PHOTOS: Cincy Red Bike Quickly Taking Shape Throughout City Center

Last week’s press conference on Fountain Square revealed a number of new details regarding Cincinnati’s new bike share system. In addition to unveiling the design of the bikes, stations and membership cards, officials also finally shared the system’s name – Cincy Red Bike.

Jason Barron, executive director of Cincy Red Bike, said that dozens of volunteers quickly assembled 260 of the bikes that will populate the initial 35-station system. Barron further clarified a point discussed in our analysis from just before the conference, and stated that each station will have between 13 and 19 docks, thus giving the system an initial docking capacity of 520 bikes. This would easily exceed the ideal 50% space contingency.

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The press was also informed that the station at Union Terminal, which would have been a far off island from the rest of the initial system, has since been scratched for that very reason.

“Research indicated that having an island station like that is difficult for system balancing and that it typically does not get much use,” Barron told UrbanCincy. “An exception may be a park or someplace where people check out the bike ride it around the park and them check it back in.”

In terms of handling the balancing for such a large initial system, Cincy Red Bike will be utilizing a small van at first, but may add a trailer or a bike trailer to the balancing fleet at a later date depending on the system’s needs.

The process of getting a system like this operational so quickly comes with some challenges. While installing two to three new stations a day, officials are also still trying to work out the final membership and daily rates for users. Barron also says that the system map has changed some since initial releases, and that a new map will be released soon.

Those who want to stay up-to-date on the rapidly evolving system can do so now by following Cincy Red Bike on Facebook and on Twitter @CincyRedBike.

EDITORIAL NOTE: All 24 photos were taken by Breanna Tracy for UrbanCincy on August 16, 2014.

PHOTOS: LumenoCity Showcases Music Hall’s Splendor for Second Consecutive Year

The wildly popular LumenoCity returned to Washington Park two weekends ago, and once again highlighted the splendor of Music Hall with a dazzling display of light, music and dance.

Each night included capacity crowds of anywhere between 12,000 to 20,000 people depending on reports. Each night had 12,000 official ticketed spots on the Washington Park lawn, but thousands of additional spectators lined up on nearby streets, balconies and rooftops. Additionally, the event was streamed live on the Internet and on local television.

The event also served as a critical campaign tool for those looking to put a sales tax on the November ballot to pay to renovate Union Terminal and Music Hall. However, it came as a huge surprise to most everyone involved and watching that Hamilton County Commissioners voted 2-1 to not approve the proposal as it was written, and moved forward instead with a plan that eliminated the spectacular Music Hall.

UrbanCincy contributing photographer, Brian Spitzig, was there on multiple nights shooting the event. The following video and 21 photos were taken over the course of that weekend.

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Off the Vine Juice Bar to Bring Healthy, Cold-Pressed Juices to OTR

Off the Vine Juice Bar will open between A Tavola and Sloane Boutique in Over-the-Rhine at the end of September.

Owners Annie McKinney and Cydney Rabe currently teach fitness classes at Core Pilates Studios and are embarking in the food industry for the first time. They will be joined by and Rabe’s brother, Steve Vickers, who has been in the food industry for many years.

The juice bar will have cold-pressed juices made with fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs – meaning the juice is extracted without the use of heat. Each drink will have about two to three pounds of fruit in it, and the owners say that the process they will use allows the juice to maintain its maximum nutrients without compromising the enzymes.

“It’s an easy and delicious way to incorporate raw fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens that so many Americans lack from their diet,” explained McKinney.

Off the Vine will also offer juice cleanses that are meant to rest and detox the body from any poor eating habits. Overall, the owners say their goal is to create an environment where people can be comfortable with coming in and asking questions about the importance of incorporating more raw fruits and vegetables into their daily lives.

The Over-the-Rhine location, which was previously home to Cincy Haus and served as the base for the popular American Legacy Tours, was also extremely important for the team.

“OTR is our home, and it’s important for us to help build the neighborhood that we love, and share our passion for fresh, cold-pressed juice with our neighbors,” McKinney told UrbanCincy. “Cincinnati is such a wonderful place to be right now.”

In addition to serving those visiting the increasingly trendy neighborhood, the owners say they hope to capture local residents as their customers and make it into a local, healthy hangout.

“We understand that life is about balance and we want everyone to be the best and realest versions of themselves by supplying their bodies with real fruits and vegetables.”

An official opening date has not yet been set, but is targeted for the end of September. Once open, Off the Vine will be open from 9am to 6pm Monday through Friday, and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays. Prices for a typical 16-ounce juice will range from $7 to $9.

Initial $2M Phase of Cincy Bike Share On-Pace for September Opening

Cincinnati Bike Share Station MapCincinnati city officials and community leaders are expected to gather at Fountain Square Tuesday morning to unveil the first of Cincy Bike Share’s 35 stations. The ceremony will mark the official start to construction of Ohio’s second and largest bike share system.

Queen City Bike says that the process will move quickly, with two to three stations being installed daily until all 35 stations planned for Downtown and Uptown are built. At the same time, there will be a volunteer effort to assemble the system’s 300 bikes.

“We hope to assemble at least 200 bike share bikes by Friday,” said Frank Henson, President of Queen City Bike, and member of Cincy Bike Share’s Board of Trustees. “This is being done by area volunteer mechanics under the supervision of B-Cycle.”

The aggressive schedule puts the system on track to open by early September, which is not far off the initial goal of opening by August.

The progress comes after Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley (D) announced $1.1 million to more than half of the initial $2 million in upfront capital costs. At the time, Cincy Bike Share director, Jason Barron, said the commitment from the City of Cincinnati was critical in not only getting things moving, but also showing the private sector that it is all for real.

“The mayor’s commitment makes the project a true public private partnership,” Barron told UrbanCincy in April. “The City’s commitment is important to the private funders we have been speaking to, and I believe that it will unlock the last bit of funds that we need.”

Bike share systems have been growing in popularity in North America over recent years. While the most notable are Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare, Chicago’s Divvy and New York City’s Citi Bike, there are now dozens of other cities operating similar systems. The large number and established time period of operations now has given planners a chance to examine empirical data to see what works best.

The more complexities you add to a mode of transportation’s functionality, the less likely someone is to choose that given mode for their trip. This is something that is true across all modes of transportation. As a result, the station density and space contingency calculations have proven to be consistent indicators for a bike share system’s success or failure.

Studies have found that a higher station density is better, and that a target should be approximately 28 stations per square mile. For a city like Cincinnati, that averages out to be a station every couple of blocks. However, the number and placement of Cincy Bike Share stations will be much lower than this target.

When examining of each of the 35 station locations, the system’s station density can be calculated in two different ways. The first would look at just the immediate area in which the stations are located. The second would look at the intended service area for those stations. Naturally, the latter is a bit more subjective.

In the case of the first scenario, the Downtown/OTR portion of the system would have approximately 15 stations per square mile, while the Uptown portion would have 10. Overall, the system in its entirety would average out to a respectable 13 stations per square mile.

But under the more second scenario that factors for intended service area these numbers drop. In this case, Downtown/OTR would fall to 12 stations per square mile, and Uptown would plummet approximately four stations per square mile. Overall, the system total would average out to be nearly stations per square mile.

It is important to note that neither of these scenarios includes the Union Terminal station in its calculation since it is an outlier and would clearly skew the results. Furthermore, Downtown/OTR and Uptown were separated in their calculations since many planners and observers concede that the two areas will most likely operate in isolation of one another.

The point is to ensure that there are consistently stations within a short distance of one another so that if one station is full or empty, another station is close by for the potential user. If that user encounters such a situation, however, it is most likely that the potential user will avoid using bike share altogether and instead opt for a different mode.

One of the ways this can be combatted is through the use of real-time tracking technology that allows users to see exactly how many bikes or stalls are available at any station at any given time. This, of course, only aids those with access to data plans on compatible smart phones, and those who think to use it.

In order to fix the problem of full or empty stations, system operators perform ‘bike balancing’ which moves excess bikes from one station to another that is low on bikes. This balancing act proves to be one of the most costly elements of operating a bike share system. In Chicago and bigger cities they utilize small vans to move the bikes around. But in Salt Lake City, where their GREENBike system is quite small, they utilize trailers hitched to the back of other bikes.

As a result of this complex balancing act, and potential barrier to users, another key element of bike share systems is a space contingency at each station. What this means is that if a station has a capacity for 10 bikes, it should not be stocked with 10 bikes. Instead, data suggests that about a 50% space contingency is ideal.

In Cincinnati’s case, Cincy Bike Share will have enough bikes for there to be roughly nine docked at each of the system’s 35 stations. If the system were to fall in line with this 50% space contingency, which would mean that an additional four to five stalls should be available at any given time, meaning each station should have a total of 13-14 stalls. This, however, is not the case.

Cincinnati’s typical station will have 10 stalls, and thus only have a 10% space contingency. Cincy Bike Share officials have not yet commented as to how this will be mitigated, but a potential solution would be simply to not deploy all 300 bikes at once – something that seems reasonable since bikes will need to rotate in and out for repairs. In this case, a more appropriate number of bikes to be in use at any given time might be 240.

Cincinnati’s bikes are expected to be available for use 24 hours a day, and will most likely be available for use year-round. Cincy Bike Share will be responsible for setting the rate structure, which is not final yet, but annual memberships are pegged at $75 to $85 and daily passes between $6 to $8.

Uptown was originally envisioned as a second phase to the system; but now that it is being included in the initial rollout, it leaves an expansion to Northern Kentucky as the next logical choice.

More details are expected to be announced at the press event later in the week.

Second Sunday on Main Will Get Its ‘Game On’ at This Month’s Street Festival

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, now that there isn’t a three-day light/live music/live dancing spectacular scheduled for Washington Park, you can head to the other side of Over-the-Rhine for this month’s Second Sunday on Main event.

Once again Main Street will be closed to vehicular traffic, between Thirteenth and Liberty Streets, from 1pm to 4pm.

As is par for the course, Main Street merchants will be offering in-store discounts and there will be more than 100 vendors setup outside on the street selling everything art, sweets, clothing, jewelry and a slew of other handmade and local stuff.

Organizers also say that Ragg Addict will be celebrating its one-year anniversary with a fashion show, giveaways and entertainment. Meanwhile, Park+Vine will be hosting a cloth diapering workshop and book signing, for 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles, inside their store.

The theme for this month’s SSOM event is ‘Game On’ and is being sponsored by Cincinnati Sports League, which also sponsors the biergarten at Second Sunday on Main each month. In tune with the theme, there will be a game zone setup at Fourteenth and Main Streets that will feature cornhole, flick football, a soccer goal challenge and a football toss station.

On top of all that, there will be live music, cooking demonstrations, crosswalk painting from Art on the Streets, live screen printing of a limited-edition SSOM logo, and make-your-own postcard swap.

SSOM will take place this Sunday, August 10 from 1pm to 4pm on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. The open streets event is free and open to the public.

EDITORIAL NOTE: UrbanCincy is an official media partner of Second Sunday on Main; and is proud to support the city’s oldest open streets festival.