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Two-Way Vine Street Downtown? Pedestrian Task Force Will Consider It

Bill Rinehart
The task force will have representatives from business, local government, and residents.

Big changes could be coming to the streets and sidewalks of downtown Cincinnati. A new Urban Pedestrian Task Force will review the street grid and make recommendations on walkability and safety.

Mayor John Cranley says the idea is to make Downtown more pedestrian friendly and efficient.

"As part of this task force, we're specifically asking that the issue of Vine Street becoming two-way from Over-the-Rhine to the river be evaluated to see if we can make that happen," he says. "And we want it to happen. We're not looking for reasons why it shouldn't happen. We're figuring out ways to make it happen."

Other changes could include making 8th, 9th and Central Avenue all two-way streets as well, and turning Court Street into a pedestrian mall between Vine Street to Walnut, and possibly to Main Street.

Cranley says the city and 3CDC will each contribute up to $30,000 to pay for engineering studies.

3CDC President Steve Leeper says the development corporation is interested because the area between Central Parkway and Fountain Square needs "some love and attention."

"Vine Street north of Central Parkway is so much more vibrant than Vine Street south of Central Parkway. And the reason is there was attention," Leeper says. "When the city made the decision to make that two-way I think is one of the factors that helped it, and I think that will be one of the factors that will help this."

Councilman Chris Seelbach says Cincinnati's history is not about cars. "Our neighborhoods were built based around people and it made us thrive. We lost sight of that," he says. "This task force is about making sure our Downtown is built for people first. We won't just stop at Downtown. Council has reaffirmed its support for safer streets citywide. Our end goal is to make safe streets in all 52 neighborhoods."

The task force could have a preliminary report in about three months.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.