Friday, June 23, 2000

Neighbors oppose Florence connector

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FLORENCE — A group of residents let city officials know Thursday that no matter what a consulting firm says, they don't want a connector road near Florence Mall.

        GRW Engineers, Inc. presented its traffic study findings and recommended a route for a connector to link Hopeful Church and Mall roads.

        City officials and engineers say the proposed two-lane connection would ease traffic on Ky. 18 and U.S. 42 and give residents in subdivisions off Hopeful Church Road an alternative to get to the mall.

        “Let's forget the damn connector,” said Ron Vandament, a resident who lives on Chelsea Square. “We don't want it. We don't need it.”

        GRW ranked the options using several criteria — traffic, environmental and community impacts and costs. They chose alignment D, which would run from Exchange Drive, around Kroger and just north of Wind Ridge Apartments, to tie-in opposite of Cayton Road.

        “Is the road warranted? Will it do what it's supposed to do? We have determined that it will,” said Matt Stegman of GRW.

        Despite residents' contention that a connector would cause more traffic on Hopeful Road, consultants said it would reduce traffic.

        About 40 people attended the public hearing to oppose the plan. Some have complained for months, predicting the connector would just bring more mall traffic and congestion closer to their homes. After the initial opposition, city officials hired GRW to evaluate the plan and determine which of five possible alignments for the road would best serve the community's transportation needs.

        The firm selected an alignment that was different from the one the city originally chose.

        The city first selected an alignment that would run from Exchange Drive parallel to Chelsea Square and turning just south of Colonial Heights and tying into Hopeful Church Road about 500 feet north of Pheasant Drive.

        The firm's findings are only a recommendation.

        Florence City Council will have to vote whether to build that road. Florence Mayor Diane Ewing Whalen said a vote may take place within a few months.


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