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Guest Gordon Bombay

Cincinnati's Riverfront Transit Center

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It appears there is going to be a concert in the Riverfront Transit Center! Just saw an event this morning called SCION Exposed (don't worry, it isn't a porn site).

 

From the website:

Scion's 8th Exposed event will be a whole new experience of fun that takes place below the streets of Cincinnati. Scion Exposed is an immersive party for all ages. Located in a half-mile long underground tunnel in downtown Cincinnati, the FREE EVENT will include an array of activities for everyone. Upon arrival at the entrance to the Exposed tunnel, Scion will fully engage you in the event space with Car Shows, Food Trucks, Beverages, Skate Parks, Video Games, and many surprises. Those that make it to the far end of the tunnel will be greeted by the sounds of hot national artists. Exposed is free with an RSVP, so you are encouraged to bring a friend or two or three. Don't worry, this tunnel doesn't get cramped. We have plenty of room.

 

We'll see you in the tunnel on September 15th, rain or shine

 

Music:

RJD2

Chairlift

Walshy Fire (Major Lazer)

DJ Etrayn

DAAP Girls

Archer's Paradox

 

Should be an interesting event! Anyone else know anything about it?

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MGK was in the movie Nerve ... Wasn't really that bad of a movie. Reminded me of Mr. Robot.

 

I'd love to see Girl Talk live ... seems like they'd put on a good show, especially in a tunnel. jmecklenborg, aren't you going just to see MGK live??

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MGK was in the movie Nerve ... Wasn't really that bad of a movie. Reminded me of Mr. Robot.

 

I'd love to see Girl Talk live ... seems like they'd put on a good show, especially in a tunnel. jmecklenborg, aren't you going just to see MGK live??

 

Wonder what kind of show someone with an I-71 shield tattooed on his shoulder will put on with I-71 humming by on the other side of the wall. 

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This actually looks pretty sick. I saw Nas a few years back and he put on probably the 2nd best hip hop show I've ever seen live. Girl Talk would just be fun, too.

 

Not at all a fan of MGK, nor do I care to check him out. Not my thing. I'm not too familiar with the rest of the lineup either, but I'll get a ticket just for Nas and Girl Talk.

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Its a shame we just don't use the RTC for what it was designed for....transit.


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

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On Friday evening, the RTC's Eastern entrance had about a foot of water blocking it and the western entrance had some water accumulating near Paul Brown Stadium. By today (Monday), water seemed to be flowing through the center. The above ground entrances were fogging up. Metro's parking shuttle had to detour off of Mehring Way, but the RTC isn't open to passengers so no transit users were impacted. If the RTC was used as Metro's central hub in lieu of Government Square, I wonder what the detour set up would've been for this kind of flooding.... a 2nd/3rd street temporary transit corridor?

flood20182_014.jpg.04a9672427b89fb65281d5235b52b3ab.jpg

flood20182_013.jpg.af606cb0a3f06f5d5c8230ecada8ad0a.jpg

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Luckily this is a once-a-decade or so event, so it would only impact a few days every decade. I imagine it would be a giant cluster on 2nd/3rd and more routes detoured to Govt. Square that had previously been rerouted to the transit center.

 

But those transit center windows are gross.

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In the event of the Transit Center flooding, which should only happen once a decade or so (as ryanlammi[/member] mentioned), the police should just designate one lane of 2nd Street and one lane of 3rd Street as transit-only to handle those buses. It wouldn't be unreasonable to have police directing traffic for such an event since it's so rare.

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The transit center had some damage due to Ohio River flooding. The repairs will cost ~$1.2 million and be paid for by FEMA. Of course, the Enquirer treats this is an opportunity to parrot out COAST's talking points: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2018/09/18/remember-seldom-used-riverfront-transit-center-now-its-closed-and-cost-1-2-m-fix/1334795002/

 

 

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The Transit Center served as Government Square during Blink Weekend.  It was kind of crazy seeing all of the busses, all around town, all weekend, with "transit center" reading on their front route boards.  Also, the little back screen that usually shows the route number instead said "RTC". 

 

During Blink, there was a ton of bus traffic on Mehring Way as the various used it as their turnaround rather than turning at either and of the Transit Center and coming out the way they came in.  

 

 

 

 

transitcenter.JPG

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Ronny Salerno and Phil Armstrong took some great pictures of the RTC in use.

 

1 hour ago, jmecklenborg said:

It was kind of crazy seeing all of the busses, all around town, all weekend, with "transit center" reading on their front route boards.  Also, the little back screen that usually shows the route number instead said "RTC". 

 

SORTA ran a bunch of extra buses in between the RTC and the special park-and-ride locations that were set up for Blink. Technically these were not a special shuttle (I believe there is a federal regulation that prohibits public transit agencies from running shuttles for special events), they were extra buses that ran an existing Metro route, but only between the RTC and the park-and-ride. So the not-a-shuttle to Cincinnati State was technically a 20 bus that turned back after reaching Cincinnati State rather than continuing up Hamilton Avenue. Metro differentiated these special buses by using white text on all of the exterior boards rather than the yellow text that typical typical buses use. (Embedding one of Phil's photos below to illustrate.)

 

It was also crazy to see so many buses on streets like Mehring Way and Eggleston Ave. that don't usually have much/any bus traffic.

NZ6_9854.jpg

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Thanks for the shout out, @taestell!

So, does anyone think that the RTC's usage for Blink may prompt a question on the center's future usability? Could the idea of using it as a Gov. Square replacement be something tied into the "Reinventing Metro" campaign? Granted there are logistical hurdles: cost to run, rerouting buses, etc.—but could the recent use be used to capture the imagination?

Metro + TANK combined in the RTC (maybe you get Greyhound and Megabus/other charters on board), make it an Uber/Lyft geofence for ball games, etc? Combine that with a more frequent/reliable streetcar and other circulator bus routes/Southbank Shuttle and you could have something good. 

Any chances? Wishful thinking?

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Just now, Gordon Bombay said:

Any chances? Wishful thinking?

 

There is still no easy way for local or express buses to reach the Transit Center, so I believe that it will continue as a charter bus terminal.  

 

It's still best-oriented as a passenger rail/commuter rail terminal.  Unfortunately, with Homerama + dozens of other million-dollar homes going up on the east side, it's unlikely that the east siders will ever allow regular transit or intercity traffic on the east line out to Lunken Airport.  The West Side and service up the Millcreek Valley lines is still possible, however.  There is little population to serve out to the west, and serving the north means a 4th mainline from Ivorydale Junction to the yard throat, then a bypass of 4 miles of railroad yard, so not cheap.  

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They should move the Greyhound buses down there and tear down their current ugly station. Give them a sweetheart deal on rent. 


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

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20 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

There is still no easy way for local or express buses to reach the Transit Center, so I believe that it will continue as a charter bus terminal.  

 

It's still best-oriented as a passenger rail/commuter rail terminal.  Unfortunately, with Homerama + dozens of other million-dollar homes going up on the east side, it's unlikely that the east siders will ever allow regular transit or intercity traffic on the east line out to Lunken Airport.  The West Side and service up the Millcreek Valley lines is still possible, however.  There is little population to serve out to the west, and serving the north means a 4th mainline from Ivorydale Junction to the yard throat, then a bypass of 4 miles of railroad yard, so not cheap.  

 

I don't think that the eastside commuter rail will ever happen, but it is not because of the people moving into the new million-dollar homes over there. Many of those people come from larger coastal cities with commuter rail and view it as a positive, not a negative like some of the old-money Cincinnatians might. In Philly, for example, the most desirable suburbs are along the Main Line. Those commuter trains are packed every morning with executives and high-powered attorneys. If your average SEPTA Paoli-Thorndale train were its own town, it would have the highest median income in all of Pennsylvania. 

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1 hour ago, Gordon Bombay said:

Thanks for the shout out, @taestell!

So, does anyone think that the RTC's usage for Blink may prompt a question on the center's future usability? Could the idea of using it as a Gov. Square replacement be something tied into the "Reinventing Metro" campaign? Granted there are logistical hurdles: cost to run, rerouting buses, etc.—but could the recent use be used to capture the imagination?

Metro + TANK combined in the RTC (maybe you get Greyhound and Megabus/other charters on board), make it an Uber/Lyft geofence for ball games, etc? Combine that with a more frequent/reliable streetcar and other circulator bus routes/Southbank Shuttle and you could have something good. 

Any chances? Wishful thinking?

 

It would be easy for TANK to move to the RTC. Some of their buses switch back and forth between Kenton and Campbell County routes between the Covington Transit Center and Cincinnati.

 

Also it has decent access to 75 north on and off via Central Ave. 71 north at 5th via Broadway, south from 3rd... So they could make express buses work.

 

Also the 50/28 and Metro + (which already turns around down there) could be added pretty easily.

 

Finally, ride may work down there but I think the addition of cars in a bus terminal could create some confusion. It's not impossible because there is sooooo much space down there, probably about as long as the drop off zone at CVG.


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

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It wouldn't make sense to have TANK and some Metro buses go to RTC and other Metro buses go to Government Square. The only thing that makes having TANK and SORTA separate be tolerable from a UX perspective is having all (or the vast majority of) connections in one place.

 

That said, I think if there were some tinkering with transit-only lanes (like on 4th Street, with one counter-flow, and on Central and Broadway) it could work. Especially if some signal priority were worked in. I believe there are plans to move the ramp to 75 north to a different street (or add another ramp?) along with the plans for the new bridge, which would help to the extent this plan would be reducing lanes for 75N's feeder street (4th). Most of the intersections directly impacting highway ramps would be avoided since Central and Broadway go under them. There would be various options for north- and south-bound routes through the CBD if everything is no longer funneled to Main and Walnut. Including the possibility that Vine could be turned into a north/south transit corridor which, together with the streetcar, could allow for some crosstown routes to skip the RTC all together since the connection frequency is so high.

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I think contraflow bus-only lanes are way more effective than standard bus-only lanes because drivers actually respect a double yellow line whereas they are much more likely to ignore other "bus only" pavement markings. Unfortunately the idea of contraflow lanes (be it for bikes or transit) is way too progressive for the people currently in charge of DOTE.

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How much of Government Square's "business" is transferring between routes versus origin/destination downtown trips?  I see moving to RTC being less useful in both cases for riders, though maybe more so for one use-case versus another.  Government Square is already a bit too far south to be the downtown origin/destination hub for anyone who works above 8th or 9th Street.  It's easier to get a bus at one of the other downtown stops on the way.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  It gives some options if you don't work near Government Square.  If the hub is moved to the RTC, then fewer people will use it since it's even more skewed out of downtown's center.  Rerouting buses and making it the only option will certainly piss off more people than it helps, assuming it gets more origin/destination use. 

 

If it's more for transfers, then there might be a better argument, but again, unless the rest of the downtown stops are eliminated or routes seriously rerouted, it may just mean that more people choose to make their transfers elsewhere.  It's not like Metro is a hyper-efficient rapid transit system that whisks people into downtown in a flash such that they'd tolerate a mode change to the streetcar or some other downtown circulator system.  Especially not the way it's run now, with 10-15 minute wait times and anti-priority.  Take that hour long bus ride and add another 20+ minutes to it?  I don't see that flying with anyone.   

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3 minutes ago, jjakucyk said:

How much of Government Square's "business" is transferring between routes versus origin/destination downtown trips?  I see moving to RTC being less useful in both cases for riders, though maybe more so for one use-case versus another.  Government Square is already a bit too far south to be the downtown origin/destination hub for anyone who works above 8th or 9th Street.  It's easier to get a bus at one of the other downtown stops on the way.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  It gives some options if you don't work near Government Square.  If the hub is moved to the RTC, then fewer people will use it since it's even more skewed out of downtown's center.  Rerouting buses and making it the only option will certainly piss off more people than it helps, assuming it gets more origin/destination use. 

 

If it's more for transfers, then there might be a better argument, but again, unless the rest of the downtown stops are eliminated or routes seriously rerouted, it may just mean that more people choose to make their transfers elsewhere.  It's not like Metro is a hyper-efficient rapid transit system that whisks people into downtown in a flash such that they'd tolerate a mode change to the streetcar or some other downtown circulator system.  Especially not the way it's run now, with 10-15 minute wait times and anti-priority.  Take that hour long bus ride and add another 20+ minutes to it?  I don't see that flying with anyone.   

 

Errebody gotta walk across an Interstate to do their business then. Had the economic center of gravity moved south of FWW like some people thought was going to happen (at least much more quickly than it has) there might have been a case for it. Or, if say, a train ran though it...

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If it was hosting rail service that would be a bit of a different story.  That wouldn't be unlike Chicago where all the major train stations are at the periphery of downtown.  In that case, there's shuttle bus, 'L', and even river taxi services to take you east and west across downtown.  The CTA buses don't stop at the periphery though, they feed through.  At the same time, because of the 'L' and Metra, comparatively few buses go to downtown, it's mostly the ones that run on the streets that also happen to traverse downtown. 

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Certainly the main function would be for transfers. And it would be more useful to transfer north of the RTC in many cases. I don't think that's a big problem. At a minimum, transfers between TANK and SORTA would still occur in the RTC. I would imagine bus routes downtown being more simplified, so that outbound buses could be grouped in the hub by the streets they use to go north on above 4th. So that, if it's not convenient to get off on the way into the hub (say your inbound bus goes down Plum and your destination is on Sycamore or Main), you can go to the Main Street area and catch any bus heading up Main, which should be pretty frequent given it would be multiple routes. (I'm not sure how the Gov't Square areas are organized.)

 

You might be right that it wouldn't work out, but I think it would be worth looking at as a partial system redesign. All the downtown portions of routes would have to be looked at. I think the big question is whether getting around within downtown could be made faster and easier based on more organized route behavior that has greater coverage from 2nd to McMicken, Central to Broadway.

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