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Onward and Upward

This is a quick update to let you all know what’s been happening behind the scenes at Metro Cincinnati, and what’s in store for the future of this site. Now that the academic portion of the project has been completed, I’ve been spending a lot of time pondering what to do with the site, and how to transition it from a design project into an advocacy site for improved mass transit and livability in the Greater Cincinnati region. Here are a few aspects of that transition:

First, it’s a subtle change, but you’ll notice that the site’s official web address is now metro-cincinnati.org rather than metro-cincinnati.info. The old .info domain name will still direct visitors to this site, but the new .org domain was chosen to reflect the site’s mission in serving as a channel for grassroots advocacy for bringing rapid transit to Cincinnati.

The site’s tag line, “A Vision for Public Transit in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Region” will remain the same, for a number of reasons. Most importantly, I believe a coherent, compelling¬†vision is what is most lacking in our region’s current transit planning process. There are many worthy projects such as the streetcar and 3C line that are crucial to our future, but so far there hasn’t been much in the way of a vision that ties these and future projects into a broader context. The defeat of the 2002 Metro Moves plan was an unfortunate setback for local transit advocates, but it’s no excuse to stop pushing for bold ideas. The Issue 9 debate galvanized local transit activists, and it’s crucial that we harness that grassroots energy. The purpose of this site is to articulate and advocate a long-term vision, not a specific ballot initiative or proposal put forth by public officials, although we will no doubt endorse or oppose such things as they come forth.

In a related vein, this site reflects a vision for the entire region, rather than merely the City of Cincinnati or Hamilton County. I don’t subscribe to the East Side vs. West Side, Ohio vs. Kentucky, or City vs. Suburb mentality that sometimes creeps in to regional planning debates, and there is no room for such parochialism when discussing our future as a region. We will all rise or fall together.

Finally, it’s important to note that we are for this vision. Transit opponents in Cincinnati are against virtually everything that threatens the status quo, but nowhere have they put forth their own alternative ideas or vision. We have a vision, and we’re willing to do the hard work it takes to see it to fruition, rather than merely stomp our feet on the sidelines and scream “no!”

Make note of the word “we”. I’ve invited some additional voices to become part of the Metro Cincinnati team and look forward to their contributions, and I welcome additional contributors as well (get in touch with me via the Contact page if you’re interested). Part of the reason is purely pragmatic: As I begin my M.Arch. degree this fall, the amount of free time I have to devote to this project will become more limited, and at the same time, I want to greatly increase the frequency of blog posts and news updates on this site. In addition to transit-related news from the Cincinnati region, we plan to include coverage of transit-related items from around the country and world that may offer lessons to Cincinnati, as well as tangental issues such as walkable streets and form-based zoning. Any discussion about improving public transit in the Cincinnati area cannot take place in isolation, but must be placed into the larger context of making our region more vibrant and livable, protecting the environment, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Aside from merely increasing the amount of written material on this site and easing my own workload, however, I feel it’s important for this site to represent a wide variety of voices from a wide variety of backgrounds. We may not agree on all the details, but we all share a vision of Cincinnati as a world-class city with a world-class public transit network. It is my hope that the Metro Blog will become a clearinghouse for transit-related news in the Cincinnati region, and do so in an informative and entertaining manner.

Over the coming weeks there will be some changes and additions to this site, so be patient as we roll out some new features. There are a number of other things in the pipeline, including some Metro Cincinnati merchandise and an “Adopt-a-Station” online design charrette, so stay tuned! As always, I welcome your ideas and feedback.