 2-way between Clifton and Vine.  It would be much more pleasant if they were made 2-way with just three lanes instead of four -- on-street parking on just one side and then widened sidewalks.  The U Square garages are there, of course, but are rarely full.  People don't seem to know that it's free to park there for 30 minutes. 

 

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McMillan and Calhoun/Taft were converted to one-way when I-71 opened. ODOT told the neighborhoods it would be "temporary". (Just like the "temporary" ramp from I-471 in Newport.)

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Yesterday I was watching the Pogue's garage getting demolished on my lunch break (it relaxes me) and realized that 4th Street should be a two-way street. 3rd and 5th street are already one way streets in opposing directions and lead to interstate highway ramps, while 4th serves mostly local traffic between Lytle Park and Central Ave. It already has perhaps the most urban scale/feel in all of downtown, contains curb cuts to have one lane traveling each direction with parking on both sides and is home to many retail storefronts and business that could use the convenience of a two-way conversion. I've heard many people propose conversion of Main Street, Vine Street, Broadway etc. to two-way way but I've never heard 4th street proposed. It seems like a no-brainer to me, as it is the most retail oriented downtown street and also isn't a major thoroughfare during rush hour compared to any of the other east-west streets. Am I missing something?

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Yesterday I was watching the Pogue's garage getting demolished on my lunch break (it relaxes me) and realized that 4th Street should be a two-way street. 3rd and 5th street are already one way streets in opposing directions and lead to interstate highway ramps, while 4th serves mostly local traffic between Lytle Park and Central Ave. It already has perhaps the most urban scale/feel in all of downtown, contains curb cuts to have one lane traveling each direction with parking on both sides and is home to many retail storefronts and business that could use the convenience of a two-way conversion. I've heard many people propose conversion of Main Street, Vine Street, Broadway etc. to two-way way but I've never heard 4th street proposed. It seems like a no-brainer to me, as it is the most retail oriented downtown street and also isn't a major thoroughfare during rush hour compared to any of the other east-west streets. Am I missing something?

  I advocated for it (theoretically, at least) over 7 years ago.  http://www.soapboxmedia.com/features/0721soapdishcompletestreet.aspx

 

But yes, it does make sense.

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Yeah it's been a while, but I recall something along the lines of every north-south street could theoretically be two-way, and the only east-west streets that would be excessively difficult to convert would be 2nd/3rd and 5th/6th.  4th Street absolutely should be two-way because it goes the same direction as 3rd.  Same goes for 8th Street which is a total train wreck, as it goes from one-way to two-way to one-way and back to two-way again, and it's one-way westbound like 9th Street.

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I've heard people at the City talk about wanting to convert 4th Street to two-way. However that depends on a new ramp being built from Third Street to I-75 North. When Fort Washington Way was rebuilt, they put in a stub from Third Street that would connect to this ramp. However some of the latest Brent Spence Bridge drawings I saw keep the 4th Street ramp in place, so maybe they weren't able to make the geometry work for the 3rd Street ramp.

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I've heard people at the City talk about wanting to convert 4th Street to two-way. However that depends on a new ramp being built from Third Street to I-75 North. When Fort Washington Way was rebuilt, they put in a stub from Third Street that would connect to this ramp. However some of the latest Brent Spence Bridge drawings I saw keep the 4th Street ramp in place, so maybe they weren't able to make the geometry work for the 3rd Street ramp.

 

Looking at it from google earth, it doesn't look like it would be difficult to make the geometry work if you would completely eliminate the 4th street on ramp.

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From 3rd, you can turn right on Central Ave then get on the highway from there without ever getting on 4th. But yeah, it'd be far better if traffic could get onto 75-NB directly from 3rd St. If they reduced the 4th-street on-ramp to just 1 lane (as a result of making it a 2-way street), then it would allow for enough space to share an onramp lane from 3rd Street and merge before reaching 75.

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I pulled up the plan:

 

It looks like they are not adding a ramp from 3rd to I-75N and so the ramp from 4th to I-75N will need to continue to exist.

1ABF5.jpeg

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Starting a new catch-all thread for complete streets, road diets, pedestrian safety enhancements, and other traffic calming projects around Greater Cincinnati, since many of these things were getting lumped into the Liberty Street thread.

 


 

New international-style crosswalks were painted at a few intersection around OTR earlier this week:

 

41131884814_a347ffe366_h.jpg

 

40950012415_fc812043b9_h.jpg

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Another international style crosswalk was painted at 12th & Walnut and it looks like one is about to be painted at Central Parkway and Walnut.

 

However, the city has started grinding down parts of 14th Street to be repaved, and in the process, has destroyed parts of the crosswalk in my second photo above. It just blows my mind that the city can't better coordinate these projects to avoid destroying paint that was literally put down 1-2 days earlier.

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The City of Cincinnati has launched this new tool where people can report problematic areas for pedestrians and bicyclists, where cars speed excessively, and where people would like to see crosswalks or bike lanes added. I would urge everyone reading this who's in Cincinnati to go on this map and add areas where you would like to see improvements.

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Is there any reason why this section of Clifton Avenue (between McMillan and Ludlow) should be 7 lanes wide? I can't imagine that this stretch gets enough traffic to justify that many lanes. There are virtually no storefronts along that stretch, so having 24 hour parallel parking on both sides of the street seems excessive. It seems like a road diet taking it down to 5 total lanes, with parking allowed on both sides during non-peak hours, would make the street much safer and cause virtually no disruption for drivers.

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Yeah I have suggested for years that the streetcar should be extended in a bored tunnel from Findlay Market to Clifton Ave. in this area, where it could then either travel in a landscaped center reservation (similar to streetcars in New Orleans) or travel along the east side of the road from Straight St. to Ludlow Ave. 

 

Also, a streetcar route could easily turn east at MLK and travel on its own ROW parallel to either the north or south side of MLK aross the north edge of UC. 

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The intersections in Mount Lookout Square take up a lot of room, especially for two relatively narrow streets. Would replacing the intersections with roundabouts on the north and south sides of the square work?

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Is there enough space to squeeze in roundabouts? I think the better solution would be to just reconfigure either end of the square so that the whole thing functions as a roundabout so that you can get rid of the left turn lanes and lights, but it would lead to significant increases if you're trying to turn left from Linwood to Delta.

 

Alternatively, you could probably do something where you reconfigure the square entirely and just put a large plaza on the western (or eastern) side where there is currently roadway, and have Linwood meet at Delta with simple T-intersections. Excuse the poor-quality Paint doodle, but I'm thinking something like this:

mt_lookout.thumb.png.993377bad631f5a846137644e7c7a9bc.png


“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

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The current configuration makes people slow down and pay attention.  Isn't that the glorious promise of traffic circles? 

 

Look at me, I live in an area with traffic circles.  We're so damn smart. 

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The unfortunate thing about Mt. Lookout Square is that there's such a high traffic volume, especially in the evening rush, and the business owners are completely parking crazy.  Those awful spaces in the middle of the square are sacrosanct.  There's been proposals floated over the years for the plaza idea, except hurr durr parking.  I think it would be an interesting exploration, though traffic engineering would definitely say Linwood should be the through street instead of Delta, since the volume of drivers going home to Anderson Township from Uptown is what swamps it.  There might also be a way to do a pinched/teardrop type of roundabout like you see at highway interchanges https://goo.gl/maps/YnNtngPrZhn (assuming the geometry works out, but regardless I suspect UDF and Chase Bank would be none too happy about encroaching into their parking lots), allowing the sidewalks to be widened in the middle along with angled or 90º parking, but again traffic engineering would never allow that. 

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It's so funny to me when places have a "square" like that and fill it with parking instead of public space where people can gather. Mt. Lookout Square could be another Oakley Square if they would eliminate the parking lot.

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It's so funny to me when places have a "square" like that and fill it with parking instead of public space where people can gather. Mt. Lookout Square could be another Oakley Square if they would eliminate the parking lot.

 

The City had a plan to do that about a decade ago and all the Mt. Lookout businesses freaked!


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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