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The Challenges Of Transit In Cincinnati

Ann Thompson

A new 2015 Regional Indicators Report comparing 12 "peer cities" in transportation has Cincinnati near the bottom in some categories and in the middle in others.

The report from Agenda 360, Skyward, Urban Land Institute and Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber includes the following cities: Austin, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Indianapolis, Louisville, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Raleigh and St. Louis.

Key findings:

  • Only 59 percent of Cincinnati area jobs are reachable by public transit, ranking it last of the 12 cities
  • Just 23 percent of Cincinnati jobs are accessible by transit in 90 minutes or less, ranking it 7th
  • Cincinnati is 9th in the number of trips per person (10) made on transit each year
  • Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati in the number of people walking or biking to work and by having fewer millennials commuting by car (Pittsburgh is #1, Cincinnati is 7th and 9th

Funding is a major challenge

Panelists at the Chamber Tuesday reacted to the study. Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore said companies like Amazon pay for extra routes in Kentucky. Cincinnati Councilwoman Amy Murray said she was "shocked and disappointed that only 58 percent of our jobs have transit options."  But both she and Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune see the walking and biking increasing beyond the 2 percent the report shows.

Port Authority Vice President Darin Hall said the neighborhoods can be redesigned to accommodate all types of transportation. "It's a business strategy for attracting and retaining talent but it's also a social strategy by which we can connect people to jobs and provide healthier outcomes as people walk and bike instead of racing through communities at top speed."

Erika Fiola, Strategic Initiatives Manager, Agenda 360 told the chamber audience, "It's time to start a new conversation about transit."