Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Open houses for East Side commuter rail study begin tonight

The first of three open houses for the Oasis Commuter Rail study will be held this evening from 5 P.M.-8 P.M. at the LeBlond Recreation Center, in the East End.

The --> --> --> study will explore the feasibility of incorporating commuter rail service along a 17-mile-long line from Downtown's Riverfront Transit Center to the I-275/U.S. 50 interchange in Milford.

The idea emerged in 2006 from the Eastern Corridor Study's Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision (ROD) as one of four long-term solutions to address mobility and connectivity concerns in a 165-square-mile area from approximately Downtown Cincinnati eastward to the I-275 corridor in Clermont County.

"Our goal right now is to take an in-depth look at the commuter rail option and determine its feasibility in terms of function, constructability and affordability," said ODOT project manager Andy Fluegemann. "We will examine possible alignments and station locations, and evaluate which rail technologies would best meet the region's needs. We also will be looking at estimated costs and the projected return on investment for the region."

Currently, the project is divided into four segments: one mile between the Riverfront Transit Center and the Montgomery Inn Boathouse; seven miles between the Montgomery Inn Boathouse and U.S. 50 in Fairfax; four miles between Fairfax and Ancor, just northeast of Newtown; and five miles between Ancor and Milford.

Tentative station locations include the Riverfront Transit Center, Adams Crossing, the East End near Torrence Parkway, Columbia Parkway and Delta Avenue, Lunken Airport, Beechmont Avenue and Wooster Pike, Red Bank Road, Newtown Road, Ancor/Broadwell Road, and Milford.

Cost estimates are $411 million.

Alternatives will be refined through engineering, environmental analysis and comparative impact evaluation, with a preferred alternative – or a no-build option – selected early next year.

The project team will rely heavily on public input. Many East Side communities, such as Columbia Tusculum, the East End, Mount Adams, and Newtown, have expressed strong reservations about commuter trains coming through their neighborhoods.

Additional open houses will be held Wednesday from 5 P.M.-8 P.M. at the R.G. Cribbet (Fairfax) Recreation Center, , and Thursday from 5 P.M.-8 P.M. at the Milford High School cafeteria, .

For all three open houses, an open comment and Q&A session begins at 7 P.M.

"People living in communities to be served by the Oasis Commuter Rail line have an on-the-ground knowledge of the areas we are studying and may have valuable information that should be considered during the evaluation process," Fluegemann said.

According to the ROD, transportation routes in the corridor exceed their design capacity, and average daily traffic volumes on interstates and major arteries are expected increase up to 81 percent by 2030.

Three other multi-modal components are also under consideration: expanded bus transit, additional highway capacity, and multiple local transportation network improvements.

An updated Eastern Corridor project website was launched in late March, and additional information on the Oasis commuter rail line will be added as the study moves forward.

ODOT will accept public comments on materials presented at the open houses through April 22, either in person or on the project website.

Previous reading on BC:
Streetcar tentatively awarded $15M, other projects recommended (3/22/10)
Caution, communication needed in 3C Corridor choices (8/6/09)
East Row: Keep Ohio commuters in Ohio (3/21/08)
Qualls submits OKI 2030 recommendations (1/8/08)


prolix21 said...

seems to me a light rail system to the northern suburbs (west chester, mason) would be a better bet and lessen traffic on both 75 and 71

Kevin LeMaster said...

That would make a lot of sense. I would support commuter rail from West Chester Township and Mason, down the same general direction as the Interstates.

Something in that ROD report from 2006...traffic analyses indicated that the vast majority of traffic into Cincinnati came from Butler County. Areas within the Eastern Corridor (from Batavia to Milford to Amelia to Anderson Township) make up the second-highest number of trips.

I don't know how Warren County or Northern Kentucky ranks.

Kevin LeMaster said...

Correction! I think "vast" was a misrepresentation. Butler's really wasn't that much higher than Eastern Hamilton County and Clermont. Both were significant.

Anonymous said...

The execrable suburbanites are up in arms about Cincinnati's streetcar, yet now they want their own light rail system? Then let them raise private money and build it themselves!

Kevin LeMaster said...

The funny thing is that this thing has bipartisan support, including Rep. Jean Schmidt.

If incorporated, all of the early recommendations would cost more than $1.5 billion to implement....

I have heard very little as far as opposition, except some of the places I mentioned. Milford wants it. Fairfax wants it. Columbia Township wants it.

It seems that most of the opposition is really from the City of Cincinnati, as far as official governmental positions go. Oh...forgot to mention, Anderson Twp. isn't too keen about their stop because they're looking to develop industrial around the site, and think it will just be a pass-through for Clermont Co. workers coming into Cincinnati. (Isn't that the idea?)

Sean said...

I really hate the idea of commuter rail trains along the riverfront parks. These are big, smelly, loud diesels.

Neil said...

Weren't they considering DMU's which wouldn't be quite as big or quite as smelly?

Not only that, but I used to live right by a Metra line, its only a bother like 12 times a day. Probably less since this serves a way smaller population.

Bill C. said...

Well said Kevin.

Anonymous said...

I think the difference in opinion over the street car vs. light rail commuter is need and overlapping services.

Some believe the street car will be unique and bring business to downtown Cincinnati, and others think it duplicates the existing bus service and adds zero value for additional costs. If it eats into the bus service and they both split the same rider pie, it will cost more money to operate.

The commuter rail will offer a way to bring workers/visitors into the city along routes not served by a competing mass transit. Both sides I think agree on this.

Anonymous said...

I think the Wasson line makes way more sense: http://www.urbancincy.com/2010/08/breaking-down-cincinnatis-eastern-corridor-passenger-rail-plan/

Anonymous said...

This Eastern Corridor line needs to use electric vehicles versus noisy, smelly diesel locomotives. Much of the Oasis line being used cuts through neighborhoods, parkway, etc. Ideally it will terminate in the transit center adjacent to Fort Washington Way and The Banks.

Matt Hunter Ross said...

It should be electric for numerous reasons, but more importantly, it should just be built.

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