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Cincinnati: Liberty Street Road Diet

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Bipartisan council coalition set to override Cranley vetoes today

 

Five Democrats and one Republican on Cincinnati City Council are expected today to override Mayor John Cranley’s vetoes of funding for the city’s major business accelerators, the Center for Closing the Health Gap and a project that will narrow Liberty Street to five lanes. 

 

The group of council members expected to vote for the overrides include Republican Jeff Pastor and Democrats Chris Seelbach, P.G. Sittenfeld, Greg Landsman, Wendell Young and Tamaya Dennard. Legislation also will be introduced to tweak the sources of funding for the various items.

 

If the overrides are carried out, it will be a major defeat for the mayor, who held a blistering news conference last week accusing council of fiscal irresponsibility in the closeout budget for fiscal year 2018, which ended on July 1.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/10/17/bipartisan-council-coalition-set-to-override.html


"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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Cranley is still hinting that the road diet won't happen. He's basically saying that council has allocated funding for the project but doesn't require DOTE to move forward with the "final" plan that was presented to the community. So, don't let out a sigh of relief just yet. Cranley's going to keep f***ing with this project.

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This project is such a no-brainer but has no real need for urgency that Cranley is just going to keep extracting concessions for the rest of the time he's in office.  He's a spectacular jackass. 

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Today marks three months since City Council passed a funding plan for the Liberty Street road diet and instructed the administration to move forward with the project. Yet there is no evidence that the city is doing anything. The city's website for the project hasn't been updated in 6 months. I emailed the new DOTE director yesterday to try to get a status and haven't received a response.

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Except that for the Liberty Street project, City Council did pass a legally binding ordinance providing the funding and directing the admin to move forward with the project. I don't think a similar ordinance exists for the bike plan.

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I emailed the DOTE director one week ago to ask for a status update on this project and have received no response.

 

I emailed several council members and they all replied and said they're looking into it.

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We did some digging and found that the city is studying several new options for Liberty Street that were not part of the previous community input sessions and do not narrow the total width of the street.

cycletrack2.jpg

 

What happened to the Liberty Street road diet?

 

The idea of adding bike lanes returned in early October 2018, when city staff began to “brainstorm different scenarios for Liberty Street that do not involve moving the water main,” according to an email sent by a city staff member. The bike lane options would allow for some safety improvements to be implemented without narrowing the total width of the street, so they wouldn’t require the water main to be moved. However, these options would not achieve the “top priority” of the original project: significantly reducing the pedestrian crossing distance and reconnecting the northern and southern halves of the neighborhood.

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Reducing the crossing width is critical.  And slowing down the cars.  I cross it daily and feel it is only a matter of time before I become a statistic.  The cars race through, trying to beat the lights going both east and west, and pay no attention to pedestrians or bikes crossing north to south.

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To Travis's article, looks like the city is opening up the design again publicly. Just got this notice:

Quote

 

As another mention yesterday included the Liberty Street Safety Improvement Project. We will share all upcoming meetings, so everyone is aware of opportunities to learn more about this project and stay updated. Please see below and one is tonight, 6pm at Chatfield College. 


Liberty St Safety Improvement Project Meetings:

·         OTR Community Council – Parking and Transportation committee mtg – this Thursday (tonight) 7th at 6 pm – confirmed

·         OTR Community Council mtg – Feb 25th (OTR Rec Center) - confirmed 

·         OTR Community Council mtg – March 25th    - To be confirmed

·         Open House in OTR – probably April – To be confirmed

 

 

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Unfortunately I have other plans so I can't make it to tonight's meeting. Hopefully residents there will ask some questions about why the city has decided to go back to the drawing board and ignore all of the community input that they have already gathered over the past 5 years.

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The new alternative labeled "Buffered Bike Lane Option 1" is basically what was included in the OTR Brewery District Master Plan. In the one of the Woodward Theater meetings, Jeff Raser asked DOTE to include an alternative like this, and the city added it for the following meeting. However, the city's statement is correct: "Bike lanes were determined to not be a high priority and were eliminated from the options very early in the process. The top priority was pedestrian safety with a focus on the long street crossings that exist today."

 

I think of it this way. The automobile traffic lanes are exactly the same in "Buffered Bike Lane Option 1" and the "5 Lane Option". Both have a center turn lane, one full-time travel lane in each direction, and outer lanes that serve as peak travel lanes/off-peak parking. The only difference is what they do with the remaining 20' of space. The bike lane option keeps the street 90' wide and uses those 20' for bike lanes. The 5 Lane Option narrows the street to 70' and gives 20' back for development.

 

From what I observed at the meetings, the community was overwhelmingly in favor of the 5 Lane Option because it reduced the crossing distance for pedestrians and better accomplished the "stitching the neighborhood back together" goal.

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I have been informed that, as @mcmicken said, the city is about to begin doing another round of "public engagement" that will last until April, and the project will ultimately go back to council and the administration for another vote. DOTE now hopes to start construction around spring of 2020.

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I still don't understand how DOTE still thinks there's a capacity issue in the basin. If they're worried about people getting to the FC stadium they can just take Central Parkway and it'll take basically the same amount of time.


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

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18 minutes ago, BigDipper 80 said:

I still don't understand how DOTE still thinks there's a capacity issue in the basin. If they're worried about people getting to the FC stadium they can just take Central Parkway and it'll take basically the same amount of time.

I’m starting to think this may be about the parking meter revenue they would forego by having no parking on Liberty 7am-7pm. They are planning on installing parking kiosks

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1 hour ago, thebillshark said:

I’m starting to think this may be about the parking meter revenue they would forego by having no parking on Liberty 7am-7pm. They are planning on installing parking kiosks

Easy solution: keep the 5-lane option and allow paid parking all day! That’s my preferred configuration. 

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I'd like to see a study estimating the cost of a cut-and-cover tunnel under Liberty between Central Parkway and Reading.  One lane in each direction an a single central access point either at Vine or Main.  Get rid of the "Liberty St. Connector" between Sycamore and Reading and return Liberty St. proper to its original ridiculous narrow width of 20 feet, or whatever it was. 

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Yeah, that's not in the public data.  The set I have is about 20 years old now that I got from school, and it includes sewer, water, and electric utilities, but not gas or telecom.  The sheer number of electric poles is monstrously depressing. 

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5 hours ago, BigDipper 80 said:

^ Jake, you should call up your buddy Elon and see if he’d do a Boring Company project for your idea. 

 

It would be cut-and-cover. 

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2 hours ago, jjakucyk said:

Yeah, that's not in the public data.  The set I have is about 20 years old now that I got from school, and it includes sewer, water, and electric utilities, but not gas or telecom.  The sheer number of electric poles is monstrously depressing. 

 

The public GIS data can be downloaded here:

 

http://cagismaps.hamilton-co.org/cagisportal/mapdata/download

 

I believe the utility information can be found by sending FOIA requests to the respective bodies - GCWW, MSD, etc. I think they charge a fee.

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5 hours ago, jwulsin said:

Is there a way on CAGIS (or elsewhere) to view where water mains and sewers are located? 

 

In one of the Business Courier's articles, a DOTE official implied that if the street were narrowed, the water main would be located under the sidewalk on the south side of the street. He said that we couldn't have manholes in the sidewalk and that's the reason the water main would need to be moved. I don't understand that explanation, because there are plenty of places in the city where there are manholes in the sidewalk, including several streetcar stops and the new sidewalk bump-outs on Main Street.

 

This is just another anecdote that leads me to believe that the water main issue is a macguffin and the real issue is stadium traffic.

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I have no idea, I'm just going off of DOTE's statement that the water main can't be located under the sidewalk because you can't have manholes in the sidewalk, which is clearly false.

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2 minutes ago, taestell said:

I have no idea, I'm just going off of DOTE's statement that the water main can't be located under the sidewalk because you can't have manholes in the sidewalk, which is clearly false.

 

You should attend one of the liberty street project community meetings w/ the DOTE repersenatives and show them photographic evidence that they are stating lies and fake news. 

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I think the real reason is that they prefer to have mains under asphalt vs concrete as it makes repairs much easier.  Regarding a manhole for a water main, outside of some very very unique circumstances they don't really exist.

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On 1/17/2019 at 2:27 PM, taestell said:

Except that for the Liberty Street project, City Council did pass a legally binding ordinance providing the funding and directing the admin to move forward with the project. I don't think a similar ordinance exists for the bike plan.

 

At this point, is a lawsuit against the city needed? 


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

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22 hours ago, Traveler Joe said:

Not saying you can't put a manhole on the sidewalk, I'm saying you don't put a manhole to a water main.  A water main is typically surrounded by a fill material and not really accessed except for repairs.  

 

"Manhole" is definitely not the right terminology to use here, but I believe I have seen some sort of cover/access point labeled "water" in streets and sidewalks in various cities. It might just be for access to a valve or something. Whatever the case, it does not explain DOTE's claim that a water main can not be located under a sidewalk.

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1 minute ago, taestell said:

 

"Manhole" is definitely not the right terminology to use here, but I believe I have seen some sort of cover/access point labeled "water" in streets and sidewalks in various cities. It might just be for access to a valve or something. Whatever the case, it does not explain DOTE's claim that a water main can not be located under a sidewalk.

 

Agreed 100%.  It really is about access and repair and the fact that they would much rather go through asphalt vs concrete when making repairs.

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