Construction crews will begin work Monday to repave and make safety improvements on Liberty Street. The $7.4 million project spans between Reading Road in Pendleton to Dalton Avenue in Queensgate.
A Department of Transportation and Engineering memo last week said the repaving work will begin at the intersection of Reading and move west, which includes pavement resurfacing and curb repairs on both sides of the street.
The safety improvements will be between Sycamore Street and Central Parkway. Those include:
- Narrowing the roadway to six lanes
- The addition of pedestrian refuge islands
- The addition of bump-outs on all four corners at major intersections—Sycamore, Main, Walnut, Vine, Race and Elm streets and Central Parkway
- Enhanced crosswalks
- Traffic signal upgrades
- New curbs and sidewalks on both the north and south sides of the street
Construction will also realign the intersection at Liberty Hill "to remove the existing slip lane and add a traffic light."
The project will involve various lane closures from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On-street parking will remain for the most part with some restrictions, and pedestrians will have access during the work, although there could be detours.
Cincinnati Council Member Chris Seelbach said last week there could be a small, official groundbreaking for the project later this week. He's been working to make Liberty safer for pedestrians since he joined council in 2011.
"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 in April 2019. "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 were, and possibly still are, concerned the plan will impact traffic flow and take away parking for nearby businesses and non-profit organizations.
Mayor John Cranley had supported a seven-lane plan with four travel lanes, a center turn lane, and 24-hour parking on both sides.
The initial Liberty improvement plan 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.