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Cincinnati: I-71 Improvements / Uptown Access Project (MJK Interchange)

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This could also motivate the hospitals to get off their collective asses and get MLK looking much better.  Next time you're in Columbus drive by Nationwide Children's Hospital...they did extensive streetscaping (buried utilities along the main streets) in conjunction with the construction of two new large 10~ story buldings and a parking garage.  The overall effect is more impressive and more pleasant than any approach to any of the Cincinnati hospitals. 

 

What's upsetting is that I was living nearby when MLK was widened in 1998.  This included reconfiguration of the MLK/Jefferson/Vine intersection into the disaster that it is today, and the installation of the interstate highway-looking lights in the median of MLK between Vine and Eden Ave.  Meanwhile, there has been no utility burial and there is no unifying theme.  I think the entire south side of MLK (McDonald's, Duel Manor, etc.) needs to be demo'd, and taking all those properties by power of eminent domain in order to build a transit line could be the way to do it. 

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This could also motivate the hospitals to get off their collective asses and get MLK looking much better.  Next time you're in Columbus drive by Nationwide Children's Hospital...they did extensive streetscaping (buried utilities along the main streets) in conjunction with the construction of two new large 10~ story buldings and a parking garage.  The overall effect is more impressive and more pleasant than any approach to any of the Cincinnati hospitals. 

 

What's upsetting is that I was living nearby when MLK was widened in 1998.  This included reconfiguration of the MLK/Jefferson/Vine intersection into the disaster that it is today, and the installation of the interstate highway-looking lights in the median of MLK between Vine and Eden Ave.  Meanwhile, there has been no utility burial and there is no unifying theme.  I think the entire south side of MLK (McDonald's, Duel Manor, etc.) needs to be demo'd, and taking all those properties by power of eminent domain in order to build a transit line could be the way to do it. 

 

That has to be the highest grossing McD's in Cincinnati, if not an even larger area, they'll never risk taking it.  See the Hopple Street drawings for an example; that White Castle makes a ton of money and they managed to get onramps designed encircling it rather than tearing it down.  It wouldn't surprise me if they build a transit stop directly in front of it, Cincinnati seems to love their fast food sales tax revenue.

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I don't disagree, that McDonald's seems to have a line at the drive-thru 20 hours a day.  I don't think the city gets much in revenue from restaurants, even those in high profile locations, since restaurant workers aren't paid well and most of the city's tax revenue comes from the earnings tax.  Tipped employees often don't report the tips, unless they have a POS system that automatically withholds tax from credit card orders.

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Well, that map took up a large portion of my time today.

 

I've also heard Victory Parkway referred to as "Bloody Pike". Was it ever tolled? Sounds unlikely.

Speaking of taking up a lot of time, I happened to be researching some park history in OTR, and ran across the reports to the Park Board from 1907-1915. 

 

Bloody Run is mentioned repeatedly, as a means to connect Eden Park and the Blachly Farm property (now Avon Fields):

 

http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=DmsAAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&pg=GBS.PA188

 

Also a couple of great (if not well scanned) photos:

 

http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=DmsAAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&pg=GBS.PA141

 

http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=DmsAAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&pg=GBS.PA181

 

http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=DmsAAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&pg=GBS.PA182

 

http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=DmsAAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&pg=GBS.PA185

 

Great resources, thanks for sharing

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I am sure COAST will be outraged!

 

 

City needs $25M more for Uptown interchange

Written by Jason Williams

 

Now there’s a new wrinkle in raising the local money needed to get work on a new Uptown interchange started by summer: The city must raise another $25 million, in addition to the $20 million it already has pledged.

 

To do that, the state has proposed the city and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments transportation planning agency jointly borrow the $25 million from a state loan program.

 

OKI would repay the loan principal over 20 to 25 years, and the city would repay the interest, estimated at around 3 percent. OKI’s 117-member board is expected to vote on the state loan proposal next month. The money would come from the State Infrastructure Bank, which provides money for projects that have economic-development value.

 

 

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130920/BIZ/309200140/City-seeks-25M-more-Uptown-interchange

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Do they have a contractor for this project already? If not how can they be so far off? Where are these costs coming from. Same thing with the Western hills viaduct. It's up to 200 million now, up from 100 million in 2009.

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What a crock.  Sorry.  This will not even register or be mentioned by C____.

 

Everyone drives. We "need" roads. Etc etc etc blah blah blah. COAST won't even stir.

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Anybody got an idea of what the 7,000 neighborhood jobs this project is estimated to create are?

 

I'm sure there will be a new Taco Bell and Burger King near the new interchange. That's gotta be, what, at least 2 dozen jobs right there?

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Anybody got an idea of what the 7,000 neighborhood jobs this project is estimated to create are?

 

I'm sure there will be a new Taco Bell and Burger King near the new interchange. That's gotta be, what, at least 2 dozen jobs right there?

 

I suspect that UC, the Hospitals, etc. will account for the bulk of the additional 1000’s of jobs. How dependent upon the MLK interchange those jobs are is questionable (at best).

 

While there are definitely people who would or would not buy a property in northern OTR due to the streetcar, I don’t think any nurses or doctors are going to refuse a job offer because the highway interchange nearest the hospital isn’t quite ideal.

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^ Exactly.  I haven't had a chance to look through the feasibility report on this project, but in many of these situations most of the "benefits" are calculated as time savings.  So you take the average projected traffic, apply the time saved to the area's average income, and that adds up to quite a lot of money supposedly saved.  The problem is, 2 or 3 minutes per day per person is really what it boils down to, which is an intangible benefit at best, and really doesn't save many people the amount of money the calculations project.  Beyond that, no level of government actually collects any taxes on that saved time either.  This interchange isn't going to cause much if any increase in property values near it, probably just the opposite.  So real cash money is spent to build, operate, and maintain this thing, but little money actually comes back to pay for it.  Privatized benefit, socialized cost. 

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As part of this, are they going to remove the ramps at Taft & McMillan? That would be a great benefit for that corridor - slow down traffic and enable it to be more pedestrian oriented. Plus the 2-way conversion.

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I'm pretty sure it was designed to keep the Taft/McMillan ramps.  That does complicate moving the 2-way conversion westward, but I don't think it's insurmountable, at least for Taft.  McMillan is a bit more complicated. 

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ODOT has posted a design build scope for the interchange and plans to short list three teams of contractors soon with the winning bidder selected in the spring.  The plan is to extend the two way operation of McMillan to the existing I-71 NB ramp which will remain in operation as will the SB Taft Ramp.

 

 

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^ It will benefit people from NKY more than anything since it will have a northbound ramp.

 

To this point, it will also minimize people from 471 cutting from the far right lane to the far left lane between the Liberty and Reading exits, which happens all the time since the Reading exit is on left side of 71 and the next exit isn't until Dana.

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Just a FYI:

 

Rendering of the MLK bridge over I-71. It looks like the existing bridge will be kept?

 

And it looks like the existing Taft ramps will be kept, along with the awkward two-way to one-way transition.

 

--

 

So I was interested in what would happen to the old rail bridge by MLK, and it looks like it will be removed. The transit line indicated on the map on page 8 would be street running: http://www.uptownaccessstudy.com/Images/PDFs/OpenHouse4/Uptown%20Open%20House%204%20presentation.pdf

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Also, replacement of the overpass from Stanton to Wittier St. is totally unnecessary.  It's a boondoggle! 

 

Overall this looks like a pretty nice plan.  It's a shame that there is not a rail ROW being preserved, but I was always worried that rail in I-71 was going to distract from rail on or under Reading and/or Gilbert. 

 

Also, I'm glad the CL&N line is being further severed.  As has been known for 100 years, it's unsuitable for rail transit because of the single-track tunnel.  Not sure why SORTA still owns the ROW.  It should be turned over to Hamilton County or Cincinnati Parks and turned into a rec trail between Xavier and MLK. 

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I'm shocked that you would be glad the CL&N line is being severed. Granted it may not be the best route because it doesn't go to U.C., but it does connect Cincinnati and Norwood, the two largest centers in the region, and extends to the northern suburbs.

 

The tunnel may not be ideal, but it is certainly useable. The Pennsylvania Railroad actually had double track in that tunnel for a while, until two locomotives sideswiped each other. Even so, a single line section would not prevent the whole line from being useful. Bi-directional traffic could be controlled with signals. Or, one direction could use the tunnel and the other direction could use another route.

 

It costs only $1 million per mile to lay heavy rail track on an existing graded right-of-way.

 

I have a plan from 1976 that advocates use of the CL&N for transit. Unfortunately, it has been broken up bit by bit over the years; the casino is the latest offender. Once these old rights of way are gone, it is very difficult to reestablish them.

 

 

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I'm shocked that you would be glad the CL&N line is being severed. Granted it may not be the best route because it doesn't go to U.C., but it does connect Cincinnati and Norwood, the two largest centers in the region, and extends to the northern suburbs.

 

The tunnel may not be ideal, but it is certainly useable. The Pennsylvania Railroad actually had double track in that tunnel for a while, until two locomotives sideswiped each other. Even so, a single line section would not prevent the whole line from being useful. Bi-directional traffic could be controlled with signals. Or, one direction could use the tunnel and the other direction could use another route.

 

It costs only $1 million per mile to lay heavy rail track on an existing graded right-of-way.

 

I have a plan from 1976 that advocates use of the CL&N for transit. Unfortunately, it has been broken up bit by bit over the years; the casino is the latest offender. Once these old rights of way are gone, it is very difficult to reestablish them.

 

I agree. Having that intact right-of-way is really important.  It's a shame it hasn't been more at the forefront of transportation efforts.

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Why did this take so long to get worked out when Union Center didn't take long at all it seems?

Union Centre was a simple diamond interchange constructed on greenfield. This is a complex interchange in a dense urban area.

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The CL&N ROW in Walnut Hills was never and will never be a good transit route.  It is relatively slow and hilly and has zero good station locations.  The section between MLK and Xavier, including the intact double-track bridge over Victory Parkway, was part of the route OKI identified for the I-71 light rail line in the late 1990s.  That part could still be of use.

 

It's been known since the 1970s that the light rail network is going to have three lines converge at Xavier.  There should be surface streetcar or light rail lines that connect that point with UC and Walnut Hills, then head downtown.  But the real solution is a deep tunnel from Xavier directly to Downtown, a distance of about 3.5 miles.  If there are no stations other than one deep under government square, the cost would be about $400-500 million.  Building more subway stations, like one deep under Peeble's Corner, would be horrendously expensive, like $100 million per station.  Seattle just cut a single deep station from their north link light rail tunnel, saving $250 million.   

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I'd sure like to know how they can claim with a straight face that a new highway interchange in an already built-up area can "create between 5,900 and 7,300 permanent jobs." 

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ODOT officials: MLK/I-71 interchange will be done by end of 2016

Chris Wetterich Staff reporter- Cincinnati Business Courier

 

 

The recently approved interchange at Interstate 71 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will be complete by October 2016 if the project stays on schedule, Ohio Department of Transportation officials told Cincinnati City Council members on Tuesday.

 

Construction is expected to start in July.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/morning_call/2014/01/odot-officials-mlki-71-interchange.html

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I'd sure like to know how they can claim with a straight face that a new highway interchange in an already built-up area can "create between 5,900 and 7,300 permanent jobs." 

 

I think I've said this before in this thread, but I imagine that 5900-7300 new jobs is just the projection that UC, the hospitals, etc. have regardless of this project. Education and Medical are two fields that are seemingly always growing. So while the interchange may help create those jobs in a sense as it will cut some peoples commutes down by a few minutes, they're jobs that are likely going to be created anyway.

 

It’s similar to the anti-streetcar view that OTR would be revitalized anyway with or without a streetcar, which in general (in some instances) is a valid critique of any economic impact study – however the difference in this particular instance is that there are hundreds, if not thousands of people who will make the choice to invest in, live in, and/or work in OTR specifically because there’s alternative transportation. Whereas I don’t think anyone would make the choice to accept or turn down a job at UC Hospital because there’s an exit ramp at MLK.

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What Uptown could look like in the decades after the I-71/MLK interchange is built: SLIDESHOW

Chris Wetterich Staff reporter- Cincinnati Business Courier

 

Cincinnati’s Planning Commission unanimously approved an ambitious initiative this morning aimed at transforming the area near the University of Cincinnati and the city’s major hospitals into a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use mecca that will be an economic boon for the region.

 

Over the last eight months, a design team selected by the city, the university and the Uptown Consortium – an organization formed by UC and the hospitals – developed a plan to capitalize on the new jobs, employees and residents that are hoped to come with the new interchange at Interstate 71 and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/blog/2014/06/what-uptown-could-look-like-in-the-decades-after.html

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Looks like this might get started soon.  I saw surveyors out earlier today, and then in the afternoon I saw they've spray-painted station markings on the center barrier.

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