Could This Be The Final Plan For Liberty Street?

Apr 29, 2019

Cincinnati Council will likely take yet another vote this week on a plan to make Liberty Street safer for pedestrians.  

The Budget and Finance Committee Monday approved moving forward with a six-lane plan for the route.  

It would 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.

Council Member Chris Seelbach has been working on this issue for years.

"What we brought forth today is not a plan that I can say everyone loves, but usually that's what happens when you compromise," Seelbach said.  "So, we are getting letters of support from the community councils when they meet next. They're not thrilled with this plan, but they understand that it's better than just bump outs."

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

Council Member David Mann voted against the proposal saying it seems rushed.

"To be thoughtful and be a little bit concerned about something that is not very well developed," Mann said. "That we're being asked to approve with the promise of future engagement, and oh by they way, with detailed diagrams or not detailed, and a lot of uncertainty about how it's going to be implemented."

Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld said council can't legislate based on the interests of one particular group.

"If we feel that it can improve the safety, the quality of life, the development of the whole, that's the hat that we should be wearing," Sittenfeld said. "Otherwise this city would stagnate and never change because there might always be something that isn't perfect for one party or another."

Six council members are supportive of the latest plan, and that's enough to override a possible mayoral veto from John Cranley, who's expressed concerns about reduced parking along Liberty.

Cranley has supported the seven-lane plan with four travel lanes, a center turn lane, and 24-hour parking on both sides.

The initial plan for making the route safer called for five lanes, with parking restricted during peak hours.

According to a city memo, a 1957 widening project was completed on Liberty to facilitate an easier east-west vehicular connection with the West End, Over-the-Rhine and Mt. Auburn. But the wider road divided the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and made north-south pedestrian movement much more difficult.