West side pedestrians and cyclists could soon have a safer commute to downtown, thanks to a grant that Cincinnati will use to improve access to West End, Queensgate and Lower Price Hill.
A $20 million federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant was awarded to the city for the project titled “State to Central: Building Better Neighborhoods,” according to a news release from the city. Council members want the city to chip in another $6.25 million for the project, either from city dollars or other non-federal grants.
Three west side areas will get a transportation facelift
The project includes plans to redesign three transit corridors:
- Linn Street.
- W. 8th Street
- State Avenue
"It's going to be transformational for the West End," said Cincinnati Department of Transportation director Josh Brazina while presenting on the project to city council during a Sept. 13 Climate, Environment and Infrastructure Committee meeting.
Council member Mark Jeffreys said the project will repair some of the damage done by the Brent Spence Bridge that upended thousands of Black residents during its construction in 1960.
"There were 25,000 people displaced by the highway," Jeffreys said. "Reconnecting those communities, I think, is a great opportunity."
The city will add 3.3 miles of protected bike lanes to increase connectivity between the neighborhoods and make improvements to 36 intersections. Travel lanes will be reduced, slip lanes will be removed, and traffic signals will be added, all along paths of newly-added trees.
The city will work with neighborhood councils to roll out construction starting in 2024. A completion timeline has not yet been announced.
A new wave of safer alternative transportationSafer access to roads for cyclists and pedestrians is being pushed in multiple corners of Greater Cincinnati. The
The new Beechmont Bridge Connector opens Sept. 21 and will allow users to safely travel from the Little Miami Scenic Trail to the Ohio River Trail for the first time.
Cycling safety advocates are also pushing for protection from cars in northern Kentucky where a cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run on Newport's Girl Scout Bridge in August.
The Devou Good Foundation – an organization that supports active transportation in Greater Cincinnati — wants to install a water wall on the bridge to create a barrier between drivers and cyclists. The initiative is being held up by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) which owns and controls the bridge.
Concern for pedestriansIn April, Cincinnati City Council members unanimously approved an emergency ordinance that provides an extra $1 million in speed-reduction measures and other tools to help protect pedestrians. With the new one-time investment, Cincinnati's Department of Transportation & Engineering is increasing the number of communities receiving speed-reduction tools while also producing new safety measures such as hardened centerlines (forcing motorists to make left turns more slowly) and curb bump-outs that offer some protection to pedestrians.
Pedestrian safety has been a growing concern in Cincinnati neighborhoods. In April, Pureval said that more than 300 pedestrians had been hit by vehicles in 2021, and seven of those people died.
West side infrastructure is having a momentThe State to Central: Building Better Neighborhoods project isn’t the only multi-million dollar effort to safely connect Cincinnati’s west side to its urban core.
Cincinnati has been awarded a $127 million federal transportation grant for the Western Hills Viaduct replacement project. Construction of the new bridge is expected to begin by 2025. The bridge will extend nearly a half mile over CSX Transportation’s Queensgate Yard.
Drivers will still use the existing viaduct until its replacement is finished sometime in 2030.