Cincinnati Well-Positioned to Become America’s Air Pollution Leader

As if the Ohio River valley was already enough of a factor in the stagnation of air pollution in this region, now Cincinnati leaders have charted course on an effort that would advance the city’s ranking on the list of most polluted cities in America.

The list, released last month, shows that out of the top 100 metropolitan areas Cincinnati’s air quality is the eighth worst, with Cleveland coming in right behind us at number 10.

“We’re in a good position to close the gap to being in the top five over the next few years,” a layperson told UrbanCincy. “As long as our region keeps on driving everywhere those numbers are bound to increase.”

In fact, as construction continues on the new MLK Interchange along I-71, and the widening of I-75, the induced traffic demand from those two projects alone will allow for even more cars to become stuck on the region’s already gridlocked highways during rush hour.

“Widening highways to relieve traffic congestion is like an overweight person loosening their belt to lose weight,” someone smart once told us.

The $2.6 billion Brent Spence Bridge project, if it ever gets off the ground, would also do much to help push the region up the charts toward the most polluted city in America. In particular, many motorists look forward to the more pronounced smog and foggy orange haze expected to hang over the city and region for years to come.

Air quality is very important to Suburban Person, a financial analyst that works downtown. He tells UrbanCincy that he moved thirty miles out of the city just to escape the smog. Since he still works downtown he informed us he is sitting stuck in traffic on I-75 as of the writing of this article.

Time will tell if those evil progressive urbanists will get in the way of the grand plan by succeeding in actually passing some sort of regional mass transit plan, or even a streetcar extension, but until then the best way to the top is to keep on driving. Happy motoring everyone!

EDITORIAL NOTE: If it was not abundantly clear already, this is a satire post. No one should be proud of the fact that Cincinnati has the 8th worst air pollution in America.

  • Adam Nelson

    It’s been awhile since I’ve posted it, but, let’s just toll the existing BSB. So it would actually pay for its own repairs and because do we really need more NKY sprawl? Coupled with other existing ‘back to the city’ trends, we could watch our older city neighborhoods and first and second ring suburbs fill back up with taxpayers, prompting a population density that would support increased mass-transit service. There, problem solved, right?

    • ED

      Feds don’t allow existing highways to be tolled, that’s why they want a brand new bridge.

    • ED

      Feds don’t allow existing interstates previously built with public funds to be tolled

    • Adam Nelson

      I’m aware, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a good idea.

    • SC

      I’d favor a plain infrastructure tax moreover. All forms of transit are subsidized (including roads and highways) so why not just have a general tax and make an infrastructure bank that, unlike SS and all that, is not raided for other pet projects?

      We’d also benefit from thinking about what would be the most economical use of our dollars, which probably does not include a huge new bridge right next to a perfectly good one.

  • Jesse

    As far as I can tell what they mean when they describe the bridge as “functionally obsolete” and unsafe is that it’s design leads to an increase in accidents once traffic reaches a certain threshold. Many people think the problem is that the bridge is about to collapse. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that does not seem to be the case.

    Maybe if more people got the image of the bridge falling into the river out of their heads there would be support for traffic limiting measures, putting the bridge on a diet rather than buying it bigger pants.

    I’m not sure what this traffic diet would look like. Maybe tolls. Maybe go ahead and implement some of the safety features from the replacement plan such as better approaches and a pull-over lane. I realize that would make congestion much worse but perhaps that’s what it takes to get people to use a different route or even rethink their commuter lifestyle.

    We could use that 2 billion or whatever dollars bridge money for something that might actually make our city a better place to live. A light rail system? A new U.S. Bank arena? Free graters for everybody next summer? All of the above?

    • ED

      Yeah, it’s not the only major bridge in the US without a shoulder. Enforce the speed limit, make semi’s drive only in one lane and that would probably reduce the major semi-car accidents that cause most of the closers.

      The main thing I think of regarding the BSB is that why is 275 called the “bypass” if it’s not???

    • Absolutely. The pro-bridge expansion groups keep using rhetoric implying that the bridge is about to fall into the river, which is absolutely false and very dishonest. As long as we perform the necessary routine maintenance, the current bridge is safe and will hold up for several more decades.

    • The way I understand it, no, the bridge is not in imminent danger of collapse, but there are increasing construction problems causing safety concerns.

      http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/your-watchdog/2014/10/06/report-scores-brent-spence-decline/16841309/

      Here’s the problem, and it’s alluded to in the Enquirer story above: officials are not repairing the bridge, because they’re so focused on the new “replacement” bridge (really not a replacement at all since the old bridge will still stay) that they’re delaying repairs. This is perfect politically for OKI and others pushing the new bridge, because as long as the media keeps terming the new bridge a “replacement” OKI can convince everyone the current bridge is unsafe. In reality, either it IS unsafe and our political leaders are failing us by not authorizing repairs, or it is NOT unsafe and they’re essentially lying to us.

      The reality is: the new bridge will probably be built with tolls, once the furor dies down or some dramatic safety issue really does occur. But it is disheartening the political games being played with this bridge.

  • ED

    You can definitely breathe the smog during the am and pm commutes. When I drive in down Clifton Ave, you can easily see the smog in the morning daylight and I almost always roll up my windows coming down the hill. I imagine asthma rates and other smog-related issues are higher in Northside being in the basin and right on two highways. More reasons than just congestion to avoid 75.

  • SquidHunter

    Suburban people are the laziest trash in this county. They will literally drive a quarter mile to some crappy chain food restaurant instead of walking/biking like normal people. Then they complain about wasting their life in traffic, the price of gas, or parking. Just annoying considering they are the most subsidized demographic and yet are the biggest contributors to problems like pollution and obesity. Life is rough I guess when you’re not smart enough to live downtown… #simpletons #peasants

    • lawgone

      Dumbest thing I’ve read in awhile. #moron #troll

    • SquidHunter

      Nothing stated above is drastically incorrect. Suburban people and their lazy car dependent lifestyle result in higher rates of obesity and are larger contributors to this country’s pollution problems when compared to their urban counterparts. Correlation does not imply causation, but suburban people who commute via car are statistically fatter than their urban counterparts who bike/walk to work:

      http://www.planetizen.com/node

      http://coolclimate.berkeley.ed

      http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2015007/article/14204/c-g/fig1-eng.gif

      The irony here of course is the fact that the people who moved out to the suburbs for the “space” and “yards” end up watching TV inside all day anyway…

    • Noibn48

      Yeah, you’re sure get folks to listen to you and begin to modify their lifestyles by lecturing them as if they were idiots and as if your poop didn’t smell and In fact, you come off as a classic Cincinnatian but from the other direction. What a snob.

  • Bill

    This bridge was given one of the lowest ratings of any major bridge in the country by the government, not a bunch of scheming suburbanites looking to waste tax payer money to ensure no mass transit can be built. Give me a break. This is a bridge that is failing. Period. Its a crucial passage way for business and the local and national economy, not just people who live outside the city and are unwilling to use the bus. Believe it or not folks, some people want to live in a home with a yard away from a city center. Even if every person moved to the city center and used mass transit, replacing the bridge would be necessary. Business will still need to take place and we’ll need something more than bike lanes. The business community has come together to stress the importance of the bridge project. Large companies that employ a lot of local residents. Infrastructure like highways and bridges are necessary. Should we have a balance of both traditional infrastructure and modern transportation options? Sure. Is mass transit a great idea that will alleviate problems with congestion? Absolutely. But the idea that we can reroute trucks and slap some paint on it and all will be well is wilfully ignorant at best.

    Also, the lawmakers can’t even fund this project as is. You really think they’d scrap it, put in a plan for a light rail, and it would pass with flying colors? C’mon.