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Issue 7 will fund much more than Western Hills viaduct replacement

WCPO cincinnati metro bus.png
Posted at 6:48 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 19:27:05-04

The Hamilton County transportation tax levy, Issue 7, will provide millions in funding for the replacement Western Hills viaduct connecting Cincinnati’s west side to its downtown.

But the levy will also quietly fund dozens of other road projects across 20 communities — many smaller in scope than the viaduct but just as important to the people who depend on having safe streets, sidewalks and bridges beneath their feet.

“When we set out more than five years ago to reinvent Metro, our vision wasn’t just about putting more buses on the road,” said Kreg Keesee, who chairs the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority board that distributes the funding. “It was envisioning a future where an investment in transportation would be a catalyst for boosting economic development.”

He hopes the 30 levy-funded projects across Hamilton County will improve connectivity and safety, he said.

Two examples from the list:

In Colerain Township, Colerain Avenue will get four bus pull-offs, keeping stopped buses from holding up other traffic, plus shelters, lighting and benches at bus stops.

Dominic Johnson, who takes the bus, said he believes these changes would make it safer for public transit users like him.

“It’s kind of dangerous” right now, he said. “They drop you off on the side of the road, but when you’re crossing the street, it gets dangerous. People will always be flying by. They don’t really pay attention.”

In Sycamore Township, sidewalks on Montgomery Road will be replaced from Stewart Road to Ken Arbre Drive. The new concrete will be 6.5 feet wide, making them ADA-compliant and allowing wheelchair users to traverse them safely.

“This is an exciting example of the impact of your investment in Metro,” Keesee said. “It's just a prelude of what's to come.”

The SORTA board will meet next week to vote to approve all of the projects on the docket.