Eastern Corridor Project: Madisonville County Council says 'no thanks' to proposed plans
Casey Weldon, WCPO Digital
12:18 AM, Jul 19, 2013
8:40 AM, Jul 19, 2013
CINCINNATI - No thanks.
That's what members of the Madisonville Community Council told the Ohio Department of Transportation Thursday evening in reference to proposed changes to the Red Bank Corridor.
The Council voted unanimously not to support any of ODOT's proposed changes to certain Madisonville roadways, part of the larger Eastern Corridor Project.
Council members had the choice to vote "no" on making any changes to Red Bank Road or vote "yes" and then decide what design alternatives they prefer.
The proposed plans for the Red Bank Corridor extend across a 2.5-mile stretch of road between Columbia Parkway in Fairfax and the Interstate 71 ramp in Madisonville.
A portion of the plan involved relocating State Route 32 and in connection with this making changes along Red Bank Road.
Developers want to expand Red Bank Road, and are considering a number of different design options regarding intersections along the road.
Officials with ODOT said the goal of the project is to create a balance of mobility and access along the "important connector to improve travel and better serve local businesses and adjacent neighborhoods."
Developers also said the project will reduce congestion and delays along the Red Bank Expressway and at key intersections in the area, improve accessibility and travel safety, and provide new accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians.
However, after 15 months of studying the proposal, the Madisonville Community Council (MCC) voted to ask ODOT to go back to the drawing board and come back with plans that entail smaller changes to the neighborhood.
In March, Madisonville leaders, like Community Council President Bob Igoe, said they fear the Red Bank Road Corridor project would impact traffic in the area.
"If you build it, you will sit in traffic," said Igoe. "Madisonville is one of the fastest growing white-collar communities in Cincinnati, we don't want to halt that."
Igoe said he believed that if the corridor plans go through, local businesses will suffer.
"For our business district, it's successful because there's more access to it. If we re-route everyone past it, we'll be another Batavia," he said, referring to when State Route 32 bypassed Batavia's downtown district.
Some Madisonville residents didn't necessarily think the corridor would affect business. They were mostly skeptical that the project will even happen in their lifetime.
"I think I'll be passed to glory before it gets done," said Barbara Jackson, 69, who has lived in Madisonville for 60 years.
While a timetable for the redesign of the plans has not been determined, officials with the "non-sectarian," "non-political" Madison Community Council said they want to see the issue resolved one way or another as soon as possible.
They say the lack of resolution to the matter is stalling $100 million worth of economic development in the area.
According to the MCC website, members of the council are eligible to vote four weeks after paying their annual dues. Dues are $5 a year for individuals and $25 a year for organization.
The Eastern Corridor Program spans 165 square miles from downtown Cincinnati through Hamilton County to just beyond the Interstate 275 corridor in Clermont County.
In addition to the Red Bank Corridor, other projects include the relocation of State Route 32, State Route 32 improvements in the Eastgate area and the construction of a commuter rail line to transport residents between downtown Cincinnati and western Clermont County known as the "Oasis Rail Transit."
None of the projects are contingent upon the passage of any of the other projects, according to ODOT officials.
You can find out more information about the Eastern Corridor Project at the following link: www.easterncorridor.org.