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Urban Design Associates to create vision that will revive Cincinnati's I-75 corridor

Pittsburgh-based Urban Design Associates (UDA) is known nationally for their New Urbanist designs and locally for their work on Cincinnati's Riverfront Master Plan, including Fort Washington Way, Great American Ball Park, Paul Brown Stadium, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and the massive Banks development project now under construction.

Now the firm is just getting started on what could be the next biggest challenge for Cincinnati as the city attempts to reconnect its neighborhoods with a redesign of Interstate 75 - the same project that initially ripped them apart decades ago.

The Revive I-75 Corridor Study is something that offers an equally great opportunity for Cincinnati according to Urban Design Associates principal Paul Ostergaard.

"Cincinnati will be able to leverage this huge investment in public infrastructure to create new neighborhood investment," he said.  "Property values are hugely impacted by access, and the previous interchanges in these locations may not have provided the access they should have."

UDA will be tasked with managing the goals of several organizations simultaneously including the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Cincinnati Municipal Sewer District (MSD), and a variety of City departments and neighborhood groups.

"The Riverfront Master Plan was a great project," said Ostergaard, who stressed that the complexity of the Revive I-75 Corridor Study is nothing new for their project team.  The importance he says is in the planning process.

"We've worked in many cities for municipalities and development authorities, and we always engage the community in the planning process," he said.  "The first step is to meet as many people and discuss the issues - that's when we really learn about the project areas."

The Revive I-75 Corridor Study will be looking at four study areas within the city of Cincinnati:
  1. Mitchell Avenue Interchange;
  2. Interstate 74 Interchange;
  3. Hopple Street Interchange;
  4. Queensgate/Central Business District.
In order to gain the necessary information about these four study areas, UDA will be hosting a public meeting on November 12th at Cincinnati State to discuss the project and generate feedback from the community.

At the meeting the UDA project team will attempt to ascertain what the community believes are the greatest strengths, problems and weaknesses for the given study areas while also finding out what the vision is for the area.  "We work with the communities to make sure the improvements mesh with the neighborhood's plans," said Ostergaard.

The public meeting on November 12th will take place at Cincinnati State (map) from 6pm to 8pm inside the Advanced Technology & Learning Center Auditorium (2nd floor).

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @SoapboxRandy
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