Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Proposed council motion supports 'road diet' for Montana Avenue

Cincinnati City councilmembers Qualls, Berding, Cranley, Monzel, and vice mayor Crowley are again advocating for a narrower Montana Avenue, an option supported by Westwood's neighborhood groups.

A motion dated December 9 asks for City administration to pursue a three-lane ("road diet") alternative for the 1.8-mile section of road between Farrell Drive and Montana Avenue, with left turns at signalized intersections and right-turn lanes at Westwood Northern Boulevard, and to retain an expert on road diets to help develop the plan.

They also ask for City administration and the Department of Transportation and Engineering to work with Westwood groups to determine where on-street parking and bus pull-offs could be accommodated without impacting residential properties.

"The three-lane 'road diet' alternative offers the best opportunity to retain the residential character of the Westwood neighborhood and support the community's efforts to revitalize the business district," says a statement accompanying the motion.

According to an August memorandum submitted by traffic engineering consultant Jennifer Rosales of Parsons Brinckerhoff, the road diet approach would likely reduce speeds, decrease all types of crashes, lower the number of incidents involving cars and pedestrians and/or bicycles, and reduce the damage to cars parked on the street.

But in a report to council late last month, city manager Milton Dohoney Jr. recommended that the City pursue a four-lane alternative that would widen the road from 36 to 42 feet, adding that the road diet approach would not be competitive when seeking funding sources.

The project to improve safety and efficiency along Montana Avenue has been in the works since 2005, when the City authorized an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation to bring in $6.1 million for the anticipated $9.1 million project.

Since then, City officials, designers, and neighborhood groups have been unable to agree on a preferred alternative.

Citizens of Westwood have made clear that they want a solution that primarily serves the needs of the neighborhood's residents and the business district.

"They are seeking a plan that improves safety and traffic efficiency without the significant encroachment on the properties along Montana Avenue, and creation of a high-speed throughway for cars, that would result from plans that have been proposed to date," the statement says.

Another report from Dohoney is due before council by January 7.

Previous reading on BC:
Dohoney updates council on Montana improvements (11/26/08)