Thinking big in a bold, new Cincinnati

Is it possible? That’s the question I find myself asking more and more lately. Cincinnati has been doing a number of great things lately and the place we all love seems to be making positive strides in a number of areas (i.e. education, public safety). With all of these positive steps forward there seems to be a never-ending list of more items that we all want to see happen.

There seems to be a large contingent of people out there who want to see the region’s transportation system improved. Maybe it’s light rail, streetcars, buses, bridges, or something else. You might like the idea of one, some, or even all of these…or maybe you like parts of some and not of others. That’s not what I’m talking about.

What I want to know is are we capable of doing several of these things without jeopardizing the others? I am in favor of the streetcar system, but I would also like to see our bus system reformed and expanded. I would also like to see a light rail system that goes right along with a regional high speed rail system connecting urban centers across the Midwest.

It is not an either/or proposition here. We can have improved bus service AND invest in the beginnings of a comprehensive streetcar system. We can rebuild I-75 through Queensgate and the West End while also incorporating “green” strategies and reconnecting neighborhoods. And I think we can repopulate Over-the-Rhine without also displacing or harming the current residents there. It’s just a matter of will, and I think Cincinnati is starting to build up the necessary will to be able to act in such a way (see The Banks, QCS II). Are you on board?

Photo By Jake Mecklenburg –

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.