CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The map above is today making the rounds at City Hall. It puts the Cincinnati station for the Ohio 3C passenger rail project in a largely residential neighborhood that is several miles away from downtown. The proposed Bond Hill station -- which is near a closed movie theater with a gigantic parking lot -- is being pushed by city economic development and transit officials. It is just west of Norwood, a suburb whose nearby business district might be in store for a huge boost if a planned rail project gets off the ground.
State officials in Columbus have tentatively selected an east side site near Lunken Airport near the Ohio River for the Cincinnati rail station. City officials have complained the Lunken site "scores low on the Ohio Rail Development Commission station site selection criteria due to poor vehicular, pedestrian and transit access." City officials now want Bond Hill studied. They also believe that the ridership figures for the train would be better. A City Hall memo that is circulating with the the map showing the Bond Hill site notes that ridership numbers look weak. They are projected to be 65,534 per year from Cincinnati, versus 193,622 from Cleveland. The memo suggests a better station location could improve the ridership count and urges that city officials:
"Request that the original Amtrak ridership figures for the City of Cincinnati be studied further. The North Cincinnati station shows a significantly higher ridership figure than the City of Cincinnati. If the inputs and assumptions are identified, that might show how the numbers were derived. We believe these ridership numbers could have a significant impact on the construction phasing of the Cincinnati area stations."
[UPDATE: 12:05 pm -- Just got off the phone with Cincinnati Councilman Cecil Thomas who said there is a second Bond Hill site being talked up -- west of the theater lot and closer to St. Bernard, another small suburb. Thomas said, "One of the questions I have to ask is in terms of the residents in Bond Hill. What is the net effect on residential properties? I think it's a good idea to look at Bond Hill, I just heard about it yesterday. But there needs to be some community awareness because rumors are going to start to fly. Let's study the pros and cons." Thomas said he did not favor putting a train station near Lunken Airport. "It's way out of the way."]
[UPDATE: 2:33 pm -- COAST has followed the Bond Hill developments. Its observations are available here.]