Episode #2: Transportation Poverty

On the second episode of The UrbanCincy Podcast, Randy, Jake, and Travis discuss the transportation poverty faced by senior citizens in Cincinnati and other U.S. cities. We also discuss the problem of suburban developers externalizing their costs onto taxpayers, and we address listener feedback from our discussion on bus rapid transit (BRT) systems.

Show Links:

  • And today, Children’s Hospital announced they’re looking at a site in Clermont Country, visible from I-275: http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/print-edition/2012/05/18/childrens-hospital-sets-its-sights-on.html

    Another one we didn’t mention is St. Elizabeth Covington, which is visible from I-75/71 but doesn’t connect to the existing Covington street grid.

  • Great podcast. BTW, I work with the Jewish Federation as part of their Senior Busing initiative, which provides for free / very cheap transportation to seniors. It’s an expensive capital and operating cost initiative, and of course it’s complex because the value in senior busing is also offsetting massive Medicaid expansion (e.g., preventing seniors from moving to permanent nursing / LTC facilities).

  • Jason Bailey

    Would you guys consider signing up w/ Stitcher? http://stitcher.com/contentFAQ.php It’s a podcast aggregator. You basically create an account with them and provide your RSS link. I use it for all of my podcasts and it’s pretty slick. The app is on Android and iOS.

    Anyway, off to listen to Ep2 now. Thanks 🙂


    • Thanks for the tip. I will look into this.

    • We are live on Stitcher now!

  • Neil Clingerman

    Just an aside: There is at least one instance of private intracity  bus service in the US, New Jersey which licenses jitney services:  

    I stayed in N. New Jersey when on vacation to NYC, and the cheap hotel advertised these as a city shuttle, they weren’t as nice as the european like long distance NJ Transit buses, but you could 24/7 get a bus within 5 mins making it down to Manhattan within 15-20 mins.

  • mattrisher

    As much as I hate to say it, BRT in its true form, like light rail, may not be a feasible alternative for a city like Cincinnati. The city itself is one giant sprawl, due mostly to the terrain itself. It is remarkably different from more grid-based cities, such as Columbus, Chicago, New York. What we do have are neighborhoods which are connected by arterial routes (Hamilton Ave, Reading Rd, Madison Rd, Vine St, Beechmont, etc.)

    Dedicated lanes or grid separation just isn’t feasible in some of the denser areas, such as Northside, Uptown, and Reading Road, where the streets jut up next to low-rise buildings that simply can’t be moved. However, a form of BRT (I’ll refer to it as Bus Plus, which was mentioned on the podcast), combined with a redesign to focus on neighborhood circulators, could be a game changer.

    Imagine frequent Bus Plus routes that travel the main arterial routes every 10-15 minutes, and only stop at bus hubs that connect to neighborhood circulator routes that run just as frequently and are timed to connect at these hubs. Design these hubs with longer turnout lanes, shelters, farecard machines and smart signs announcing bus arrival times and delays, so that the Plus Route and the Neighborhood Route and both wait at the hub an extra minute to accommodate transferers. These Bus Plus routes would not only follow the existing inbound/outbound format, but would also include more and better designed crosstown plus routes (e.g. Montana-W Fork-Spring Grove-Mitchell-Dana-Erie, only stopping at neighborhood hubs). Enhance the Bus Plus with dedicated traffic signal management that guarantees a green light and you’re going to see a faster, more efficient system.

    Riding the 39 or the 64 are prime examples of how inefficient the current system is. For example, to get from Downtown to Glenway Crossing on the 64, you spend an hour winding through OTR, Fairview, Camp Washington, Uptown, English Woods, North Fairmount, and Westwood before reaching Glenway. Route 4 is another prime example, which while not winding through neighborhoods, hits so many stops on the way to Kenwood that it can take over an hour.

    You can even enhance the in-bus experience on the Bus Plus routes with more detailed announcements. For example, let’s say you are in the 17+ heading from Northside to Downtown, and you’re coming up on the Clifton Ludlow connector to the Clifton Circulator Route. This is what you hear:

    “Next Stop, Clifton and Ludlow Avenues. Connection to Route 18N, Clifton, Uptown, and University of Cincinnati circulator. Connection to Route 51 Plus, West to East side crosstown servicing Northside, Clifton, Avondale, and Hyde Park.”

    Sure, it’s a mouthful, but you hear it while coming up the Ludlow Hill and there’s plenty of time to get a good idea on what you can do. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy, but I think that a more smartly designed system could really improve the efficiency and appeal of the bus system. My biggest concern would be confusing those in the population (older people or less educated people) who have a hard time adjusting to change. Thoughts?