Area Transit Agencies to Offer Free Rides to Those Using Bike Racks on May 15

For those not in the know, May is National Bike Month. It’s a month filled with bike rides, safety adverts and general proclamations of support for one of the humblest modes of transportation.

In celebration of this, Metro, the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky, and Clermont Transportation Connection have partnered to reward those getting around by bike, and to encourage people to combine bicycle trips that are augmented by bus service.

All three transit agencies feature bike racks on the front of all their buses. For many people, the bus can serve as a primary mode for their travel, while bikes serve the last-mile of the trip. Plus, in a hilly city like Cincinnati, buses can be used for even short jaunts up a steep incline for those not looking forward to the trek.

In celebration of Bike to Work Day, Metro, the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) and Clermont Transportation Connection (CTC) have partnered to show bicycle commuters just how easy biking and busing can be with free rides on Friday, May 15 only, when they transport their bikes on the easy-to-use bus bike racks.

So in order to reward and encourage people to use their bikes with bus service, the three transit agencies are offering free rides to anyone using the bike racks on the buses this Friday, May 15.

None of the agencies allow for bikes to be brought onto their buses, so it is a good idea for cyclists to get familiar with the operation of the retracting bike racks on the front of the buses. The racks installed on Metro, TANK and CTC can hold two bikes each.

First Designs Revealed For What Tiny Living Could Look Like in Over-the-Rhine

Brad Cooper unveiled his first designs for two 250-square-foot homes that will be built on the northern edge of Over-the-Rhine later this year.

After showcasing the designs and explaining the process to prospective home-buyers last night, Cooper now says that he hopes to keep moving the project forward so that they can be built by the end of the year, and welcome their tenants by 2016.

The homes are admittedly not for everyone. Instead of focusing on standard sizes and layouts, Cooper has instead focused on a minimalist approach that requires creativity and an open mind to make it work. But if recent trends in tiny living are any indicator, he might be on to something locally.

“You can still live large in a small space, but the homeowner’s lifestyle needs to align with the ethos of tiny living,” says Cooper.

The two initial lots that Cooper is looking to build on are located on Peete Street, where most of the northern side of the street has sat vacant for many years. The lots are small and have a steep slope near the rear, making them nearly impossible to develop according to traditional building practices.

The site layouts, which are still being refined as part of the ongoing design process, leave room for outdoor living space, as well as an adjacent, off-street spot to park a car.

Cooper, who is a professionally trained architect, is being partially driven to develop such a concept due to his belief that affordable housing can be for everyone, but that it begins with a quality upfront investment.

The goal is to sell both of the homes, which are priced at $70,000, by the end of summer or early fall, then to break ground shortly thereafter. For that price, Cooper says that the home-buyer would get most things that are expected in any home, but have options to include a full-size refrigerator, dish washer, washer/dryer, and built-in furniture.

Each of the homes will also come equip with solar panels at the rear of the lot.

At the $70,000 price point, Cooper says that someone making just $10 an hour working 40 hours a week could afford to buy one of the homes. Using standard financing benchmarks, he estimates that someone of that background could finance the home for approximately $500 a month after making a $2,000 down payment.

To help first-time home-buyers through the process, Cooper has partnered with Working in Neighborhoods so that they can get the information they need before moving forward.

Should such an endeavor be successful, it could prove to be a scalable model that the city could use to develop small, difficult lots that have long sat vacant. Most of these locations are located in or very near the center city, so it also gives people an affordable option for buying close to the core.

“You’re not just buying a tiny home, you’re purchasing a stake in one of the most remarkable historic districts in the country,” Cooper noted.

Interested home-buyers are required to attend one of the planned outreach sessions, like the one held last night. While the dates and locations for those have yet to be released, those who are interested can receive updates by signing up at StartSmallHomes.com.

The effort is being funded, in part, through a $100,000 Haile Fellowship at People’s Liberty.

Start Small, Live Large Event to Engage Homebuyers Interested in Tiny Living

In December we announced that one of our writers had won one of prestigious Haile fellowships at People’s Liberty. As part of that, Brad Cooper would receive $100,000 to quit his job and spend the next year developing a concept for affordable, tiny living in Over-the-Rhine.

Over the past five months Cooper has been developing his design, based on community and professional feedback; and he is now ready to present his initial designs at an event he’s hosting Wednesday evening at the Over-the-Rhine Recreation Center.

The event, called Start Small, Live Large, will showcase Cooper’s design concepts thus far, while also presenting additional information for those interested in purchasing one of the two 250-square-foot homes he plans to initially develop. In fact, this is actually the first of a series of events that interested homebuyers will be required to attend in order to eventually purchase one of the homes.

Cooper says that only those interested in eventually buying one of the homes should attend the event. He also notes that those potential homebuyers will need to attend only one of the events as part of this series.

To help these prospective investors better understand the process, Start Small, Live Large will feature a “Homebuyer 101” presentation from Working in Neighborhoods, with a question and answer period to follow.

The event will take place from 6pm to 7:30pm at the Over-the-Rhine Recreation Center at 1715 Republic Street. Light refreshments will be provided.

Is the Great Lakes region ready to start acting like a megaregion?

Only a small piece of land between Cincinnati and Dayton remains undeveloped, and many believe that remaining gap will disappear very soon. But the merging of Cincinnati and Dayton as one large metropolitan region is only part of the story, as shared regional identities with other large urban centers throughout the Great Lakes region becomes more pervasive. This and other regions like it around the U.S. are becoming even more centralized. More from The Week:

Though the concept has existed in academia for decades, planners are now looking at these dense corridors of population, businesses, and transportation and wondering if the megaregion may, in fact, be the next step in America’s evolution. With renewed interest and investment in urban centers and the projected growth of high speed rail, megaregions could easily become home to millions more Americans.

The Northeast corridor, for example, could receive up to 18 million more residents by 2050, according to estimates from the Regional Plan Association. And the region encompassing major cities in Texas including Houston and Dallas could see a spike from roughly 12 million to 18 million people in that same time, the association says.

And where population goes, economic growth is not far behind. The Northeast corridor would be the fifth largest economy in the world, with the Great Lakes megaregion at ninth and the Southern California megaregion outpacing Indonesia, Turkey, and the Netherlands as the 18th largest, according to 2012 estimates from real estate advisory RCLCO. The problem is, there are challenges to making these networks hold together. Unlike megaregions in Europe and Asia, for example, the United States has traditionally shied away from large umbrella governing organizations which surpass state borders.

Not building protected bike lanes is a transport policy failure

Most cities take a timid approach to building new protected bike lanes. Instead of building out a comprehensive and well-connected network, they go after segments of streets where the introduction of the bike lane will not take a lane of moving traffic or parking away from those driving cars. As it turns out, new research shows that this is a bad approach. More from Streetsblog USA:

Here’s one reason the modern biking boom is great for everyone: more bicycle trips mean fewer car trips, which can mean less congestion for people in cars and buses. But there’s a catch. A recent study shows that when bicycle use rises but cities don’t add bike lanes to put the new bikers in, traffic congestion actually gets worse. In some situations, it gets a lot worse.

If a city doesn’t build bike lanes, then “bikes vs. cars” is actually real. But if a city builds bike lanes, more biking becomes a win-win. Public support for bike infrastructure and programming depends on one crucial concept: that more biking benefits people whether or not they ever ride a bike themselves. Lewis, the Atlanta transportation deputy director, said that’s one big reason it’s important to add bike lanes to busy streets when possible.