Cincinnati before after_NextSTL

This is the sixth post in a series that highlights the public’s opinion about case studies from other cities. To read other posts in this series, click here.

In this post we’ll look at the Fort Washington Way in Cincinnati, OH. To learn more about that project, click here.

Here are a few of the key aspects that workshop attendees liked about this case study:

- Connectivity and access – The project was seen as having restored connectivity between both sides of the highway, helping to reintegrate the city and providing better bicycle and pedestrian access between downtown and the riverfront.

- Aesthetics and design – Many felt the final result improved the aesthetics of the immediate area and lessened the visual barrier of the highway.

- Quality of life – If applied to Syracuse, attendees noted many quality of life improvements that might be realized, including a reduction in noise pollution in the area near the highway, new open space for parks and public spaces, increased bike and pedestrian safety, and more “human-scaled” infrastructure.

- Cost – Many also felt that depressing the highway offered a nice compromise between eliminating the highway and the expense of a tunnel.  In addition, this option was seen as reducing the high maintenance costs associated with an elevated roadway.

- Other “likes” about this case study included:

- Development opportunities in reclaimed land around and over the highway
- Maintaining the Interstate function of the highway

Key aspects that attendees disliked about this case study were:

- Drainage and maintenance issues – Several attendees questioned how a depressed highway would function in the Syracuse region, with particular concerns about flooding, snow removal, garbage removal and drainage.

- Minimal or no improvement over the existing condition – Some participants felt the Fort Washington Way project did little to improve noise pollution, air quality, connections across the highway, or transit.  Many also felt the highway did not look significantly different after the project’s completion and failed to beautify the area near the highway.  When applied to Syracuse, some attendees thought this would keep most of the same problems as the elevated structure (just in a different form) and would not improve the human experience walking over or near the highway.

- Cost – Some expressed concern about the cost associated with depressing the highway and construction of new bridges for local streets to cross the highway.

- Impacts on economy, environment, and neighborhoods – In the context of Syracuse, attendees noted that depressing the highway would continue to depress the value of the corridor and would discourage investment and further degrade adjacent neighborhoods.

- Expansion and access – The Fort Washington Way case study was seen as having limited future expansion opportunities if implemented in Syracuse.  In addition, some felt it would require the removal of existing structures along the right-of-way and require major changes to the on/off ramp system.

- Other “dislikes” associated with this case study included:

- Not significantly improving safety problems
- Not creating a pedestrian friendly environment

Want to know more about what we learned from the first round of public workshops? Take a look at the Workshop Summary on our website!

Photo shows the Fort Washington Way before and after the reconfiguration. By NextSTL via Flickr, with permission.

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