Metro To Break Ground on $1.2 Million Oakley Transit Center Next Summer

At its 2015 State of Metro meeting on Friday, Dwight Ferrell announced that the region’s largest transit agency will be build a new transit center in Oakley, along with a variety of other transit improvements in the immediate area.

The $1.2 million project will get started next summer and be built along the Isben Avenue, just east of Marburg Avenue. The location is in the middle of an area that has been completely transformed over the past two decades, including such projects as Center of Cincinnati and Oakley Station.

The project is part of a larger effort by Metro to overhaul its regional bus system from a traditional hub-and-spoke model, which focused on moving people in and out of the center city, to one that has more flexibility and connects more people, more directly, with job centers throughout the region.

“We are always looking ahead and planning for the future needs of this community,” SORTA Board Chair Jason Dunn said in a prepared statement. “Our goal is to continue to operate efficiently while constantly working to improve service.”

This particular project directly addresses the new vision for Metro by significantly enhancing transit service to an estimated 7,100 jobs in the nearby area, major shopping destinations and the Crossroads megachurch. It also builds on other recent transit hub projects like the Glenway Crossing Transit Center and Uptown Transit District, and the planned Northside Transit Center and Walnut Hills Transit District.

Metro officials say that the Oakley Transit Center will consist of four boarding bays, park-and-ride spaces for commuters, enhanced transit shelters and wayfinding, real-time arrival screens, and a ticketing kiosk like those at Government Square and the Uptown Transit District.

As of now, the improvements made as part of the Oakley Transit Center will immediately improve service for routes 4, 11, 12X, 41 and 51.

While Metro has stated that they are currently short on capital funding for upgrading their fleet, the funds for this project were provided by the Federal Surface Transportation Program, along with some local funds.

  • Jonathan Hay

    I don’t think this is a very good location. It’s in the middle of a suburban big box center in the city. You have to walk a ways through parking before getting to any density.

    • Jesse

      I agree. Although, it is more of a problem with the development than the transit center. I can’t believe how uninspired the “planning” was in that area. What a waste. We could have had a good mix of housing, maybe a park or similar public space and unique businesses that would compliment Oakley square. Instead we get big boxes and chains to suck customers away from the real business district.

      I wonder if they could at least connect the new development to Oakley proper by extending one of the roads that currently dead ends into Enyart Ave. Could Appleton St. cross the train tracks to connect to Oakley station where the new apartments are?

    • The whole area is an urban planning disaster. At least this transit center might serve as a park and ride for people living in the surrounding neighborhoods.

    • Ethan

      I wish this area had developed more like how East Liberty in PGH is filling in. It’s not often you get such a huge hole in the middle of a healthy neighborhood, but CIN’s developers have absolutely no imagination.

    • BillCollins45227

      Travis is right. I live near this site, but it’s a little bit too far from my house (about one mile, crossing multiple busy streets along the way) to walk it. But, as Randy says, it’s a good park ‘n ride spot.

      Also, although wages in all those big-box retail stores (Fresh Thyme, Kroger, Target, Meijer and Sam’s Club) are very low, the fact that wages *are* low means that retail workers in those stores will be able to save a lot of money by leveraging the multiple bus routes that will converge at these shelters and *not* having to either buy cars or pay high Uber fares just to get to work.

      Where I live (east of this site), there are another 5,000 workers who work at the 5th 3rd Bank Operations Center to which this hub will connect. I see these workers taking the #11 to 5th 3rd every day, and I can assure you there are a boatload of them, even though the aeshetics of the massive parking lots in and around the 5th 3rd Bank Operations Center are indeed hideous.

      So, let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. This project is about helping working people commute to work a bit more conveniently, without having to purchase, insure, repair, and buy gasoline for personal vehicles.

    • SC

      Agreed. I think this right here is a reason we need to have a serious talk on true mass transit. If we had light rail or any semblance of a regional mass transit system, maybe it would’ve bolstered the idea of development without parking lots all over the place.

      Until we get serious about transit, developers will continue to appease everyone with a parking spot (or two).

    • Jonathan Hay

      A serious talk our subsidize of automobiles and mobility would be great. But building the wrong light rail would be worse than not having one. We need to be sure it has a chance of success. We need walkability and density around the sites because it will be a waste of money if half the stops are from one huge empty parking lot to the next. Built in hopes that someone else rides the train.

    • SC

      I look at places like Seattle, etc. that are booming and have transit. Their economies certainly help but if the streetcar is any indication, would population continue to follow the building of serious transit?

    • I think these types of transit enhancements will help the area. While there is much to be improved from an urban design standpoint, it will at least give people better options and improved quality.

  • Brian Boland

    So someone is going to walk across the sea of parking lots all the way from Sam’s to this spot? In the rain and snow? I don’t see that happening.

    It’s nicely laid out and it’s clean, and you can call it what you like, but it’s still just a bus stop. And it’s a bus stop in the middle of nowhere. I applaud SORTA/Metro for trying new things, but they can’t get their heads around the needs of a person on foot in a world of acres-large parking lots and big box stores that are spread out to cater to their car-borne patrons. A bus simply doesn’t fit, nor does a bus stop.

    Here’s the perspective: People complain that the streetcar will only have a beneficial effect on an area within 2 blocks of each stop. This bus stop is FAR MORE than two city blocks from anything in this development. So if people living and working in an urban setting won’t walk that far for transit–and they are probably high users of transit to begin with–who exactly is going to traverse the city-blocks worth of parking lots here, in a population of low users of transit?

    • Well Sam’s is an extreme example. Most likely people would not walk from there to this location, but another bus stop could easily be placed outside of Sam’s, along Isben, if that is seen as a ridership driver.

      Otherwise, the location of this transit center is right outside of a grocery store, fitness club, pet store, church, Target and caddy corner from what all has been built at Oakley Station, which includes a movie theater.

    • Mark McEwan

      The major difference in a bus transit center like this and the Cincy streetcar is accessibility beyond the walking-shed of the stop itself. The streetcar’s one seat ride coverage area is about 20 city blocks long and 6 city blocks wide. This TC would have access to a lot of the city in a one seat ride… connectivity to Madisonville, Pleasant Ridge, Hyde Park, Evanston, Norwood, Walnut Hills, and more. I realize the frequency and span of service to some of these neighborhoods is not good but you can make it to your movie if you plan accordingly. I just took the 12X from downtown to the Cineamark Tuesday to see Star Wars and walked from Madison & Vandercar.

      I will and do openly say that the Center of Cincinnati and Oakley Station are beyond poor examples of urban-ish infill/development, but the reality that SORTA works in is getting people where they need to go now and in the future. As much as I think more “choice riders” should try Metro as a means of transportation we should be thinking about those who currently ride to these big boxes because that is where they work. Target, Kroger, Meijer, Fresh Thyme and all the new businesses going in need workers, and a lot of that workforce should and does come from people in neighborhoods listed above who need transit to get to their job.