Monday, June 3, 2013

$6.9M Uptown Transit District to 'move Metro to the next level'

On Friday, Metro broke ground on its $6.9 million Uptown Transit District, which will serve as a major connection and transfer point for nine of its routes and for shuttles serving the University of Cincinnati and area employers.

The district is composed of four distinct locations, all of which will include sheltered boarding areas, real-time information boards, wayfinding and information kiosks, and enhanced streetscaping.

The locations include:
Designed by MSA Architects, the district's unified look will make navigating the system easier – especially for first-time riders.

Metro General Manager and CEO Terry Garcia Crews called it "a new concept for Cincinnati".

"If you look around the Uptown area, you can see all of the development going on in the area," she said. "We want to make sure that we're creating a great experience for our riders."

More than 55,000 people work in the Uptown neighborhoods every day, making it the second-largest employment center in the region. Add to that nearly 51,000 residents and more than 34,000 students, and you get congestion.

"Metro's new Uptown Transit District will assist in the efficient movement of people from one place to another," said Councilmember Wendell Young. "I'm really pleased that this area has grown and continues to grow."

Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) Executive Director Mark Policinski said that his organization fully supports the project and believes it's indicative of the quality of development going on in the area.

"We look at transportation as a way to develop the economy of this region," he said. "This community of Uptown is a shining example for the entire region of how to lift up a community."

This August, the new Metro*Plus bus rapid transit demonstration project will connect Downtown and Kenwood and will include a connection to the district. The service also plans to add additional east-west routes and include more shopping, entertainment, and medical destinations, Crews said.

"We're really changing the transportation profile in Cincinnati," Crews said. "We're moving Metro to the next level."

Construction of the Uptown Transit District should be completed by late 2013 or early 2014.

Partners in the Uptown Transit District include the University of Cincinnati, Uptown Consortium, and the City of Cincinnati. Funding comes from a $4 million federal Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) grant, a $1 million Federal Transit Administration earmark, and a $1.9 million contribution from the City.

Previous reading on BC:
Metro short-term service changes coming this fall (5/16/13)
Metro: 2012 one of its 'greenest years ever' (4/12/13)
Metro ridership up 4.2% in 2012 (1/25/13)
Metro phasing out tokens for tickets, passes (12/28/12)
Metro announces plans for $6.9M Uptown Transit District (10/23/12)