Friday, May 31, 2013

Liberty St 'road diet' advances, to be bid by Nov. 2014

Cincinnati is moving ahead with a "road diet" for Liberty Street, an idea that is meant to eliminate the perceived barrier between the northern and southern portions of Over-the-Rhine and to open up more than four acres of vacant or underutilized parcels for redevelopment.

In a May 15 report to City Council prepared by Department of Transportation and Engineering (DOTE) Director Michael Moore, DOTE Acting City Architect Matthew Andrews, and DOTE Project Engineer Martha Kelly said that the addition of $400,000 in City funding through an expansion of its casino-area infrastructure improvements program will allow the City to move forward with the study and design of the high-traffic roadway.

The report is in response to an April 2012 motion directing DOTE to explore Complete Streets solutions such as lane reductions, improved intersections, widened sidewalks, bump outs, bike lanes, and improved streetscapes between Central Parkway and Sycamore Street.

The changes eventually could be extended all the way to Reading Road.

Conceptual alternatives are scheduled for completion by this October, with refined design documents expected to be completed by the end of the year. The project will be bid by November 2014.

The proposal was part of the Over-the-Rhine Brewery District Master Plan, which seeks to correct problems resulting from the 1957 widening of the roadway that resulted in the demolition of dozens of buildings and the removal of the street's once dense urban fabric.

The plan suggests a street consisting of five lanes, with a shared center turn lane and a parallel parking lane in each direction. Five-foot-wide bicycle lanes would be provided in each direction, separated from vehicular traffic by concrete curbs that could be used to hold parking meters, street lights, and signage.

The master plan was recommended for Council approval by the City Planning Commission on May 17.

An additional $70,000 in DOTE capital funds will be used to study Liberty Street between Central Parkway and Western Avenue in the West End, which should begin in early 2015.

Previous reading on BC:
Planning Commission Friday: Goetz House, Oakley Kroger, Brewery District plan (5/16/13)
Liberty Street 'road diet', other changes moving forward (12/20/12)
'Road diet' for Liberty Street pursued (5/14/12)
Architectural Foundation releases Brewery District report (6/18/09)
Draft Brewery District charrette report available for comment (4/30/09)