News Politics Transportation

Cincinnati Quickly Falling Behind on Bicycle Transportation Goals

[This story was originally published in the Cincinnati Business Courier print edition on February 18, 2011. Visit the original story for more comments, thoughts and opinions on the lagging state of Cincinnati’s bicycle infrastructure – Randy.]

A year after Cincinnati approved massive bicycling reforms little progress has been made in terms of on-the-ground improvements. The city installed only 2.3 miles of on-street facilities in 2010, and currently only has a total of 15.6 miles of on-street facilities city-wide. The number pales in comparison to the Phase 1 goal of 91 miles of on-street facilities by 2015.

To meet the Phase 1 goal, Cincinnati will have to install 75.4 miles of on-street facilities over the next three years. That equates to approximately 25.1 miles annually which would be a 991 percent increase over what was accomplished in 2010.

The numbers come from the second annual Bicycling Report Card just released by the city. While the physical improvements have been nominal at best, bicyclists have noticed an improvement city-wide noting that respect for bicyclists and the completeness of the city’s bicycle network have improved. Overall though, bicyclists continued to give Cincinnati a “C” grade when it comes to Cincinnati being a city for bicycling.

“We have heard from other cities that the first few years of implementation are always the most challenging,” said Department of Transportation & Engineering (DOTE) planner Melissa McVay. “When it comes right down to it, adding bicycle facilities to most streets in Cincinnati is going to require consolidating on-street parking or removing a motor vehicle travel lane, neither of which are particularly popular with most community councils right now.”

McVay went on to say that construction of new on-street bicycle facilities is critically important in terms of getting potential cyclists out of their cars. According to the report card’s survey, the largest deterrent from bicycling more is the lack of bike lanes throughout the city.

“There’s a lot of research out there that shows that these trade-offs are worth it, and how bicycles play a critical role in sustaining vibrant urban areas, so I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to make more and more progress every year,” McVay continued.

Even with the minimal progress made in 2010 in terms of on-street bicycle facilities, city officials have hope going forward that they can still accomplish the goals set forth in the Bicycle Transportation Plan.

“City officials tout safety as a priority. Usually it has to do with crime and auto-related travel, but they really must show a greater commitment to the safety of bicyclists, who are a growing demographic,” explained Christian Huelsman, Green Clifton Committee Chair for Clifton Town Meeting. “Minor commitments to bicycle infrastructure have been lean at best. The new bicycle lanes we do have aren’t even properly signed or labeled.”

According to the DOTE, City Council has been very supportive of the plan and has fully funded the department’s funding requests for 2011 and 2012. This is in addition to the policy changes that were made last year including bicycle parking requirements, the creation of a Bicycle Friendly Destinations Program and an enhanced bicycle safety ordinance.

“I think the reality of the situation is that it’s going to take several years of significant progress before the average cyclist feels like there’s been substantive improvement, in the network and overall,” McVay said. “For comparison, San Francisco cyclists awarded their city a B- overall in 2008, and they have 40 miles of existing bike lanes.”

Arts & Entertainment News

Autumn Air Art Fair brings emerging artists to Clifton

The second annual Autumn Air Art Fair will be 11am to 5pm Saturday, November 6 at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center in the historic Clifton Gaslight District.

With over 40 local artists displaying their craft in painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, jewelry, fiber art, glass and graphics, the juried show will prove to be a fun time for artists and purveyors alike.

Four local artists will be judging the show, including Kay Hurley, a nationally recognized pastel artist; Terri Kern, a nationally recognized ceramist; Tamera Muente, Curator of Keystone Contemporary Gallery at the Taft Museum; and Sylvia Rhombis, owner of the Malton Gallery.

Local artist and organizer Pam Irvin is excited about two unique aspects of this show. “This year we will be featuring an ’emerging artist’ area, which will be displaying works from students ages 5-18 for sale,” Irvin explained. “Proceeds from selling the art goes towards the Autumn Air Art Fair Scholarship Fund, a scholarship available for art education students up to age 24.”

The show is free to the public with free parking on the street and at Cincinnati Recreation Center adjacent to the Clifton Cultural Arts Center – 3711 Clifton Avenue.

For more information on the event and scholarship fund and to sign up to volunteer email

Business Development News

Former Boss Cox home to become new Clifton Library Branch

The Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County will move its Clifton Branch from Ludlow Avenue to Parkview Manor nearby.  The $3.5 million project will require a full renovation of the 1895 home for notorious Cincinnati politician George Barnsdale “Boss” Cox.

Once the home of arguably Cincinnati’s most influential politician, the 10,000 square-foot Parkview Manor was designed by the famed Samuel Hannaford and is located directly across from Burnet Woods near the intersection of Brookline, Wentworth and Jefferson avenues (map).  Hannaford’s trademark use of limestone coursing and geometrically shaped rooms are visible here.  The architect’s firm, Hannaford and Sons, completed over 300 buildings in the Cincinnati area, including both Music Hall and City Hall.

Boss Cox meanwhile was known for controlling the goings on in Cincinnati through the Reform movement of the late 1800s. While his methods of governance were dictatorial and corrupt, Cox also made contributions to the city, including street cleaning and developing the plan for the ill-fated subway system.

The existing Clifton Branch of the Public Library is currently one of the busiest, and smallest, in the entire county-wide system. Its location on Ludlow Avenue does not have a dedicated meeting space, yet last year the branch presented 232 programs which were attended by 5,281 people.  The programs included a wide variety of topics including a weekly preschool story time and an English as a second language conversation group.

Circulation at the Clifton Branch has increased more than 12 percent over the past four years, which library officials believe is evidence that demand for the library is far exceeding the current capacity. The new location would be four times the size of the current building on Ludlow Avenue.  The new facility would also allow for a larger material collection space, more computer space, a dedicated children’s area, program room, teen area, and an easily accessible location with 16 parking spots in an extremely walkable neighborhood.

In order to make this dream a reality, library officials need to raise $3.5 million to renovate Parkview Manor and complete the move.  The library is actively seeking contributions for this project, and those interested in helping can contact development director John Reusing at (513) 369-4591 or through the project’s web page.

Arts & Entertainment News

2010 DAAP Fashion Show dazzles sold-out crowd, top names in fashion

Considered to be one of the 50 things to do before you die, the 59th Annual Macy’s Fashion Show dazzled a sold-out crowd of 1,500 in Uptown Cincinnati while hundreds more participated in overflow watch parties nearby.  The 2010 class of graduates showcased their work for some of the top names in the industry as they gathered in Cincinnati to recruit some of the best new fashion design talents.

For the second straight year, Seven/Seventy-Nine was tasked with creating videos that introduced each section of the show. With the themes – Adapt, Transform, Evolve – of this year’s show in mind, Seven/Seventy-Nine created the following videos to introduce and compliment the exciting visual experience that was the 2010 DAAP Fashion Show.

Arts & Entertainment News

DAAP Works 2010 to showcase world’s best design projects

Each year those graduating from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning put on a show of their final work for visitors from all over the nation. DAAP Works 2010 will highlight the creative work of students from the internationally acclaimed Architecture, Urban Planning, Digital Design, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Industrial Design programs.

This year’s exhibition will run from Tuesday, June 8 through Saturday, June 12. DAAP Works 2010 is free and open to the public, and is open on Tuesday from 5pm to 9pm, Wednesday through Friday from 9am to 9pm, and Saturday from 12pm to 2pm. The week-long showcase will be highlighted on Friday night with the 59th Annual Macy’s Fashion Show.

The primary DAAP Works exhibition will be held inside the Aronoff Center for Design & Art and the Meyers Gallery both located on UC’s main campus (map). Visitors will be treated to a variety of visual displays including architectural models, product design, digital animation, fashion showcases, art installations and more.

This year’s graduating class includes UrbanCincy writer, and Interior Design graduate, Jennifer Kessler.  Jennifer’s final project is a design for a children’s library in Over-the-Rhine that utilizes a historic structure along Clay Street.  The Children’s Library of Over-the-Rhine’s design concept is based around a nook concept and will be on display on the building’s 4000 level near the DAAP Cafe.

Considered to be one of the 50 things to do before you die, the 59th Annual Macy’s Fashion Show will take place at 8pm inside UC’s award-winning Campus Recreation Center (CRC) where another sold-out crowd of 1,500 is expected. Tickets are required for this event and cost $40 for general admission to the show or $50 for preferred seating. Tickets are also available for a cocktail reception prior to the show for $40, and the VIA After party for $20. Those unable to attend the fashion show in person are able to purchase $20 tickets for a live simulcast that includes access to the VIA After party located directly outside the CRC. All tickets can be purchased online or by calling (513) 451-6191.