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Liberty Street Road Plan Wins Council Approval

liberty street 6 lanes
Courtesty of City of Cincinnati

Cincinnati Council has once again endorsed a plan to make Liberty Street safer for pedestrians.  

Council approved the latest plan by an 8-1 vote with Council Member David Mann casting the only "no" vote.

Council Member Chris Seelbach, who has been working on the plan for many years, said the vote was about pedestrian safety.

"This is about being able to cross a major thoroughfare through our city, a seven-lane highway, safely without getting a hit, without kids getting hit, families getting hit," Seelbach said.

Some nearby businesses and non-profit organizations are still concerned the plan will impact traffic flow and take away needed parking.

Council Member Mann is opposed because of concerns the measure lacks detail and public engagement.

"It's a little weird to say, on the one hand we expect community engagement, in the ordinance it says there will be community engagement, but it says the attached diagrams will be followed," Mann said.

The Liberty Street road diet has been the subject of several votes and much debate since last fall.

The compromise proposal will have four travel lanes, a center turn lane and medians in places, 24-hour parking on the north side of the street, and parking during non-peak hours on the south.  That parking would be restricted Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The initial plan before council for making the route safer called for five lanes, with parking restricted during peak hours.  It also required spending $950,000 to move a waterline on the south side of Liberty.

Mayor John Cranley had supported the seven-lane plan with four travel lanes, a center turn lane, and 24-hour parking on both sides.  There would have been bump outs at crosswalks to make it easier to cross the street.

The six-lane compromise doesn't require moving the waterline making the project cheaper.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.