Thursday, January 25, 2001

Downtown topic: east side access




By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A lot of ideas were offered Wednesday at a public forum on the traffic flow for the new Fort Washington Way, but most centered on one basic theme:

        Make it easier for east-siders to get in and out of downtown.

        “It just seems like somebody messed up,” said James Collier of Symmes Township, one of about 45 downtown workers or residents to give feedback on the $328 million renovation of the highway that connects Interstates 71, 75, 471 and U.S. 50 (Columbia Parkway).

        “Why should I have to go all the way up to Fifth Street or all the way down to the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge?” said Mr. Collier, who manages an apartment building at Fourth and Plum streets.

        The forum was one of the first events in a campaign by city officials to streamline traffic flow on the downtown street grid, which underwent tremendous change. Third Street switched direction, new bridges went in over the main trench, exits were removed and a new Second Street was constructed.

        Also presented were options for street signs, but most came out to comment or complain about traffic flow. Suggestions included:

        • Open the ramp from Third Street onto northbound Interstate 75 (the ramp is almost complete, but awaits state approval, which could take several months).

        • Make Elm Street two-way south of Third Street, to give better access to Second Street for those in western downtown.

        • Make all the east-west streets two-way south of Fourth Street, including Second and Third streets. That suggestion came from Patricia Bready, director of government relations for Cincinnati Bell, which has about 2,500 employees downtown.

        “It's just a maze of humanity in front of our building at 5 p.m., between the buses and the cars and the pedestrians,” Ms. Bready said. “And that's not mentioning the big problem a lot of our employees who live on the east side have trying to get out, either on Fifth Street or getting down to Second Street.”

        City Transportation Director John Deatrick and city Traffic Engineer Steve Bailey said they would seriously consider each suggestion, but warned that some solutions — such as making the Elm Street bridge between Second and Third streets two-way — could be problematic.

        “This is a very sensitive grid, and if you make an adjustment at one point, you could lock up another intersection,” Mr. Bailey said. “And gridlock can spread through downtown like ice on a freezing lake.''

       



State of the State
Excerpts of the State of the State address delivered Wednesday by Gov. Bob Taft.
Grants will help with heating bills
Plan skips funding fix for schools, some say
Taft's honeymoon could be over
Taft's initiatives
Baby desperate for heart
Barrett Cancer Center has new director
Cancer center aim: top-flight status
Oil companies' profits huge
Former minister faces new set of securities charges
PULFER: Super Bowl
School copes with two deaths
Five die in four accidents in 24 hours
CROWLEY: Kevin Bacon game loses some sizzle
Young Bunning seen as too green for federal judgeship
Chao sees challenge in evolving new economy
City officials trying to stop low-income housing project
Colerain officer shoots suspect
Columnist to tout choice at Cincinnati school fair
Council plans Westwood help
- Downtown topic: east side access
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Tristate A.M. Report