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Cincinnati: Downtown: Fort Washington Way Cap Project

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I have no other comments on the length of a tunnel and the ventilation requirements except if they did cap the entire blocks between race and walnut, the distance would cover just over 1000 feet (from the exterior edges of each street). Roughly 1030 feet of tunnel according to Google maps.

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32 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

The piles were not driven to the edge of the overpasses.  There is a 10~ foot gap between the east edge of the Race St. overpass and where the piles were driven, then another between the piles and the west side of the Vine St. overpass.  That pattern repeated for the cap between Vine and Walnut.  Piles were driven for "half" caps to the west of the Race St. overpass and another east of the Walnut St. overpass.  The two overpasses with the fake cable-stayed towers have no piles near them. 

 

I'm not an engineer so I don't know what the actual textbook regulation is - I'm going by my recollection of news articles from that time, along with photos I took of the piles being installed. 

 

Also, rows of piles were driven on the north side of the sloping trench wall and on the south side of that same wall, between the slope and the actual flood wall, which is straight up-and-down.  I don't know why the south and north lines of piles were needed at the time, but they're there.  I'm also skeptical as to how much of a disruption was avoided by sinking the center median piles during construction of the highway.  By my recollection, it didn't take very long, maybe 2-3 weeks to install everything. 

 

 

 

 

 

OT but I want to check out Cincinnati-transit.net and it's gone. What happened?

Edited by Rabbit Hash

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1 hour ago, Rabbit Hash said:

OT but I want to check out Cincinnati-transit.net and it's gone. What happened?

 

I let it expire.  I have everything saved, though.  I'm going to do a new website after I scan all of my old slides and negatives, which is going to be a multi-week project.  All of those photos on there were scans from 4x6 prints from Walgreen's or wherever but scans from negatives will look a lot better. 

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17 hours ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

I let it expire.  I have everything saved, though.  I'm going to do a new website after I scan all of my old slides and negatives, which is going to be a multi-week project.  All of those photos on there were scans from 4x6 prints from Walgreen's or wherever but scans from negatives will look a lot better. 

 

Oh wow, I was going to reference it for my cities skylines project to get subway related stuff down (though your book is generally an even better resource).

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1 hour ago, neilworms said:

 

Oh wow, I was going to reference it for my cities skylines project to get subway related stuff down (though your book is generally an even better resource).


I have a huge stack of materials that I need to take to a bulk scanner.  It's like 20" high of photocopies of news articles and other stuff.  Doing it one page at a time would take a month. 

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6 minutes ago, Cygnus said:

From this article: Portune, Cranley strike a deal on developing the rest of the Banks

 

  • The city and county will work together on options to place decks over Fort Washington Way.

 

This is promising but I wish there was an actual time table discussed. I feel like capping Fort Washington way has been discussed for years now 

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It has been. For good reason. It's a huge undertaking and the reality is that its specifics really depended on the long-term successes and failures of The Banks.

 

I'm nervous it's going to wind up being parks. Not that I dislike parks, but it won't do a good job of bridging the gap and will detract from the world class park on the riverfront that is already fairly huge for the population it serves. There should be a strong push to build out buildings on the caps.

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I'd be fine if one of the caps became a park.  The one right behind the Freedom Center would make sense since the land infront of it isn't fully developed.  It would be great for Oktoberfest and other festivals.  But yeah not all of them should be parks, put some development on them that will hopefully help slow down traffic on 2nd and 3rd.  

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The biannual argument about whether the caps should have buildings or not.

 

I've stated this before, but I'm all for open public spaces for the most part. 

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According to this document, the only way to get anything built up straight to Vine Street is to abandon the caps west of race and east of Walnut. Every other alternative showed 25' wide slots along each North/South street due to the definition of "tunnel".

 

Not sure if anything has changed since they evaluated these options 18 years ago.

image.thumb.png.3b368c1f674e4786457f1310bc8d3302.png

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Parks atop FWW would be virtually unusable - there would still be significant highway noise from the adjacent blocks, there would be a lack of shade for several years (if not indefintely - I'm not sure how big trees can get atop a highway cap), 2nd and 3rd Streets would still be among the worst downtown streets for pedestrians to cross, and there's a far better park a block to the south - and a better square a block to the north. In my opinion, it's not worth the effort without some sort of building - even if it's something like a two story restaurant/bar/roof deck.

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It seems like parks would be most usable if the Race St. and Walnut St. bridges were included in the park space too... limiting traffic across FWW to Elm, Vine or Main. 

 

It'd require conversion of all of those to 2-way streets, and to make it better maybe the Streetcar track could be taken off the Main St. bridge and go on the Race and Walnut St. bridges only.

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1 hour ago, Ram23 said:

Parks atop FWW would be virtually unusable - there would still be significant highway noise from the adjacent blocks, there would be a lack of shade for several years (if not indefintely - I'm not sure how big trees can get atop a highway cap), 2nd and 3rd Streets would still be among the worst downtown streets for pedestrians to cross, and there's a far better park a block to the south - and a better square a block to the north. In my opinion, it's not worth the effort without some sort of building - even if it's something like a two story restaurant/bar/roof deck.

 

Interesting question about the trees. This is a circa 2009 photo (and it's super low resolution and doesn't show much detail), but if you look at the circle—those boxes hold the soil for the planters/trees along that stretch of road at The Banks. I imagine, since The Banks actually sit above a massive garage, that this kind of construction limits the tree's growth/lifespan. I would think FWW decks would be similar? 

 



I agree, the spaces above need to be usable and I worry that if they were to install park space or green space—would someone be opposed the second that someone wants to build on them? Which begs the question: would anyone want to build on these decks? I.E. Is there enough potential in open downtown surface lots, redevelopment space, and the rest of The Banks that more space isn't even needed at this time?

transitupdate_0021.jpg

Edited by Gordon Bombay

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image.thumb.png.a3f50d3fc92ef57f1807378ec7170761.png

 

Could always do what Columbus did and put single story restaurants/shops lining the street. Then put greenspace behind the stores (columbus doesn't have that)

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1 hour ago, Ram23 said:

Parks atop FWW would be virtually unusable - there would still be significant highway noise from the adjacent blocks, there would be a lack of shade for several years (if not indefintely - I'm not sure how big trees can get atop a highway cap), 2nd and 3rd Streets would still be among the worst downtown streets for pedestrians to cross, and there's a far better park a block to the south - and a better square a block to the north. In my opinion, it's not worth the effort without some sort of building - even if it's something like a two story restaurant/bar/roof deck.

 

Dallas did this to their own FWW and it's always active (I see it every year):

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klyde_Warren_Park

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"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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An outrageous unique sculpture that creates wind and noise breaks. Plus, creates shade and shelter for the public would be a great solution. Like St. Lou Arch, or the space needle in Seattle or this wood construction in Seville, Parasol.

Parasol-in-Seville-by-J.-Mayer-H.-Architects-Homesthetics-3.jpg

 

metropol-parasol-1-1.jpg

Edited by RJohnson
better photo
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That park in Dallas looks like a good example to see how Dallas was able to get 1220 feet of tunnel without any obvious openings (vents or slots adjacent to streets).

 

The total length of tunnel in Cincinnati (if it followed a similar design to Dallas with no obvious openings):

As shown above with 25' wide slots along Race/Walnut but built up to Vine: 770 Feet
West side of Race to east side of Walnut: 1035 Feet
All 4 Caps going to midblock past Race and Walnut: 1425 Feet

 

It should definitely be evaluated whether this can happen.

 

I would be thrilled with an option that includes all 4 caps built up to the North/South streets for a continuous tunnel that has buildings on the half-sized caps on the ends and open space on the two large caps in the middle.

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My view, whether it is perfect or not, is that it would be really good to get this done whether it's parks or buildings. I thought I had read sometime they could do up to 4 stories on them, that would be a huge difference in and of itself, to bridge that gap.

 

I only wonder if they would first want to build out the rest of the banks then go to this, but if the City is taking control of some of the lots they can push to get development going on those lots while at the same time getting the caps figured out.

 

I think then too they would need to figure out ways to calm the traffic on 3rd and 2nd street or whatever they call those streets now.

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^It can hold up to 4 stories according to the original report I linked earlier.

 

I also think the city/county can do two things at the same time. They should figure out their plan, and then apply for federal funds every cycle until they get what they need to complete the project. A lot of this will likely be paid for with outside funding, so we might as well be trying to do this now instead of sitting on it for another decade..

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^ I agree, they should be pushing for this with federal grants at every turn and even if nothing gets built on them right away, at least then they are in place to move forward with development.

 

It really is a big psychological barrier to the rest of downtown going over a bridge. With all the development going on 4th Street it will really help connect Fountain Square to the Banks.

 

There are some deadzones between all the development just going from the Banks to OTR up Vine/Race:

 

Starting from the Banks: Fort Washington Way, some spots between Fountain Square and 4th Street (though improving quickly), then from 6th/7th street up to Court. The biggest challenge will obviously be the space between 6th/7th/8th up to Court/Central Parkway, but if they can get the caps on it will make up a ton of space and ultimately I believe help 4th Street and 3rd Street development be that much more successful that much more quickly.

 

People who decide to live on 4th Street then hopefully more development on 3rd street will be that much more attracted with perceived easier access to the Banks or more pleasant access than what is there currently. It will be a Win/Win/Win

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I just came here from looking at all the posts on The Banks thread and this really really needs to happen for Cincinnati. The Dallas linear park and the High Street Cap that were mentioned are good examples. A combo of both would be great. Cincinnati really needs to do this-it seems like a no brainer to me. Is it kind of so obvious that it is overlooked?-sort of like how Columbus was fine with the Scioto River downtown being a sewage sedimentation pond until they finally took down the low head damn and have a free flowing river with many acres of greenspace along it. All I can think is why did we wait so long-it seems like that here... it is just so obvious to me looking at it as an outsider anyway.

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If I can overgeneralize a bit, I think Greater Cincinnati tends to do a good job with major transformative projects but doesn't tend to do a good job with all the little implementation details that follow. In this case I think Cincinnati/Hamilton County did an incredible job with the rebuild of FWW, which was a bit ahead of its time and obviously laid the groundwork for the stadiums, Smale Park, and the Freedom Center. However there were many other forward-thinking ideas adjacent to the FWW rebuild, and many of them struggled because after the initial rah-rah spirit wore off, there was no one left to advocate for them. The Banks has moved at a snails pace and we've now decided to disband the joint city-county Steering Committee and just divide up the remaining parcels for the city and county to develop separately. The Riverfront Transit Center has been used for many things over the years but was only used to its full potential for the first time this year during BLINK, nearly two decades after it was completed. And even then, many City and Chamber leaders were fighting against the RTC being used, but fortunately Metro kept pushing them on it and eventually won that battle. The FWW caps are a similar thing -- there is just nobody who really cares that much about them and is making an effort to push the idea forward and make it a top priority. If the city made it clear that capping FWW is a major priority and was out there applying for every federal grant that could fund them, or lobbying the state to include funding for the caps in the next transportation bill, they may have been built by now.

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