Episode #6: Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

On the sixth episode of The UrbanCincy Podcast, we listen to a talk given by Arthur A. Hupp, titled Historic Cincinnati Union Terminal: Restoration and Renovation Master Plan. The talk, given at the Society for Industrial Archeology 2012 annual conference, looks the the history of Cincinnati’s Union Terminal as well as its transformation into the Cincinnati Museum Center.

This episode concludes the three-part series on Cincinnati landmarks. The previous installments — Jake Mecklenborg’s talk on Cincinnati’s Incomplete Subway and C.W. Zink’s talk on The Roebling Legacy — are also available for download.

Union Terminal photo courtesy of Queen City Discovery.

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Bloomberg Philanthropies to award $9M for urban innovation

Cities are where innovation happens, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg knows exactly that. As a result, he has announced a new competition that will award $9 million in prize money to cities with bold, innovative ideas that could remake America’s urban centers. More from Next American City:

Twenty finalist teams will be chosen based on their proposal’s novelty and creativity, potential for impact, replicability and implementation plan. The finalists will participate in Bloomberg Ideas Camp, an experience that James Anderson, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ government innovation director, says will give mayors the opportunity to brainstorm and collaborate with their peers in other cities. The finalists will be whittled down to one grand prize winning team, which will receive $5 million; four runners-up will be given $1 million each.

Metro to debut real-time arrival screens at transit centers

Metro will debut real-time arrival screens at its Government Square transit center on Friday. The announcement is part of a recent series of moves by the transit agency to modernize its operations.

Since 2010, Metro has implemented a new electronic fare payment system, GPS tracking, GoogleTransit interface, articulated buses, and a new westside commuter hub.

“We’re collecting more feedback from our riders with our Way To Go initiative,” explained Metro’s Public Affairs Manager, Jill Dunne. “We have already received close to 2,000 surveys online and in person at various events this summer, and these changes are adding the types of improvements that our riders want.”

The new real-time arrival screens at Government Square cost $11,200 each and will be positioned at each of the transit center’s eight shelters, with a master information board at the front of the Government Square booth at Fifth Street and Walnut Street.

According to Metro officials, bus departure times will appear on the boards 45 minutes before a bus is scheduled to depart from Government Square. The boards will then begin a real-time countdown once the bus is within 20 minutes of its scheduled departure time.

The real-time arrival upgrades were made possible thanks to an $8.2 million American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant that funded Metro’s computer-aided dispatch and automatic vehicle location (CAD/AVL) technology in 2011, in addition to the new video boards.

The implementation of the real-time arrival boards at Government Square is just the beginning. Metro officials say that they will soon install the same technology at the new Glenway Crossing Transit Center and the Uptown Transit Hub which is scheduled to begin construction later this year.

In addition to the physical upgrades, transit officials say they plan to leverage the GPS tracking data to add real-time arrival information to its website, and debut a smartphone application within the next year.

The system updates do not, however, include open-source GPS data which is increasingly being more closely studied throughout the United States. Dunne says that Metro is working with their data vendor, and is working on developing these types of interfaces in 2013 through Google Transit Real Time Feed.

Real-time arrival board photograph by Jake Mecklenborg for UrbanCincy.

Cincinnati’s form-based code moment in time

Cincinnati officials continue to push forward with a new effort that would bring a form-based zoning code to the Queen City. The move wouldn’t be the first in the nation, nor would it be the first in the region, but it would be one of the biggest and most noteworthy. More from Better! Cities & Towns:

Choosing and refining a form-based organizing principle for a city the size of Cincinnati with such a diverse range of pre-1940s urban patterns and a rich urban morphology is one of the most challenging, but underappreciated aspects of creating a form-based code. For Cincinnati, the urban-to-rural Transect was selected as the organizing principle and was up to the task. The calibration of the Transect allowed the team to create a framework that would reinforce the fine-grain fabric and rich palette of building types that are an important part of defining the community character of the city’s urban neighborhoods.

UrbanCincy launches new monthly networking event for urban professionals

On Tuesday, July 3, UrbanCincy will host the first of what will become a monthly networking event for urban professionals. The event, called URBANexchange, will take place from 5:30pm to 7:30pm on the first Tuesday of every month at the Moerlein Lager House.

URBANexchange is meant to not only engage active urban professionals, but also those who have a general interest in urbanism and want to exchange thoughts and ideas with others with similar passions. The event will be casual in nature and is meant to serve as a place to exchange ideas and build personal networks.

The Moerlein Lager House along Cincinnati’s central riverfront. Photograph by Cory Klein.

UrbanCincy has partnered with The Urbanists, who previously helped foster iRhine, to activate the region’s network of individuals interested in continuing the urban renaissance taking place in Cincinnati.

“In previous years the collection of engaged urbanists in Cincinnati has grown, but it has largely been focused in center city neighborhoods,” explained UrbanCincy owner, Randy Simes. “This event is meant to serve as a gathering place for urbanists throughout the region in an effort to grow that base of individuals advocating for better public policy.”

The inaugural event will take place at the Moerlein Lager House’s second-floor bar overlooking the new Smale Riverfront Park and historic Roebling Suspension Bridge. Thanks to Metro, those who sign-in will have a chance at winning four tickets to the World Choir Games’ Champions Concert on Saturday, July 14.

Future URBANexchange dates will be announced on UrbanCincy.com and through Facebook. URBANexchange is free and open to the public, and those attending are encouraged to use Metro bus service to get to the Moerlein Lager House and the World Choir Games should you be the lucky winner of the free tickets.