Episode #32: Spring Update

Uber appOn the 32nd episode of The UrbanCincy Podcast, Randy, John, and Travis cover a few local issues recently in the news.

We cover the launch of Lyft and Uber in Cincinnati and what it could mean for local cab companies. We also talk about the proposed renovation of Burnet Woods and several other Uptown developments. Finally, we talk about the opposition to tolls on the Brent Spence Bridge and whether the bridge can be built without that funding source.

  • Mark Christol

    Just because overall driving/transit numbers might be “X”, does that mean that’s what is going on here? In real estate, downtown has been a hotter market than other areas & kinda bucks the trend.

    Can you guys get Wendell Young to talk to you about where Lyft & Uber fits in with Cincinnati’s regulatory maze? Will he talk to you?

    • We will reach out to him. It’s a good question…one I’ve been quizzing both Uber and Lyft on recently. Both companies have had issues lately in Columbus where they have been operating for several months now. I suspect Cincinnati City Council will catch on at some point and then have similar conversations.

  • Matt Jacob

    Imagine how much better Metro would be with an app similar to Uber’s? Seeing exactly where your bus (and eventually streetcar) is in real-time and being able to trust that public transit won’t leave you standing out in the cold/rain longer than you have to. If this technology really is that easy to do (as Randy alluded to) why doesn’t someone try a grassroots programming challenge to get it done instead of waiting for SORTA to find funding and act?

    Personally my stance on the BSB has changed over the course of this stalemate from lukewarm acceptance to not settling for mediocre. Stopping the current bridge plan is the right move and the more new information that comes out about transportation usage is confirming it. The whole plan needs re-imagined with a scope outside of only cars and trucks and Kentuckians are right to demand better. The goal of a new bridge is moving people across the river, not just their cars. The current plan only gives Kentuckians one option across the river and risks cutting them off at a major crossing point from any regional rail transit plan that might emerge in the future. The opportunity cost might be even bigger than the $2.6M+ price tag.

    • The underlying technology for bus tracking is already in place. In some places, Metro has real-time arrival signs that use this technology. But I don’t believe that putting together a great smartphone app for bus tracking is going to be quite as simple as starting an open source project and hoping some talented programers contribute their time. There is much more design and planning that would need to go into it, and that takes money.

      My stance on the BSB has also changed dramatically over time. Now that we’re in the position we’re in now — nobody has any money to pay for the bridge, Kentucky doesn’t want tolls, and vehicular traffic has plateaued — I think it is time to drastically rethink the entire plan.

    • Matt Jacob

      I don’t know that much about the technology side of it but I think Cincinnati’s design talent is good enough that we’d be pleasantly surprised at what could be done grassroots. If nothing else it’d be a charrette of sorts to start the process. How else is it going to happen? SORTA can only be asked so many times.

    • Certainly there is more than enough design and tech talent locally to do something like this. The question is whether or not that talent is willing to do it for free. At the end of the day people have bills to pay, and giving away their services for free is not a great way to ensure you’re keeping food on the table and a roof over your head.

      I know you understand this, but I say it because it seems like many companies and leadership in the Cincinnati area want this stuff to happen, but don’t want to put their money where their mouth is.

      Want regional transit? Want touch-screen payment options? Want smart phone apps with real-time arrival? Want faster and more frequent bus service? Want more regional connectivity? Well, at some point someone is going to have to step up and say that they’ll pay for it. Until then, it’s nothing more than empty rhetoric.


    • Matt Jacob

      I agree. And I’m not the one to lead the charge on this either. But at some point if SORTA doesn’t get it done then some young designer is going to do it to make a name for themselves. And I’ll applaud that day. Cincinnati is starting to demand better on its own.

    • I have said since the beginning that a replacement bridge should be pursued. I’m not sure if a massive capacity increase is needed, but the existing span does not function well now and will only continue to get worse as it ages.

      I personally would advocate for a new span that replaces the existing span entirely. We really do not need three bridges side-by-side in that small stretch. What will happen is most all of the traffic will shift to the new bridge and the existing BSB and the Clade Wade Bailey Bridge will sit there hardly used. The CWB Bridge already is barely utilized.

      And yes, of course, there absolutely should be a rail component in any plan. Not even providing future accommodations for it would be a mistake.

  • Maryland Duarte

    Useful suggestions – I loved the specifics ! Does anyone know if I can obtain a blank Employee Warning Notice form to fill out ?