Friday, March 28, 2008

Cincinnati council resolves to save Queensgate businesses, light rail options

Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously to support Brent Spence Bridge Alternative Four (PDF), sparing the loss of multiple businesses in the Queensgate neighborhood.

The resolution from Councilmember Roxanne Qualls came following a study of all of the conceptual corridor alternatives by the City's Department of Transportation and Engineering (DOTE).

The alternatives were evaluated based on the local street grid, maintaining points of access, potential for reasonable understanding by the public, and potential excess land for development.

Alternatives One and Two were found to be detrimental to existing and future businesses in Queensgate, causing a significant economic loss both in jobs and in the City's tax base.

DOTE also expressed reservations about plans containing only two through lanes in each direction, preferring three.

Alternative Three was ruled out largely due to access issues, the creation of additional signalized intersections, and possible driver confusion and signage difficulties.

Qualls believes that pursuing Alternative Four will allow for a better assessment of the design to make sure that full access to Downtown, Queensgate and the West End is retained.

The resolution also says the following:

* Expresses opposition to the elimination of access to I-75 North from Freeman Avenue
* Urges the Ohio Department of Transportation to develop direct access to westbound Sixth Street/US-50 from I-75 South and to I-75 North from eastbound Sixth Street/US-50
* Requests that the design of the I-75/Western Hills Viaduct interchange analyze both the study and design of Western Hills Viaduct replacement and the safety and capacity needs of McMillan Avenue

In the study, some attention was also paid to a future light rail system and how it could best make use of a new bridge and ramp system.

"Consideration could be made to accomodate light rail on the new Brent Spence alignments, freeing the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge of the potential future conflicts," the study says. "This would allow the light rail to travel on the south side of Third Street in Cincinnati to Elm Street, then travel south along the new alignment of the Brent Spence ramp system and bridge to cross the river into Covington, and proceed toward the airport along I-75."

The northbound light rail could share the structure and then travel east along Second Street, eliminating safety and capacity issues along Third Street between Elm Street and the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge.

A collection of all of the proposed alternatives can be found here.

Previous reading on BC:
Brent Spence project releases amended schedule (2/27/08)