Designs for Two-Way Street Conversion in East Walnut Hills Nearly Complete

Over the past four months, city planners and engineers have been working away on concepts that would transform William Howard Taft Road and E. McMillan Street into streets with two-way travel. During that time public feedback has been gathered and designs have been revised.

The actual work began much earlier than that when the City of Cincinnati converted portions of those same two streets through the Walnut Hills neighborhood back in 2012. There was some trepidation at the time in East Walnut Hills, but those have seemingly faded away following the successful conversion of those streets to the west.

“This two-way conversion will make the two neighborhoods much more connected, and make the distance between DeSales Corner and Peeble’s Corner more walkable,” explained Kevin Wright, Executive Director of Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation. “Our goal is to make the two districts more connected, and this is one of many changes that will be put in place to make that area more walkable.”

Some of those other changes include the redevelopment of historic buildings throughout the business district, establishment of new public gathering spaces, and potential upgrades to the district’s bus service.

Since the last round of public meetings, staff from Cincinnati’s Department of Transportation & Engineering (DOTE) have prepared updated alternatives for traffic flow and streetscape enhancements. These alternatives were presented at a public meeting on February 25, 2015, which included many residents and business owners from the East Walnut Hills neighborhood.

The modifications include the addition of off-peak parking on the north side of William Howard Taft Road between Woodburn Avenue and Ashland Avenue, the addition of left turn lanes from E. McMillan Street to Victory Parkway, and the addition of a landscaped island on the east leg of the Woodburn Avenue and E. McMillan Street intersection.

Project officials say there will be another round of public feedback on these changes, and members of the public are encouraged to share their feedback with Greg Koehler [greg.koehler@cincinnati-oh.gov] or Curtis Hines [curtis.hines@cincinnati-oh.gov] by Wednesday, March 11.

  • Brian H

    Eliminate the right turn express lane from Victory Parkway on to Madison. That block of Madison is sprouting some great neighborhood businesses, but that turn lane encourages unsafe speeds on to a very short block. Eliminating that lane, or redesigning it, could open up that corner for some potential development or a nice gateway parklet.

    • EDG

      This is a story that keeps getting recycled. I’m sure we’re way past the point of engineering changes.

  • John Schneider

    McMillan is ideal for hositng a streetcar running between Hughes Corner to DeSales Corner – six neighborhoods served. Make McMillan principally for walkers, cyclists and transit and make Taft primarily for cars.

    • EDG

      The first local cable car ran from Gilbert downtown to McMillan then Woodburn before turning around north of desales

    • I like the idea of both. But a McMillan/Taft streetcar from Hughes to DeSales (via Woodburn at the east) makes the most sense for a Phase 3. Hughes can become the transfer point for a streetcar spur up Clifton/Ludlow to Northside. DeSales can become a transfer point for a BRT line east on Madison out to Oakley/Hyde Park.

    • Brian Boland

      100% spot on. This could be a huge corridor and revitalize huge swaths of Walnut Hills, East Walnut Hills, Corryville and Clifton. And imagine if (yes, I’m dreaming here) there were connection points at Gilbert/Peebles corner to a north/south running line and the same at Highland/Reading and Vine. If people could easily get downtown and to Clifton that would create a whole new dynamic in the greater uptown area.

  • Brian Boland

    This conversion cannot happen quickly enough.