College Projects

Cincinnati Area Transit System

General Information

Duration: 5 Weeks for Research, 6 Weeks for Design and Presentation
Academic Level: College, Fifth Year, Fall Quarter
2D Drawing Medium: Computer Generated from GIS Files With PowerCADD 2000 and Adobe Photoshop
Rendering Medium: Colored Pencil on Paper

Program Information

In the aftermath of riots in the spring of 2001, it became apparent that Cincinnati no longer qualifies as being one of the most livable cities in North America. Instead, the city of Cincinnati was portrayed as a racially divided city that has ignored the living conditions of its urban poor for too long. The impact of the urban uprising can still be felt all over town: fear, dirty and unkempt neighborhoods, boarded up properties and a general sense of hopelessness do not qualify for ingredients to attract future residents or private investments in the downtown area.
Each student was given the opportunity to propose their own solution to the problem at hand. They were given free reign concerning planning and development issues. The only restrictions imposed on the student work were a time frame of a maximum of 20 years, and an annual budget not to exceed $70 million.
As a point of departure, students polled themselves and their parents to establish criteria for an attractive downtown. Furthermore, they selected one "livable city" as a case study, and investigated the pros and cons of their selection. Based on the research, each student decided on one strategy for urban revitalization. The remainder of the quarter was devoted to the development of the individual strategy: design implementation, cost, phasing, outcome.

Personal Requirements

Poor transportation is one of the larger problems mentioned in surveys about the Cincinnati area. There are bad traffic jams on the narrow streets, and the bus system is not perceived as a viable alternative for anyone other than those who cannot afford their own automobile. Therefore, a permanent mode of surface rapid transit appears to be a viable solution. Specifically, a set of two streetcar (tram) lines would be constructed across the city. By running the lines through existing streetcar neighborhoods, it reinforces the business districts and residential communities that once depended on them. The lines were also planned to connect a large number of people with the city's large employment centers, specifically downtown and the University of Cincinnati.
The project was divided into two components, the first being overall planning and feasibility studies. Neighborhoods along the lines were examined to find population concentrations that could support a streetcar system. The three major universities in the city (University of Cincinnati, Xavier University and Cincinnati State) were linked with downtown and and each other, as well as a large pool of unskilled labor. The second component of the project was the design of some of the typical stops. Specifically, one urban stop in Over-the-Rhine was designed, as well as a suburban stop Avondale. These designs focused on integrating the station with the surrounding built environment, as well as working out some logistical problems like traffic management and pedestrian access.


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