Jump to content
Guest grasscat

Cincinnati: Mt. Auburn: Development and News

Recommended Posts

What's left of Mt Auburn?  This was literally one of Cincinnati's prettiest neighborhoods and yet it seems like almost all of it except for Liberty hill is being demoed 😕

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The flat iron building at the corner of Sycamore/Auburn just received historic tax credits:

Quote

1833 Sycamore Street (Flatiron Building) (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)

Total Project Cost:  $1,275,000

Total Tax Credit:  $250,000

Address: 1833 Sycamore Street, Cincinnati, 45202

The Flatiron Building, referring to its triangular shape, is a small, iconic gateway to the Mount Auburn neighborhood of Cincinnati. Constructed around 1895, the building had street level commercial space with residential units above. The building became vacant about 30 years ago but was recently stabilized by the Hamilton County Land Bank. After rehabilitation, the building will provide the surrounding area with market-rate apartments above a commercial space.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, richNcincy said:

This is great to hear. I hope it spurs additional development in the area. I’ve recently moved two blocks away from the flat iron building. 

Agreed. The commercial building directly to its north had a for sale sign recently. Would be great to see that get a tenant as well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, jwulsin said:

Agreed. The commercial building directly to its north had a for sale sign recently. Would be great to see that get a tenant as well. 

That building is a mess. Might not be able to be saved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, JohnClevesSymmes said:

That building is a mess. Might not be able to be saved.

Hmmm... I've never seen the inside. But a simple 1-floor renovation is so much easier to manage, even it it requires structural replacement to walls/roofs/floors. Just so much simpler than, say, the flatiron building across the street.

 

That intersection is absolutely pedestrian hostile, and so I hope the city looks at re-configuring it to slow traffic down. Even in a car, I find the intersection rather scary since cars coming up the hill don't have to stop. Adding curb bumpouts at all the corners and making the western portion of Dorchester 1-way westbound could simplify and shrink the intersection. Add a stop-sign for the traffic coming up Sycamore hill and the whole intersection will feel much safer. I'm not a civil engineer, but here's a rough sketch of how I could see the intersection get cleaned up. 

 

 

 

Sycamore Auburn.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ Same. It truly is a piss-poor interesection. I think jwulsin's idea would be great, though. I tend to take E Clifton Ave from OTR to UC specifically to avoid this intersection. If it feels dangerous in a car, the pedestrian experience must be horrible. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They could always...add a traffic light.  The crazy Virginia/Kirby intersection finally got a light a few months ago after countless near-collisions over the past 100 years. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, taestell said:

When driving south on Auburn, I never know whether there are two lanes that can proceed south onto Sycamore.

 

In a somewhat similarly odd condition, driving south on Vine Street at McMicken, there are two turn lanes onto Findlay. However, there are 3 lanes westbound on Findlay, with the middle lane being a free-for-all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is talk about "realignment and widening" of Auburn Ave... with a public info session next week: 

Quote

The Mt. Auburn Community Council is hosting a public meeting to discuss the potential realignment and widening of Auburn Avenue. All are welcome to attend and to provide comment.

Representatives from the Department of Transportation & Engineering will present information about the proposed project, help facilitate discussion and answer questions.

Date:          Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019
Time:          7:00 p.m.
Location:    Taft Elementary School Cafeteria
                    270 Southern Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219

 

 

https://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/dote/dote-projects/auburn-avenue-improvements/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, jwulsin said:

There is talk about "realignment and widening" of Auburn Ave... with a public info session next week: 

 

https://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/dote/dote-projects/auburn-avenue-improvements/

 

 

We need that extra speed to catch sweet air down Sycamore Hill brah. Really though, it is a straight road unless they are talking the portion closer to the UC hospitals and the odd intersection at the McMillan/Taft junction.

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IIRC, they are going to slightly widen Auburn to create a center turn lane. Not 100% sure. But the city is planning on redoing Auburn somehow, and the center turn lane is needed for ambulances to get through. They might be instituting full time parking on one side of the street as well, but I can't remember specifics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SleepyLeroy said:

We need that extra speed to catch sweet air down Sycamore Hill brah. Really though, it is a straight road unless they are talking the portion closer to the UC hospitals and the odd intersection at the McMillan/Taft junction.

 

South of the crazy intersection at Dorchester, the road turns into Sycamore. It was just resurfaced so I wouldn't imagine them changing that for some time.  So when they say Auburn, they are talking about between Dorchester and McMillan, in front of the hospital and such.

 

Something really does need to be done about the width of the road on Auburn. I constantly see drivers straddling the two lanes because the individual lanes are so narrow. Also, I hope they take care of the Dorchester/Auburn/Sycamore intersection while they're at it. Maybe this intersection is why they are saying "realignment."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aside from re-configuring the Dorchester intersection, I really think Auburn between McMillan and Dorchester would work best if it were reduced to just one 10-foot wide lane in each direction with turn lanes placed where it makes sense at each intersection. That would allow traffic to move steadily (since the turning vehicles won't back up traffic), and be more comfortable for everybody, since as @Largue points out, it's common for cars today to straddle the 9' wide lanes, making it scary and dangerous for cars to pass each other. I'd love for bike lanes to get added, but I'm not sure there's enough width to accommodate the bike lanes, and I think the neighborhood would be best served by a street that is as narrow as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd imagine Christ hospital is lobbying to have the road widened, and is disguising it as a safety concern related to ambulance access or something. Agreed that the intersection with Dorchester is a mess and should be reconfigured and improved. With new development happening up in Mt. Auburn, I imagine issues at this intersection will only get worse.

 

Unrelated, is that little corner store called "The Body Snatcher" still at that intersection? If that place isn't going to be torn down and redeveloped, can it at least be renamed?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think what makes most sense is:

 

One lane of traffic southbound.

One center turn lane (with no trees or medians).

One lane of traffic northbound.

One lane of parking northbound.

 

This would allow parking in the area 24 hours a day, it would allow for a turn lane so there aren't rear-end accidents, and it would allow cars to pull over to the side to let an ambulance pass through the turn lane.

EDIT: The only downside to this plan is that buses in the southbound traffic lane wouldn't be able to pull over to allow cars to pass. Cars would probably be tempted to go into the turn lane to get around the bus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ You could also do that for the majority of the street, but then slightly widen the street at each of the bus stops to allow for:

 

SB bus stop | SB traffic lane | center turn lane | NB driving lane | NB parking lane

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, edale said:

the intersection with Dorchester is a mess and should be reconfigured and improved

That intersection could be a catalyst for revitalization; it has great bones, and the flatiron building has already received state historic tax credits to be redeveloped. If the Body Snatcher got a major facelift (and mayyyyybe a name change 😂), the vacant building north of the flatiron were redeveloped, and the intersection were reconfigured a bit and landscaped, it would be a really special area.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

May i be the first to suggest that any new landscaped roundabout or other traffic related whatnot be named "Body Snatcher Commons" so that the history may live on.

 

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the Mt. Auburn Community Council meeting last night, DOTE went over their idea for Auburn Avenue's 5 point intersection with Dorchester and Sycamore.

 

The plan would widen Auburn Avenue to 5 total lanes. Two travel lanes in each direction and a center turn lane. They would be taking over the Body Snatcher property to implement the plan. The idea right now is to create a 3-way intersection on the Body Snatcher property. The land levels out, so cars stopping at the top of Sycamore Street wouldn't be as big of a deal.

 

I brought up concerns about the pedestrian experience with the wider roads and no parking. DOTE didn't seem too concerned. I suggested allowing street parking in the far lanes (they basically admitted it was possible, but they didn't seem like they wanted to do allow it). I suggested putting in brick crosswalks or some other physical road change beyond just paint to encourage drivers to go slower. They didn't seem to interested and made references to cost.

 

They had to avoid the wall facing Auburn on the Taft Historic Site, so a lot of the land being taken (except for the Body Snatcher) is on the West side of the street. I've uploaded images of the packet we were given.

201902191946391000.jpg

201902191946391001.jpg

201902191946391002.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unbelievable that this administration can claim to support Vision Zero and then turn around and propose a road widening without any apparent concern for pedestrians, cyclists, or transit riders.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^exactly. there is no way that traffic demands would exceed a single travel lane with a center turn lane.

 

Using the center turn lane as an emergency lane for ambulances would be more than sufficient IMO. I support realigning the intersection to make it safer, but adding lanes and providing no pedestrian improvements or bike infrastructure is ridiculous.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well... That's disappointing. I wouldn't be opposed to this proposed configuration if they kept it to 3 lanes, with parking in the curbside lanes and bumpouts at the intersections. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, no, no, no, no, no. This is so bad. When will DOTE get out of the 20th Century and into the 21st? Planning documents have Auburn Avenue becoming a business district for Mt. Auburn but that will NEVER happen if this project happens. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would the new Auburn/Dorchester/Sycamore intersection have a stop light, or stop signs? 

 

I see they're taking feedback at AuburnAvenueImprovements@cincinnati-oh.gov ... please write a quick email with feedback if you feel strongly about the proposed design.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may be overthinking this, but won't the way this intersection is designed encourage more people to use Dorchester rather than Sycamore to access the highways? It so, how long until DOTE proposes removing the on-street parking on Dorchester so that the two southbound lanes on Auburn can continue as two eastbound lanes on Dorchester?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, ryanlammi said:

They were talking about stop signs at the intersection (which to me, implies they don't need two travel lanes on Auburn).

I agree. And in general, stop sign intersections with multiple lanes of traffic always make me nervous. I really feel like this intersection would work just fine as a standard 3-way stop. Cars will move through it quickly enough. It will improve flow over the current configuration in the following ways:

a) it removes the south part of Auburn

b) it removes the west part of Dorchester

c) it shifts the intersection onto "flatter" terrain

d) it shifts the geometry making the Auburn-to-Dorchester transition more of a "straight" line as opposed to a sharp 90-degree turn

 

Those improvements will all allow cars to move through the intersection smoothly. No need to make it 5 lanes wide, especially since Sycamore and Dorchester immediately drop down to 1 lane in each direction. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just glad they didn't suggest a huge traffic circle that would have resulted in demolishing more buildings. I agree with Travis that this appears to suggest a much different flow of traffic, where currently the double striped yellow lines continue from Auburn to Sycamore, now they are diverting that traffic to Dorchester. If this results in less hospital workers using Sycamore and therefore Liberty, it seems like more ammunition for the Liberty road diet. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for the tinfoil hat, but could this be part of some type of long game? DOTE could be proposing an alternative for Dorchester as it intersects Reading, I-71, and Gilbert? That's not a great intersection as it is. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

I don't think I've ever seen an accident at this intersection.  Everyone actually comes to a complete stop because it's a complicated situation. 

 

Which is a good thing! Confusing intersections are safe because it makes you pay attention. The last thing we want is to make it easy for people to run a stop sign and whip around this corner at high speeds. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Believe it or not, it's possible to create safe, functional intersections without resorting to "confusing" or "complicated" designs. I don't think the current intersection design is ideal. Especially if we want to see businesses move into the commercial spaces at the intersection, it makes for a very hostile experience trying to navigate that intersection as a pedestrian today. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are email addresses if you want to reach out to 

 

AuburnAvenueImprovements@cincinnati-oh.gov,

Bryan.Williams@cincinnati-oh.gov,
Ryan.Kirk@cincinnati-oh.gov

 

And here are the email addresses of Council Members:
"P. G. Sittenfeld" <pg.sittenfeld@cincinnati-oh.gov>,
"Seelbach, Chris" <chris.seelbach@cincinnati-oh.gov>,
"Smitherman, Christopher" <christopher.smitherman@cincinnati-oh.gov>,
Tamaya.Dennard@cincinnati-oh.gov,
greg.landsman@cincinnati-oh.gov,
david.mann@cincinnati-oh.gov,
amy.murray@cincinnati-oh.gov,
jeff.pastor@cincinnati-oh.gov,
wendell.young@cincinnati-oh.gov,

 

Here's the email I sent them:

 

Quote

I live near the bottom of Sycamore hill and travel up through Mt Auburn frequently. 

 

I'm glad to see DOTE looking at ways to improve Auburn Ave, but I'm concerned with the proposed changes. In particular, I want to see any changes to Auburn Ave made with the explicit goal of improving pedestrian safety, and I fear the proposed changes will encourage cars to only drive faster and more dangerously.

 

I oppose the idea of 5 lanes of traffic along Auburn Ave, as that will encourage cars to drive too fast, to the detriment of pedestrians, residents, and local businesses. Throughout Cincinnati, we have seen numerous incidents of fast cars striking and killing pedestrians, including just yesterday the tragic death of Holly Burns, who was hit and killed by a speeding truck while she walked through the crosswalk, just north of this part of Mt Auburn. 

 

I want Auburn Ave to be a neighborhood business district where people people feel safe, where they want to stay, not just drive through quickly. As such, I would like to see Auburn Ave configured with a center turn lane plus 1 lane of traffic in each direction (3 lanes total). This could be accomplished by taking the proposed design and simply adding "bumpouts" at key intersections. I have attached an image that shows in red where bumpouts should be added at intersections and in blue where on-street parking should be added. Forgive the crudeness of my drawing, as I didn't have access to a high-resolution version of the proposed redesign. 

 

The bumpouts would create safe space for on-street parking. On-street parking helps support local businesses, while also making the sidewalks safer and more comfortable for pedestrians. By having just 1 lane of traffic in each direction, it will ensure cars don't swerve dangerously to pass each other. And the center turn lane will ensure turning cars don't back up traffic behind them. The goal of the traffic flow should be to keep cars moving slowly and steadily, not in fast bursts. 

 

I like the idea of the Sycamore/Auburn/Dorchester intersection being "re-shaped" as proposed, with the street curving and creating a new 3-way stop sign intersection at Dorchester/Sycamore/Auburn. My only request is that this proposed intersection should remove the "right turn" lanes and instead have curb bumpouts. With my proposed bumpouts, there would be just one lane entering the intersection from each direction. Intersections with two lanes approaching a stop sign (as southbound Auburn does currently) create confusion and potential for dangerous behavior. This new configuration would be simple for vehicles and pedestrians to navigate. It will improve flow over the current configuration in the following ways:

  • it removes the south part of Auburn
  • it removes the west part of Dorchester
  • it shifts the intersection onto "flatter" terrain
  • it shifts the geometry making the Auburn-to-Dorchester transition more of a "straight" line as opposed to a sharp 90-degree turn
  • the bumpouts shorten the pedestrian crossing distance and naturally slow cars
  • the bumpouts create space for on-street parking which helps serve local business and create a safe buffer for pedestrians on the sidewalk

Overall, I believe Mt Auburn has great potential to be a neighborhood where people want to live and walk to work or nearby businesses. But that potential will only be realized if Auburn Ave is designed to ensure cars drive at safe speeds and that pedestrians feel safe walking along sidewalks and in crosswalks.

 

I hope the City will work with the neighborhood and DOTE to modify the proposed design to ensure pedestrian safety and neighborhood vitality are key considerations.

 

Thanks,

John

 

Auburn Ave improvements.jpg

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, jwulsin said:

Believe it or not, it's possible to create safe, functional intersections without resorting to "confusing" or "complicated" designs. I don't think the current intersection design is ideal. Especially if we want to see businesses move into the commercial spaces at the intersection, it makes for a very hostile experience trying to navigate that intersection as a pedestrian today. 

 

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we should intentionally design intersections to be confusing. I'm just saying simpler isn't always better. I do think something needs to be done at this intersection but I think the radii at the proposed intersection might be too wide. It could encourage people turning from Auburn to Dorchester and vice versa to run the stop sign. But overall I'm less concerned about the intersection proposal than I am about the 5 lanes. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the last Mt. Auburn Community Council meeting, the council voted to support a tax abatement for the Flat Iron building at 5 point intersection of Sycamore, Dorchester, and Auburn. I believe one of the Neyer entities is involved.

 

The building is 4 total floors. The top two floors will each be a one-bedroom apartment. Views from the top floor are apparently really good. They are looking to rent these at market rate. They have an interesting configuration.

 

The second floor (ground floor on Dorchester and the main entrance) is supposed to be a combination coffee shop/wine bar. They didn't name a person or group responsible, but it seems like they have been in talks with someone to operate it.

 

The first floor could be considered the basement from Dorchester, but it would be considered street level on Sycamore. The plan is to continue the coffee shop/wine bar into that space. It would at a minimum have fire/emergency doors to exit the building, but they aren't sure if they would use it for an entrance. Some of the plans for the first floor/basement is dependent on fire codes and occupancy conditions. This is the part with the stone walls that were exposed.

 

They have a pretty ambitious schedule - looking to begin construction over the summer and completed by winter. They said all of the structural issues were taken care of, and now it would just be demolition of some interior spaces and then build-out. They would also be looking to enhance the sidewalk directly outside of the building.

 

No current plans for the parcels to the west that are now just the stone foundations. Could build there later.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is great news. That building has huge potential and I'm glad it's getting a good mixed-use program.  Any idea of the price point on the residential? But the wine bar/coffee shop piece is yet another reason we should oppose the plan to make Auburn less pedestrian friendly. 

 

I also saw that Body Snatcher had part of its roof caved in the other day. Not sure if this was damage from nature or intentional demolition, but I don't see them recovering from it. I would guess the building is likely being demolished either way. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Largue said:

This is great news. That building has huge potential and I'm glad it's getting a good mixed-use program.  Any idea of the price point on the residential? But the wine bar/coffee shop piece is yet another reason we should oppose the plan to make Auburn less pedestrian friendly. 

 

The price point I think I remember getting thrown around was $1.70 per square foot, but I can't recall exactly. They aren't very big units.

 

8 minutes ago, Largue said:

I also saw that Body Snatcher had part of its roof caved in the other day. Not sure if this was damage from nature or intentional demolition, but I don't see them recovering from it. I would guess the building is likely being demolished either way. 

 

A car hit a pedestrian, then fled the scene and ran into the Body Snatcher.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, ryanlammi said:

The price point I think I remember getting thrown around was $1.70 per square foot, but I can't recall exactly. They aren't very big units.

 

Not too bad if you are talking the rental price. At 600 SF they would be 1,020/month. 

 

5 minutes ago, ryanlammi said:

A car hit a pedestrian, then fled the scene and ran into the Body Snatcher.

 

Wow that's much worse than anything I imagined. Hope the pedestrian is okay. Still makes me think Body Snatcher will be closed for good. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for the Flat Iron, I expect it will start construction this year, but doubt it would be ready until Spring 2020. But I'm not on the development team, so maybe they are further along than I believe.

 

Just looked up more info about the Body Snatcher. Apparently it wasn't just a pedestrian. The driver intentionally tried to run over the person after they had an altercation in the parking lot.

 

http://www.fox19.com/2019/04/24/driver-arrested-after-crashing-vehicle-into-building/

  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There were some crew in the Body Snatcher lot today doing some drilling. Could be environmental testing for a planned redevelopment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ According to the rendering that @jwulsin posted earlier in this thread, The Body Snatcher was going to be demolished anyway for the widening/relocation of Auburn Avenue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no proposed development at the Body Snatcher. Travis is right. The building and a portion of the land will be taken or sold to the city for a realignment of the roadway.

 

The Body Snatcher is likely coming down soon after that damage from the car a couple months ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...