Category Archives: Eastern Corridor

Why oppose the Eastern Corridor Highway

stop the eastern corridorIt’s expensive, and it will increase truck traffic by the thousands!

According to a recent editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer, “The goals of the Eastern Corridor are…insufficient to justify both the cost – estimated at $1.4 billion for all the components – and the damage it could inflict. Research suggests that building new roads only temporarily alleviates traffic congestion; after a period…the congestion returns.”

It’s not healthy!

The same Enquirer editorial concluded that the proposed highway “would attract more auto traffic through a low-lying valley, increasing both air and noise pollution. Thousands of scientific studies demonstrate that automobile exhaust generated by traffic can harm our health and result in complications such as asthma, heart disease and cancer. Our children and our elderly are at greatest risk.

It will destroy our neighborhoods!

Up to half the homes and businesses in Newtown would be affected, and Mariemont could lose its historic South 80 recreational and archaeological area. Madisonville is currently fighting for slow-speed “Complete Streets” to support local schools, businesses and residents.

How can you help? Email us email us and Like us on Facebook.

Stop the trucks from I-74!ec planning doc

Protect the Little Miami River Valley!

Complete the Ohio River Trail !

Completion of the 4.75 mile segment of the Ohio River Trail from Downtown to Lunken is up for debate by SORTA (Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Agency)

This awesome trail along the Ohio River will go on the rail line and can be open by 2017!

We need your support to make it happen !

3 easy ways to help

1. Sign the petition

2. Like the Ohio River Way Trail on Facebook !

3. email SORTA and tell them you support building the trail!

Join Sierra Club’s efforts to stop the Highway and build a beautiful trail from Downtown to Lunken Airport.  Email us! This trail will ultimately connect not only to the Little Miami River Trail but also the Ohio to Eric trail!!

Map2

Visit our Facebook page to Stop the Eastern Corridor Highway

 

 

 

Sierra Club Comments on “Situation Assessment” on the Eastern Corridor

Sierra Club sent the attached comments on the “Situation Assessment” draft written by the Consensus Building Institute (CBI). CBI was hired by the Federal Highway Administration due to the controversy on the Relocated US 32 Segments II and III.

Download the documents here.

Sierra Club CBI Comments 10.17.2014

Attachments:

Air pollution and ADHD CCAAPS Newman et al 2013

CTS14-11

Highway expansions and increases in VMT USC Study 9-30-2014

Land use policies that reduce VMT USC Study 9-30-2014

Life expectancy and air pollution NEJM 2009

Traffic and wheezing in children Bernstein 2012

iapp-2

 

Newtown pans “new SR 32 route”

Eastern Corridor Newtown letter to TID 7-14-2014

Newtown sent the following to the Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District on July 14, 2014

We have been given a copy of a proposed new route for the S.R.32 relocation/Eastern Corridor project through the Village of Newtown that, we are told, was submitted to the TID by Bob Slattery. In addition to all of the problems encompassed with this new routing, we find it interesting that the plan has a major intersection at the Wag’s Dog Park location in the Village of Newtown, that property being controlled by Mr. Slattery.

As the Mayor of the Village and Chairperson of the Newtown Community Partner Committee, we are writing to insure that the TID is aware that the Village remains steadfastly opposed to any further development of this project. We do not see where this new alignment provides any better benefit to the Village of Newtown than any of the past plans presented to us. Not only does it continue to threaten the businesses and quality of life of our Village residents, this particular version appears to cross the Little Miami River in a particularly sensitive area due to a low suitability for a river crossing, floodplain, and archeological issues. The prospect of this project going forward is devastating to the Village and to its businesses and residents. We wish to assure the TID that any proposal submitted by private parties does not represent the position of the Village nor the Community Partner Committee, nor do we believe it represents the position of the business community in the Village. The proposed project in any alignment is a detriment to the Village and we continue in our opposition to it.

Respectfully,

Curt Cosby,Mayor

Mark Kobasuk, Chairperson Newtown Community Partner Committee

Job Opening

Conservation Program Coordinator

One year, Part-Time/20 hours per week with benefits, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization, is seeking a dedicated, and skilled individual who can take initiative to fulfill the role of Conservation Program Coordinator for the Ohio Chapter’s Miami Group.

This job includes engaging and educating community members around restoring and protecting our rivers and promoting sustainable transportation.  Responsibilities include organizing water monitoring, awareness events, community organizing and service outings, updating websites and recruiting volunteers. Continue reading Job Opening

Sierra Club submits comments on Oasis Rail

REASONS WHY OASIS RAIL DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

The Oasis Rail Line has too few riders to be cost effective. Even future projections (2030) are very low.

The Oasis Rail Line has very limited development potential because too much of the area near stations is already developed or undevelopable because of steep slopes, floodplains, or is in the Ohio River, is landslide prone, is a golf course or park, or an airport ! 

The cost is high – somewhere between $230 million and OKI’s cost of $1 billion. 

The estimated $60 for a round trip is too expensive and saves too little time, if any

 There are more cost effective mass transit options and routes that will get more people to jobs, schools, etc.

  • Oasis Rail will cost over a billion dollars according to OKI[1]’s 2040 Long Range Plan.
  • The much lower (yet incomplete[2]) costs in the OASIS Rail Conceptual Alternatives Solutions are very high.  Capital costs (trains, track, etc.) are estimated to be between $230,288,791 and $322,530,539. [3]  The Conceptual Alternatives Report identifies numerous issues that have not been evaluated yet and the costs are unknown.

Annual operating costs are estimated to be $3,500,000.[4]

  • The number boarding the train in the “Six Station Scenario”[5] is 3,060.  This figure represents 1,530 people boarding the train in the morning, between Milford and Columbia-Tusculum and 1,530 people boarding the train in the evening at the Riverfront Transit Center and getting off between there and Milford.
  • The cost per trip, assuming the low capital cost of $230,288,791 is $29.18 in 2019 and $36.94 in 2019 if the higher capital cost is used.   Remember, not all the costs are yet included in the capital costs.[6]

Also, the low cost per trip $29.18 is just one-way. It will be another $29.18 to return home.

  • OKI and the Oasis Rail Conceptual Alternative Solution focus on Environmental Justice as part of the rationale for the project.  However, anyone who is economically disadvantaged surely will not be able to afford $60 to get to work and back.  Secondly, this rail line is intended to run from Milford in the morning to downtown, returning workers in the evening.  The census data used shows that the most affected low-income population isn’t in the Milford area, but downtown and East Walnut Hills.  If “no-car” households have no car because of economic necessity, they won’t benefit from a $60 cost to go to work each day.  This project attempts to use Environmental Justice as a justification for a project that does nothing for the disadvantaged or for those disproportionally affected by environmental impacts.
  • Much is made of the development potential of the Oasis Line.  The extremely limited development potential of the station locations is well illustrated by the maps in the Draft Final Station Area Analysis. Most of the area in the ¼ to ½ mile radius of the stations is in the Ohio River, and up steep, landslide prone hillsides along Columbia Parkway, or is in the floodway or floodplain, or is a Park or Golf Course, or on a landfill, lakes and wetlands or industrial and unsuited to transit-oriented development.  The development potential is almost non-existent. Even future ridership projects expect a minimal numbers of riders.
  • The feeder bus system is largely impractical due to geography, better bus routes, and low numbers of expected riders.  The cost of such buses is not included and given the challenges SORTA and METRO have getting money to increase service, and the fact that this project offers no source for revenue for SORTA/METRO it is highly unlikely the feeder bus system is worthwhile.
  • The cost of a METRO/SORTA trip, on the other hand, is about $4.39, coming from fare boxes, local taxes and other revenue. This is incredibly cost effective compared to the OASIS. In fact, METRO/SORTA were just ranked as one of the most cost-effective transit systems in the country by University of Cincinnati Economics Center. Even with the same subsidy ratio (fare box to other funding sources) the Oasis is still extremely expensive.
  • There is a lot to be said for fixed rail systems, but they don’t work without riders and development potential.  The Wasson Line from the East to the Universities (Xavier, UC), Hospitals (UC Health, Children’s, etc.) to downtown. Wasson connects people and job centers.  Oasis doesn’t.

Submitted by:

Marilyn Wall                                                  Chris Curran

Conservation Chair                                       Transportation Chair

Sierra Club Miami Group                             Sierra Club Ohio Chapter

[email protected]                       [email protected]


[1] Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments, the local governmental planning agency. 2040 Long Range Plan Figure 10-11: Public Transportation Fiscally Constrained Plan Recommendations.  OKI also says ”Being in the financially constrained portion of the plan means that there is evidence of sufficient funds to cover the cost of the included projects by the year 2040. The remaining rail transit recommendations serve as a vision plan for potential future projects and are not included as part of the fiscally constrained portion of this plan.”

[2] Railroad agreement costs are not included, right-of-way costs are not included; many costs have yet to be analyzed. Costs may well be higher.

[3] Oasis Rail Conceptual Alternative Solutions page 55

[4] Oasis Rail Conceptual Alternative Solutions page 28

[5] Oasis Rail Conceptual Alternative Solutions page 100

[6] .  OKI estimated much higher costs probably representing life cycle costs (repair and maintenance over a few decades, more stations, increased costs of fuel, etc.) One of the alternatives is to put the Oasis Rail Line on the relocated SR 32 highway.  That cost is not included.

 

Oasis Rail line public meetings

Oasis Rail Conceptual Alternative Solutions Report and  Oasis Rail Station Area Analysis Report available at easterncorridor.og

Public Meetings Scheduled to Discuss Oasis Rail Transit Project
Proposed rail line to provide commuter service between Downtown Cincinnati and western Clermont County

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has scheduled three public involvement meetings in early December to share updates on the advancing development of Greater Cincinnati’s first commuter rail line – Oasis Rail Transit – and gather input from the public on various components of the proposed project. A core element of the Eastern Corridor Program, Oasis Rail Transit introduces a new public transportation option to the region and would serve communities extending east from downtown Cincinnati, through Hamilton County, and into western Clermont County.

The public involvement meetings will be held at three different locations along the project corridor. The content of each meeting will be the same. Meeting dates and locations are:

TUESDAY, DEC. 10
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
R.G. Cribbett Center
5903 Hawthorne Avenue
Fairfax, OH 45227

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 11
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Taft Center at Fountain Square
425 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(US Bank Bldg, 2nd Floor)

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 11
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Miami Township Civic Center
6007 Meijer Drive
Milford, OH 45150

Each meeting will be organized in an open house format. The public can arrive at any time during the meeting period to review and discuss information presented on a series of boards staffed by project team representatives.  In addition, an open forum Public Comment Session will be held at 12:30 p.m. during the daytime meeting and at 7:00 p.m. during the evening meetings.  An interactive, internet-based tool will be available at the meetings through which the public can provide additional feedback and communicate to project planners their priorities for improving travel and accessibility in the Greater Cincinnati region.  This tool will also be accessible online at www.EasternCorridor.org beginning Dec. 10 and will remain available until Jan. 3, 2014.

The upcoming meetings will focus primarily on the study results and recommendations summarized in the Oasis Rail Conceptual Alternative Solutions report. Topics to be discussed at the meetings include proposed schedule options for rail service, recommended rail vehicle technology, updates on potential track alignment options and requirements, recommended station locations and upcoming planning needs, preliminary cost estimates, funding options to be considered and next steps in the project development process.

Sierra Club and allies present objections to the Eastern Corridor Highway to FHWA

The Eastern Corridor Highway-oriented project fails to bring the region into the 21st century by continuing to plan to build another highway, at huge cost.

Instead the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) should focus on fixing with we have: Brent Spence Bridge (with provisions for mass transit), rebuilding the Western Hills Viaduct, and improving transportation choices.

Overwhelmingly, the public wants Complete Streets and transportation choices. Smart Growth America reports 47% of older Americans say it is unsafe to cross a major street near their homes.  54% of older Americans living in inhospitable neighborhoods say they would walk and bike more often if the built environment improved.  56% express strong support for adoption of Complete Streets policies.

Many thanks to Madisonville, Newtown, Mariemont, Terrace Park, Turpin Farms, Ken Tankersley, Little Miami Inc for preparing materials, contributing and presenting excellent information about the highway impacts on communities.