Final Designs Revealed for Long-Envisioned Northside Transit Center

One of Cincinnati’s most popular neighborhoods will soon get its very own transit hub.

With more than 13,000 people boarding or exiting buses every day, Northside has long been one of the region’s busiest transit hubs. This is partially due to the neighborhood’s high population and business density, but also because of the numerous transfers from the eight bus routes there (15x, 16, 17, 19, 20, 23x, 27, 51).

This high transit ridership also creates an odd conversion of buses from all over the city. In an effort to clean up the operation of these bus routes, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority has long been trying to streamline and enhance operations at Knowlton’s Corner.

After years of work, that vision is finally becoming reality with the $320,000 Northside Transit Center.

“Northside has been working to improve bus traffic through the neighborhood for most of two decades, and the pieces are finally falling into place,” said Ollie Kroner, President of the Northside Community Council.

“Metro presented preliminary plans to the community in July. I would say we are a hard group to impress, but their drawings really exceeded expectations,” Kroner continued. “This should be good for commuters, and also good for our business district.”

Its location is further complimented by the nearly location of a large Cincy Red Bike Station at Hoffner Park.

Cincinnati-based MSA Architects has completed its designs for the new transit hub in the heart of the Northside business district immediately south of the recently completed $15 million Gantry Apartments development. The new facility will boast dedicated bus lanes, boarding platforms, passenger shelters, bike racks and lockers, and real-time arrival technology.

The plan also calls for a significant upgrade and expansion of an adjacent parking lot, which SORTA officials envision as also serving as a miniature park-and-ride facility with 18 allocated spaces.

Project officials say that the Northside Transit Center project is expected to be completed by late 2017.

Larger Implications
Northside has become the center point for the city as hit-and-runs with people walking and biking have increased. In September, this even led to the community organizing public demonstrations urging City Hall to reduce the speed limit through the business district, while also committing to other safety improvements city-wide.

The implementation of the Northside Transit Center will significantly help consolidate bus traffic through the popular business district, while also create a safe and hospitable place for people to wait for their transit connections.

“We have the second busiest transit hub in the city after Government Square, in a neighborhood that was built before we had cars,” Kroner told UrbanCincy. “The transit hub should make riding the bus easier, more comfortable, and safer in Northside.”

While the City of Cincinnati has not committed to a Vision Zero campaign, or an official Complete Streets policy, residents continue to call for such measures.

Meanwhile, the move also comes as Metro attempts to reinvent its region-wide bus system in order to better connect people with jobs. Historically, many bus systems relied on what is called a spoke-and-hub system that ran all routes to a central downtown transit center. This train of thought has changed as cities have become increasingly more mixed-use and diverse.

Metro officials plan to unveil a new regional transit plan in early 2017, and may possibly put a transit tax increase before votes next November to help implement the recommendations laid out in that plan.

  • Mark Christol

    Hope they can communicate this to riders.

  • ED

    Hopefully this will move the regular crowd waiting for the bus off the dangerous and blighted NW corner of Hamilton and Hoffner.

    • Mark Christol

      that stop is supposedly going to die.
      Unfortunately the poop, pee, & litter will likely move to the new hub.
      I heard about restroom facilities but I guess that’s just for Metro employees.

    • Maybe we can get a Portland Loo on that park space, like the one they installed at Smale.

  • Neil Spataro

    Overall I love the design, but I wish they weren’t planning to demolish 4041 Spring Grove. In its footprint, the plan has a new kiosk/storage building and a few parking spaces. It seems to me like they could use the existing building for the kiosk/storage space and elongate the northern half of the parking lot to fit the displaced parking spots.
    4041 isn’t in great shape right now, but it is a historic structure, and it stylistically fits the neighborhood. We only get one shot at decisions like this, and I think the evidence in favor of preservation (when possible) is pretty convincing.

    • Adam Nelson

      yes Yes YES YES!!!!

      I think Metro just has no idea what to do with a historic building so they figure just tear it down. There is NO reason to demolish it if they wanted to.

  • Troy Kicklighter

    Any chance of expanding light rail section to these areas? Many of us coming from areas north of cincy, Centerville, Dayton, Middletown, would love nothing more than to hop the rail to attend sports events and other entertainment activities…

    • That would be excellent. I have my own concepts for how to extend light rail from the center city to Northside and beyond. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts though.

    • ED

      Cincinnati & Lake Erie interurban would’ve connected to the subway near this location

  • matimal

    The images make it look like California. It won’t look like that much of the time with our climate.

  • Mark Christol

    Somebody asked: who will maintain the ‘park’ parts.
    Does Metro mow grass & tend to trees & gardens anywhere?
    Just the trash at Hamilton & Hoffner has long been a hot potato.

  • Troy Kicklighter

    Thanks for your response…I agree with recent studies showing the population of Dayton-Cincy will only continue to grow exponentially over the next 10 years…getting around by motor vehicles is already extremely difficult so finding ways & means to expand light rail with [rail] connections makes fact based decisions very logical for rail expansion…