Friday, November 09, 2001

Panel: Planning lacks oversight

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A lack of comprehensive planning could hurt Tristate drivers, businesses and neighborhoods, an expert board said Thursday.

        Local, state and regional planning agencies lack coordination in transportation planning, land use and economic development, according to a list of issues drafted by the OKI Land Use Commission.

        At an OKI (Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments) special board meeting Thursday, there were also discussions about lack of coordination relating to public facilities and service, natural resources and open space, housing and economic development relating to land use.

        One of the major objectives of the Land Use Commission — consisting of OKI board members and others — is to connect land use to transportation planning, said OKI staffer Janet Keller.

        “As a region, we are all across the board in terms of a comprehensive plan,” Ms. Keller said.

        Among the dozens of issues identified by the commission in recent weeks are:

        • An increasing dependence on automobiles — 85 percent of the region's workers drove alone in 1995 compared with 79 percent in 1990.

        • Traffic congestion is increasing, with the Cincinnati urban area — the 23rd largest metropolitan area in population — ranking 14th in annual hours of delay per person.

        • A lack of adequate financial resources to provide roadways and transit in the region. The OKI regional transportation plan for 2030 identified a $3.5 billion shortfall in regional capital transit and highway needs with no sources of funding, versus a $3.3 billion shortfall forecast for 2020.

        “We have identified three major themes in compiling the list of issues,” OKI staffer Bill Miller explained. “The first is that there is not enough money to maintain the status quo. Second, the overall status of long-range planning in the region is not good. And third, we have inefficient development patterns. There is little or no cooperation for development, transportation and land use.”

        He said one of the questions the Land Use Commission will attempt to answer is how does the region work better together, whether in development or redevelopment.

        Land Use Commission vice-chairman Ken Reed emphasized that the group had a great deal of work ahead and many questions to consider before coming to any real conclusions about rectifying the land use problems.


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