Opinion Transportation

Redefined Over-the-Rhine Intersection Prioritizes Pedestrians

The following is a guest post by Indianapolis based planner Jeffrey Tomkins with a forward from Micah Paldino, Clifton Heights resident, and founder of creative storytelling agency, Fallon Thatcher. It has been edited lightly.

“With the area in and around Findlay Market expanding with new restaurants, bars, and lifestyle concepts, the neighborhood is primed and ready for a conversation around how we provide a safer and more beautiful experience.

This is timed nicely with ongoing construction of FC’s stadium set to open in March 2021 that will bring even more focus on how pedestrians utilize this space. Visibility for pedestrians at this important, but rather troubling and cumbersome, intersection has always been a pain point when crossing the street and competing with cars.

In this reconfiguration designed by Jeffery Tompkins it lessens the risk for pedestrians by reducing the allowances of turns and creates a calmer environment. This is something we need more than ever as Over-the-Rhine and Clifton Heights become a more singular unit.”

Micah Paldino
Vine Street and McMicken Avenue today. Photo by John Yung.

The intersection of Vine St. and McMicken St. is one of Cincinnati’s more complicated – and potentially more deadly. While it has been the subject of art, the first search engine result for the five-way intersection lists pedestrian deaths as its biggest story. And this is no surprise: complicated turn radii, low vehicle visibility from a wild angle of incidence, and an antiquated slip lane have created a logistical nightmare for cyclists and pedestrians hoping to cross the intersection.

Current Traffic Circulation

Any design intervention hoping to calm traffic and improve mobility at this nexus should account for the district-wide significance of this crossing and, thus, must think in terms of the relevant traffic flow through Vine and McMicken corridors. As it stands, current traffic flow is overly complicated and caters almost entirely to automobiles rather than encouraging pedestrian interaction.

Seen from this map, the wide turn radii and allowance of multitudinous turning options fosters inhospitable conditions for peds, with several critical points ripe for accidents. On top of decreasing pedestrian safety, this wide array of turns also can negatively impact traffic flow and connectivity between adjacent neighborhoods. To fully reconfigure the intersection to allow for smoother traffic flow and safety, traffic flow of the corridor should be reanalyzed and possibly rerouted.

To allow for a complete-streets redesign of Vine/McMicken, my proposal eliminates left turns from McMicken onto Vine and removes right turns from Vine onto McMicken. North-bound traffic on Vine intending to turn right on McMicken would be rerouted to a new two-way Elder St. allowing for southbound travel. South-bound traffic on Vine intending to turn right on McMicken would instead be rerouted south to a two-way Elder and directed north-ward on a reconfigured two-way Race St. north of the Cincinnati streetcar connector, leaving the slip lane redundant. North-bound traffic from McMicken onto Vine would be routed south from Pace to Elder and then north on Vine. South-bound traffic from McMicken to Vine would instead utilize Elder as a conduit between the two streets. While this reconfiguration could create inconveniences for residents in the near-term, it is with a long-term eye toward saving pedestrian lives that makes it worth it. Atop this, the redesign hopes for slower traffic, improvements in overall traffic flow with elimination of one-ways, and a reduction in accidents.

Corridor Flow Map

Aside from turn-regulation at the intersection, my proposal forVine/McMicken involves the capping of Findlay St. to eliminate the five-way and diminish incidence points. With this reclaimed space from the new configuration and removal of slip lanes, public space would be created, and pedestrian sightlines would be vastly improved at the new four-way intersection. 

Plan View

The new configuration calls for a reduction in vehicular space and the inclusion of multi-modal lanes catering to mid-speed travel (bicycle, scooter, powerchair, etc.) along Vine and McMicken. The reclaimed slip lane at the southeast corner would be reallocated as a public plaza and pedestrian sanctuary protected by bollards and activated by food carts or public art. A 6’ multi-modal lane along McMicken would improve connectivity for bicyclists along the corridor and offer a commuting solution for Over-the-Rhine residents. The 10’ multi-modal lane along Vine would take the place of the current right-turn lane and give a north-bound option for bicycle connectivity. One side of street parking would still be retained north and south of the intersection on both streets. The capped-off Findlay St. would become a possible pick-up and drop-off zone for rideshare and Uber/Lyft.

Aside from fostering pedestrian safety and increasing bicycling viability, the redesigned intersection vastly improves overall traffic flow with its reduction in turns. This may offset future rates of accidents. While the reconfiguration would affect bus routes 46 and 78 currently turning from south-bound Vine onto Findlay to get to Race St. SB, the new configuration would allow for bus travel on the newly designated two-way Elder St, with traffic stop bars pushed back to allow for bus travel.

If you would like to have your thoughts and opinions published on UrbanCincy, simply contact us at

Development News Transportation

Website Restored, What’d We Miss?

Check, one, two. Hey is this thing on?

Well hello there! It’s been a year, what did we miss?

All kidding aside much has happened over the past year. While our team was alive and well, doing what we do, the site crashed. We can discuss how much effort we had to put into restoring the site from the archive but the long and short of it is that the back end server and hosting needed to be rebuilt almost entirely.

Thank you, Travis, for all your hard work!

In lieu of a broader update, we have decided to focus on catching up on some of the major developments in Cincinnati over the past year. Here’s a brief review of news from 2019 and early 2020:

FC Cincinnati Stadium rises. Photo by Travis Estell.

Of course, we would be remiss to not mention the current COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to track its impacts on urbanism in Cincinnati and beyond. This Friday, the city will close 15 street sections in downtown and Over-the-Rhine to allow for expanded outdoor dining. Other areas may follow.

With the site back, we hope to become a public platform for urban thought in Cincinnati. With most of us now working full-time, we have less time to devote to the site. With that in mind, if you, our reader have an article you would like to submit or an opinion piece, please feel free to contact us at

Arts & Entertainment Business News

New PopShop celebrates Cincinnati crafters in a DIY space

Those passing by 1301 Main Street have noticed cardboard and hot pink ducktape decorating a previously empty storefront. The new space is decked out for this Friday’s PopShop – a new pop up shop coinciding with March’s Final Friday gallery walk that brings visitors into the Pendleton Art Center, down Main Street, and over to Vine via 12th and 13th.

The new space plays host to 11 local entrepreneurs and designers, who will have their handmade and vintage housewares, accessories, clothing, and other assorted intricacies for sale. Selling a wide variety of objects d’art – from bow shaped fanny packs to jewelry designed by women in Over-the-Rhine and everything in between.

The idea for a temporary space that allows pop-culture creativity to bloom was conceived by a trifecta of local women already involved in Over-the-Rhine’s burgeoning arts scene. Jessie Cundiff, a collaborator at MUD studio, Catherine Richards, art director and program manager of the Future Blooms program, and Tamia Stinson, owner and managing editor of StyleSample magazine. After meeting at a Merchants on Main event, the co-founders wanted to open the space as a way for small business owners to try out the Over-the-Rhine location before fully committing to a gallery or retail space.

“This is perfect for us,” said Rosie Kovacs, owner of the Brush Factory. “We want to test the waters down there [OTR].” Combining many retailers into one space, not unlike the popular Holiday Shop on Vine Street in December, decreases the stress of one person paying rent, and makes the new space a one stop shop for visitors to see something new.

The space is still getting some finishing touches, but features window installations, a chandelier made of recycled materials, and furnishings constructed from found objects. The PopShop ladies decided on a deconstructed, Do-it-Yourself theme, emphasizing the pack and go nature of the pop-up shop for the interior of the store. They took inspiration from innovative storefronts like Anthropologie that utilize found and recycled materials to create ethereal, interesting windowscapes.

The PopShop will be open from 5pm to 10pm on Friday, March 25, and features an opening reception with music, treats, and an opportunity for shoppers to get crafty with an interactive DIY area. Saturday, March 26 the PopShop is open from 11am to 6 pm, with vendors on hand demonstrating their art, and a trunk show beginning at 5 pm for Dress for Success from the 4th Street Boutique. All proceeds from the sale of 4th Street Boutique merchandise will go directly to the charitable program that assists low-income women in acquiring appropriate attire for job interviews.

“We’re most excited about the opportunity to collaborate with amazingly creative folks in and around Cincinnati–there’s so much talent that deserves a voice,” said co-founder Tamia Stinson. “Our hope is that PopShop will serve as an introduction between independent entrepreneurs and Over-the-Rhine, and a foot in the door for those wanting to set up their business there.”

The Final Friday PopShop is located at 1301 Main Street and is open on Friday and Saturday, March 25-26. Vendors include Dulcet Design, Hark + Hark, Jessie Cundiff, Carla Rabbit, the Brush Factory, Saint Lexi, Dulcet Design, Katie Ferncez, the Sarah Center, and 4th Street Boutique.

Arts & Entertainment News

Light Up OTR to kick off new holiday tradition

Traditions like the Duke Energy Train Display, ice skating on Fountain Square, and the Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights remind us that the holiday season is upon us in Cincinnati.  And soon, the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood will have a holiday tradition of its own.

“Light Up Over-the-Rhine” takes place this Friday, December 10.  Beginning at 8 p.m., teams of volunteers will walk throughout the neighborhood, placing luminaries along its major streets.  A total of 943 luminaries will be placed, representing the number of historic buildings in Over-the-Rhine.  Event organizers hope to create a warm glow that will “symbolize safety, the coming of the holiday season, and unity.”

At 10 p.m., a lighting will take place for the first annual OTR Christmas tree, located in the courtyard of Neon’s Unplugged.  Guests will be able to affix an ornament to the tree for a $2 donation to the Over-the-Rhine Foundation.  Throughout the evening, Neon’s will be serving craft cocktails created by mixoligist Molly Wellman and offering a variety of drink specials.

Anyone interested in helping to assemble and disperse the luminaries should meet at Neon’s at 6 p.m.  With the support of people from the neighborhood and the city, Light Up OTR will hopefully be a success and become another great holiday tradition for Cincinnati.

You can RSVP for Light Up Over-the-Rhine on Facebook.