Qualls to discuss conversion of prominent Uptown streets to two-way traffic

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls will host a press conference today at 11am in Walnut Hills to discuss the conversion of McMillan Street and William Howard Taft Road from one-way to two-way streets.

Qualls reportedly will be joined by various Walnut Hills community leaders who have long supported the idea of converting the two heavily traveled east/west streets back to two-way traffic. Residents and business owners in the area feel that such a conversion will help to further revitalize their neighborhoods, and return vitality to the business district.

Converting one-way streets into two-way streets has become an increasingly popular urban design tool over recent years by cities looking to slow down traffic, increase access and thus improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. Qualls has been a leading advocate for the implementation of a ‘Complete Streets’ policy that would also embody many of these things by ensuring that all modes of transportation are accounted for in the design of streets and the public right-of-way.

The press conference will be held at Kurelis Interiors on E. McMillan Street (map) in Walnut Hills at 11am. Also on hand will be Greg Loomis from Campus Management and Jeff Raser who is part of the Walnut Hills Working Group and has been lending professional assistance in the development of form-based codes around Cincinnati.

UPDATE: Following the press conference Qualls’ office released a motion that is co-sponsored by Jeff Berding, Chris Bortz, Laure Quinlivan and Cecil Thomas. The motion calls for city administration to develop an implementation plan for the two-way conversion of McMillan Street and William Howard Taft Road east of I-71 before City Council takes its summer recess. The motion also calls for city administration to deliver a report on the feasibility of converting McMillan and Taft west of I-71 to Clifton Avenue by September 2010.

Another critical part of the motion calls for the incorporation of several traffic calming measures that will make the streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders. Those improvements could potentially include landscaped medians, crosswalks, dedicated bicycle lanes, improved on-street parking design, wider sidewalks, bus pullouts, reduced traffic speeds and even the incorporation of roundabouts.

Photo taken by Laura Sandt.

  • Quim

    I am assuming this includes Calhoun, also?

  • Randy Simes

    Previous discussions about the two-way conversion have included the Calhoun Street portion of William Howard Taft Road.

  • Radarman

    She'll need support on this if the blockheaded responses to the Enquirer article are any indication. The very idea of interfering with a fast exit to Anderson Township sends readers into paroxysms of rage.

  • Travis Estell

    I hope to see the two-way conversion in Walnut Hills. However I'm also in favor of converting Taft and McMillian to two-way for their entire lengths and making them as pedestrian- and bike-friendly as possible.

  • steve-o

    As a resident, I was interested in reading the feedback on the Enquirer article. Not sure why I bothered. Much of the negativity there emerges anytime anything about the city is mentioned. Our community is tired of being used as a mere thoroughfare.

    As we understand it, the feasibility study will be two-fold. The first one will deal with the Walnut Hills district, the second concerning the Uptown area (west of 71).

  • Randy Simes

    A good rule of thumb is to pretty much ignore the comment section on Enquirer stories. The Enquirer thrives off of the comment sections for traffic, and do very little to actually monitor what is said or done there.

    As a result, the majority of comments are filled with hatred…especially towards the city. It's pretty common all across America that those who live in more conservative suburban communities take out their frustrations towards the more progressive city centers of their region through this avenue along with talk radio.

    Those comments are in no way representative of the Cincinnati region, and they are especially not representative of those living inside the city limits of Cincinnati or the neighborhoods to be affected by this proposal. I haven't conducted a scientific poll, but I would bet that most residents and business owners in and around this area would be supportive of this…and that is partially seen through the coalition of support that Qualls has already built in a relatively short time.

  • Jeffrey Jakucyk

    I'd be interested to see how exactly they plan to implement this. If done wrong, it would actually make the streets worse for cycling, because right now we have plenty of lanes to pick from to "take" without impeding vehicular traffic. If they just make the streets two-way with parking on both sides, it will be hugely worse for cycling since there's nowhere to go to be "out of the way."

    They'd have to do something like street parking on one side only with extra-wide lanes or striped bike lanes. They could treat Taft and McMillan differently from each other as far as parking and bikes go, but if they just paint a yellow line down the middle of each and turn some of the traffic signals around, it will be much harder to ride on those roads.

  • Leiflet

    I would LOVE this. I started biking up Lincoln (instead of MLK/Taft), which was a huge relief. I used to get honked at least once a week.

    I was surprised to find out that they were converted to one way streets just a few years ago. It seems so arcane, i just assumed it was a decades-old policy.

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