Month in Review – August 2010

During the month of August, UrbanCincy published several articles laying out a long-term vision for the city.  David Cole compared Cincinnati to Chicago, pointing out what we should—and shouldn’t—learn from our neighbor to the northwest.  Jake Mecklenborg analyzed the Eastern Corridor rail plan and explained why it might not currently be the best plan for Cincinnati.  Randy Simes reported on Cincinnati’s success in completely remaking its riverfront, and criticized Peter Bronson’s piece attacking The Banks and the Cincinnati Streetcar.

UrbanCincy’s top 5 articles for the month of August were:

  1. Unraveling the urban differences of Cincinnati and Chicago
    The first and most obvious difference between Cincinnati and Chicago is one of sheer scale. While driving through Indiana on the way to Chicago from Cincinnati, the transition from rural cornfields to suburban sprawl began while I was still a good 40 miles away from the Chicago Loop. Here in Cincinnati, 40 miles in any direction from Fountain Square would be considered far into the hinterland.
  2. Breaking down Cincinnati’s Eastern Corridor passenger rail plan
    At first glance it would appear that implementation of commuter rail service on the Oasis Line should require nothing more than the purchase of commuter trains and the construction of a connection between the end of active tracks and the Riverfront Transit Center. Unfortunately, the poor condition of the existing track limits traffic to a maximum twelve miles per hour.
  3. Jean-Robert’s Table to open in downtown Cincinnati August 10th
    Unanticipated construction delays, and personal reasons pushed back the original opening of Jean-Robert’s Table for the famed Cincinnati chef. The new restaurant is Jean-Robert de Cavel’s first since parting ways with long-time restaurant partners Martin and Marilyn Wade.
  4. Cincinnati’s dramatic, multi-billion dollar riverfront revitalization nearly complete
    Several decades ago Cincinnati leaders embarked on a plan to dramatically change the face of the city’s central riverfront. Aging industrial uses and a congested series of highway ramps was to be replaced by two new professional sports venues, six new city blocks of mixed-use development, a new museum, a central riverfront park, and parking garages that would lift the development out of the Ohio River’s 100-year flood plain.
  5. Cincinnati’s old money attacks the future with the promise of a failed past
    What was interesting about Bronson’s story is that he took a platform for which he enthusiastically touted the new tower and how it was accomplished, and turned it into an opportunity to lob attacks at other major projects like the Cincinnati Streetcar and The Banks development along the central riverfront. It took Bronson no more than eleven sentences before he dove head-first into his attack of both projects.

Queen City Bike wins $10k grant to implement Bicycle Friendly Destinations Program

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation has awarded a $10,000 grant to Queen City Bike to develop a Bicycle Friendly Destinations Program. Once in place, the new program is expected to help grow the number of bicyclists locally by creating a registry of bike friendly employers, retailers, government agencies, and cultural organizations.

Program administrators will reportedly work with area businesses and institutions to make it easier for people to access and use their respective facilities by bicycle. The hope is that by improving the overall environment and bicycle culture, that more people will take to the streets on their bikes.

According to Queen City Bike president Gary Wright, the new program fits perfectly into the non-profit organization whose mission is to promote bicycling as a safe and healthy means of transportation and recreation in the Cincinnati region.

“Getting more people to use bicycles for everyday transportation benefits everyone,” Wright said. “It reduces pollution, cuts down on traffic and parking congestion, and is good for your health.”

The grant money will kick off the new program just as the City of Cincinnati has been implementing a variety of new measures from bicycle parking requirements, new safety laws for motorists, and additional bike lanes and sharrows. Many of the new changes have been sparked by a recently adopted Bicycle Transportation Plan that, in part, calls for 445 miles of on- and off-street bicycle facilities to be installed by 2025, and double the number of people using bicycles for everyday transportation within the next five years.

According to Wright, the idea for the program originally came from a project lead by Brad Hunkler in the Leadership Cincinnati Class 33. In that project Hunkler identified the program as a “key priority” for local employers looking to attract and retain talented professionals.

“The city is committed to making our streets more bicycle friendly, and we hope that many area businesses and organizations will match that commitment by participating in the Bicycle Friendly Destinations Program, “ Wright said. “More and more cities are realizing that supporting bicycles is important for their future, and I am proud to say that Cincinnati is one of the places that gets it.”

Queen City Bike will publicly recognize those that succeed at earning the Bike Friendly Designation in May 2011.

Six@Six Lecture Series to offer engaging public forums on six unique topics

The inaugural Six@Six Lecture Series presented by Northern Kentucky University (NKU) will begin this Wednesday, September 1. The gatherings will focus on a variety of topics, and take place at three of the more interesting historic and cultural venues in Cincinnati’s urban core.

The format is simple: six very different speakers, six different topics, all starting at 6pm, with a cost of $6.00 per lecture for adults (students free with valid ID). The Mercantile Library in downtown, Behringer-Crawford Museum in Devou Park, and the Carnegie Visual & Performing Arts Center in Covington will serve as the three venues being used over the course of the lecture series.

Five of the six speakers are full-time NKU faculty members with the sixth being a part of the NKU Military History Lecture Series program. The Six@Six Lecture Series will include a 60-minute presentation followed by a 30-minute question and answer period. The series will run through April 2011.

To get things started, one of NKU’s most celebrated professors, James Ramage, will give a lecture on Abraham Lincoln as a public speaker. The Regents Professor out of NKU’s Department of History & Geography says that while history has shown Lincoln to be one of the most prolific and respected speakers in United States history, he did not always fit the part and did not carry the physical presence that most of our celebrated leaders do today.  Later lectures will include topics on:

  • ‘The Art of the Quilt: Stitched [Hist]stories’ by Dr. Kimberly Allen-Kattus – 10/21/2010
  • ‘Covering the World in a Dangerous Age’ by  John Daniszewski – 11/11/2010
  • ‘Amazing Caves, Amazing Microbes: The Geomicrobiology of Caves’ by Dr. Hazel Barton – 12/7/2010
  • ‘Simple Gifts’ from Our Past: Frontier Shakers in the Ohio River Valley’ by Dr. Carol Medlicott – 3/31/2011
  • ‘The Marriage of Music & Word: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Fearless Carousel’ by Dr. Mark Hardy – 4/13/2011

Dr. Ramage’s lecture on Abraham Lincoln’s public prowess will take place on Wednesday, September 1 from 6pm to 8pm at the Mercantile Library (map). On- and off-street automobile parking is available in the immediate area for cash rates. Meanwhile, free bicycle parking is also available in the immediate area and virtually all Metro bus routes (plan your trip) serve this location via the Government Square Transit Hub.

Metro to modify route, increase frequencies on Route 1

Metro officials have announced that route changes will be made to Route 1 in October. Officials state that the changes are intended to better serve local residents and visitors to the Queen City looking to take advantage of the large number of cultural institutions along the route.

The modified service will connect more than 40 cultural institutions throughout Cincinnati’s center city neighborhoods. Changes will include new 30-foot hybrid buses funded by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act that will operate with greater frequency. As a result, riders will benefit from 30 minute bus intervals operating seven days a week.

The new route will also undergo a light-hearted name modification as it is transformed into “Route 1: The One for Fun.”

“The One for Fun will connect the dots of fun in Cincinnati,” said Dave Etienne, Metro’s Marketing Director in a prepared release. “On the Rt. 1, it’s just ten minutes from downtown to Museum Center or from downtown to the Art Museum or Krohn Conservatory. It will be a convenient way to travel to dozens of Cincinnati’s treasures.”

Metro officials will be hosting an open house on Wednesday, September 8 from 3pm to 6pm at the transit agency’s headquarters (12th floor) in downtown Cincinnati. At the open house, current and future riders will have a chance to get an up close look at the forthcoming changes.

Cincinnati needs its own version of ‘Little Big Berlin’

These types of videos have become all the rage lately, and rightfully so. They are simply stunning in their production quality and the overall content they capture.

Little Big Berlin does a particularly good job capturing the human element found within cities. The video showcases Berliners functioning within their city. Many of the scenes are playful, but others are just typical day-to-day functions made intriguing by the essence of this videography.

The video utilizes “tilt-shift” to create the miniature effect, and is set to the music of “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” by Franz Liszt. I do not know how to achieve this kind of product myself, but I do know that someone in Cincinnati needs to do this for our city.