Episode #49: Ideas to Copy

Cincy Bus Transit MapOn the 49th episode of The UrbanCincy Podcast, Travis, Jocelyn, Jake, and Randy take a listener suggestion and come up with a list of ideas that Cincinnati should copy from other cities. We touch on the ideas like introducing ultra-high speed internet access, completely re-drawing the city’s bus route map, merging smaller municipalities together to gain efficiency, introducing an urban service boundary, and finding innovative ways to generate electricity. In a future episode, we’ll follow up with even more ideas that Cincinnati should consider copying.

  • Jasomm

    on Police mergers: check out Camden, NJ. They just recently cut the city police and created a county Police system and its been getting a lot of accolades. (on an aside, I’ve been trying to spread the word hear about 3CDC, and what they’ve done in OTR as an example of what could be done to revitalize the city here)

  • Justin Moore

    On generating electricity: I heard that the MSD produces enough methane, that if converted, produces enough juice to power Price Hill. I think there is a red tape issue however from this being implemented. I’m sure Rumpke Mt. gives off some gas too that could be harnessed somehow.

  • Matt Jacob

    The hydroelectric sewage that Portland is starting is a genius would be great for the massive amounts of water flowing down Lick Run into the Mill Creek.

    There are also plenty of barely used payphones around the CBD/OTR that would be perfect for something like this that NYC is doing:
    http://www.wired.com/2014/11/new-york-linknyc-free-internet/

    Here’s another great idea for when big events come to town like the All-Star Game (or better yet something permanent):
    http://www.citylab.com/design/2015/02/diy-wayfinding-signs-are-about-to-go-mainstream/386081/?utm_source=SFFB

  • Lumenvista

    We should look into using our amazing alleyways for small businesses and art like Melbourne does with their Laneways: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-Qb31cUyRE

    • Chicago has an entire program dedicated to utilizing their alleys. There are so many great opportunities.

    • Matt Jacob

      There are groups in Cincinnati, like Spring in our Steps, that are are already trying to get this type of thing started. The frustrating part is that the city (who technically owns the alleyways) doesn’t do much to maintain these spaces so they constantly fall into disrepair. The city is more likely to asphalt over a brick alleyway than reinvest in these unique public spaces so they just end up as another average street. Look at the alleys in the video and Melbourne has up-kept the sidewalks and ground of the alleyways. Look at past Cincinnati attempts to use alleyways like the Backstage District and you’ll see up-heaved pavers and trash cans.

    • EDG

      The latest planning fad in Detroit and Chicago.

  • crangus

    Boulder Colorado has an awesome pedestrian mall where 6 blocks have been bricked over and closed to traffic. They’ve added trees and flower gardens and places to sit. The resteraunts have taken over the sidewalks as well. During the summers the place is packed with locals and tourists alike enjoying themselves. There must be a street in Over-the Rhine that would be great for a pedestrian mall.

    • EDG

      This is one of the few pedestrian malls that have actually succeeded. Most of these streets that were converted in the 80’s were failures and were converted back. I don’t think the goal should be to strictly prohibit cars, rather than just make areas more ped friendly.

  • crangus

    Pearl St Mall in Boulder CO

  • matimal

    Jake’s point about the suburban industrial complex will be THE narrative of the next few decades as the days of easy credit and rising incomes ends. Places will have to figure out how to pay their own way. That’s something many middle and lower-middle class suburbs won’t be able to do over time.

  • Kevin Johnson

    Stop copying and invent ideas that other cities want to copy. I always get excited watching cincinnati add something new only to find out 30 other cities already have done it. Let’s be more innovative here folks. Cincinnati is becoming a good arts town and I wish someone had the money to create a iconic sculpture of some sort that people come to see. Examples being St Louis Arch, Empire State Building, Eifle Tower. I have no idea what Cincnnati could build but I would love to drive through the cut-in-the-hill and see this massive sculpture hovering over our already beautiful skyline.

    • These ideas were more policy than physical. Of course we don’t want to just copy what others have done, but it’s also a bad approach to ignore the research and results from elsewhere.

      One thing to keep in mind is that one of the most innovative companies of our time didn’t actually invent anything. Apple merely re-imagined existing products.

    • EDG

      Roebling bridge is that sculpture, and I feel that artworks murals and the brewery district are those unique things.

  • Brian

    I usually enjoy listening to your podcast but the discussion about fiber was poorly researched. The glut of dark fiber that existed in many cities was from overinvestment in fiber in the 1990s. Much of this once dark fiber is now being utilized as part of the backbone of networks and more fiber is being put in to place.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303863404577285260615058538

    As you mentioned, the most expensive part of building a fiber network is what is known as the last mile. Cincinnati Bell has 2 types of Fioptics which have different methods of connecting. The first is fiber to the home or fiber to the building, where the have fiber going directly to the building. While this is more expensive, it is the more preferred option because higher data speeds can be offered.

    In some areas they are utilizing the less preferred copper last mile and deploying VDSL2 under the Fioptics name. This is known as a fiber to the node which can be confusing since it is different from true fiber.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiber_to_the_x

    I’m not sure of the total investment amount but according this Enquirer article from May 2014. $269 was invested at that point with another $80 million invested in that current year.

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/03/10/bell-ceo-already-invested-high-tech-fiber/6277889/

    • Thanks Brian, I was trying to avoid getting into the technical details since I did not have all of the facts in front of me. I was aware that FiOptics was initially rolling out fiber-to-the-home but later switched to copper for the last mile.

      However, these details are mostly irrelevant to most of the people listening. What we were trying to get across is that super-fast internet services like Google Fiber and Cincinnati Bell’s Gigabit service would allow businesses and individuals in Cincinnati to do things that we currently can’t even imagine.

  • Mattan

    UC does have a central cooling plant that sends cold water for cooling to all their buildings, as do many other places in the city. Many of these are also designed with old design principles and without being optimized, use significantly more energy than they need to. Incentives for energy optimization vary by state, with some states making the process friendlier to the company deciding whether or not to optimize