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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Where would they all park?

Metro, the non-profit that operates Cincinnati’s bus system, is facing a budget deficit of $16 million in 2010. To preempt this crisis, officials in December elected to reduce service on virtually every route, and eliminate some routes entirely (new schedules). Many Cincinnatians values Metro's presence because it is a critical service for residents and visitors alike, but some remain hard to convince.


Metro's important role in Cincinnati goes beyond the obvious. For example, there simply is not enough parking downtown to eliminate bus service. If Cincinnati were to eliminate Metro entirely, the city would need 127 acres of additional parking.


According to Carter Dawson, the group that is managing The Banks development on the riverfront, 85,000 people work in downtown Cincinnati, and according to Metro, 20 percent of them commute using the bus. Therefore, 17,000 people ride to bus downtown to work each day. The amount of space needed for each parking space is estimated at 325 square feet after factoring in space needed for access lanes. As a result, Cincinnati would need to add more than 5.5 million square feet of additional parking space, or about 127 acres.

The land area bounded by 3rd Street, Race Street, Central Parkway, and Sycamore Street is about 130 acres (map created here).

Cincinnati simply cannot afford to throw away 127 acres of prime real estate. Not only does downtown hold some of the region’s most lucrative businesses that would have to go elsewhere, but the tax revenue lost by this displacement would be catastrophic as well. In addition, roadways would need to be expanded to accommodate the increased traffic, stealing even more valuable downtown space. Residents would also be displaced, taking with them the income tax revenue on which the city relies. Cincinnati cannot afford to eliminate Metro. Instead, policymakers ought to be seeking ways to bolster this community asset.

4 comments:

Arnold's said...

Of course it goes way beyond where would they park. 13 out of our 30 employees take a bus to work. Most of them don't drive for many different reasons. This is one story I wish didn't need to be written about.

Steven Vance said...

If those parking spaces ever needed to be built, hopefully they would be in garages so as not to take up 130 acres or surface parking. Hopefully everyone can agree a garage is a more efficient use of space than a surface lot :)

5chw4r7z said...

Wow I had no idea, I can't imagine 68,000 cars pouring into downtown everyday let alone another 17,000.
No wonder the 71s ramp out of downtown is a giant parking lot every day at 5:30.

Leiflet said...

We should also consider the intangibles: the decline of air quality, the degradation of quality of life...

Some of us take the bus to work every day, even though we own a car. But some don't own cars, and take buses exclusively. Parking then becomes about financial privilege. Another issue.

I could go on. It makes me sad that people even have to point out the necessity for shared/public transportation in an urban area with more than 1,000,000 inhabitants.

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