Monday, January 12, 2009

MWCC: Don't let a few negative comments outweigh desires of community

Surveys on proposed traffic calming measures for Beechmont Avenue show that the majority of neighborhood residents support it, according to a letter from the Mount Washington Community Council (MWCC) board of directors to Cincinnati City Council.

The letter was in response to a communication to the City from a Mr. Collins, who on several occasions referred to the measures outlined in a September 10 motion by Cincinnati councilmember Roxanne Qualls as a "joke".

The motion, supported by the MWCC, included such improvements as landscaped medians, street trees, narrower lanes, and bike lanes -- all in an attempt to slow down speeding traffic and improve the walkability of the stretch of road between Elstun Road and Burney Lane.

"Please do not allow the negative comments of a few people to outweigh the desires and aspirations of the majority of our neighborhood," the MWCC board says.

The board says that the proposed improvements are not a "joke", but are traffic-calming techniques recognized as effective by design and engineering professionals.

"The recent reconstruction of Beechmont Avenue removed a changeable lane on Beechmont hill and generally made the street safer for motorists," the board says. "We are requesting these traffic calming improvements to take the reconstruction one step further and provide a street that is safe for pedestrians and bicyclists as well."

The board believes that the measures are necessary for the well-being of the neighborhood business district.

"There is no question that the neighborhood business district located on Beechmont Avenue, in Mt. Washington, is an urban business corridor," the MWCC board says. "Traffic calming enhancements are intended to improve safety, economic development, property value, and aesthetic image of our neighborhood."

All of these principles appear in the Mount Washington Comprehensive Plan.

"This plan was created through the work of hundreds of stakeholders living and/or working in our neighborhood," the board says.

Traffic improvement surveys conducted by the MWCC show that most of the complaints about the proposal have been coming from Anderson Township and points farther east, from drivers who use Beechmont Avenue to travel to and from Downtown Cincinnati.

"It appears that the complaints regarding traffic calming in Mt. Washington are primarily based on how quickly motorists can travel through our neighborhood," the board says. "However, it is our belief that non-city residents should not dictate the quality of life for tax paying city residents who live in Mt. Washington."

To make sure that it got its point across, the board added that "it is our belief that the health, safety, and well-being of the residents of Mt. Washington are superior to creating a rapid route through our neighborhood for those who reside outside the City of Cincinnati".

Previous reading on BC:
Resident: Traffic calming on Beechmont a 'joke' (12/17/08)
MWCC releases Beechmont Street Improvement Survey (10/24/08)
Mount Washington rezonings seek compact, pedestrian-friendly development (9/18/08)