Oakley Celebrates New Streetscape & Traffic Improvements
City, Community Leaders Cut Ribbon On Major Infrastructure Update
City of Cincinnati and Oakley community leaders gathered this afternoon at Oakley Square's newly enlarged Geier Esplanade to mark the completion of significant pedestrian and traffic improvements that began in 2009.
The business district improvement was one of the most comprehensive infrastructure updates in the city in recent years, representing a total investment of $9.75 million.
This bold investment has produced dramatic results, which include several major accomplishments. The project has vastly improved safety along Madison Road by calming traffic, shortening pedestrian crossings and redesigning a dangerous intersection to improve street geometry and traffic patterns.
Major new public amenities have been added, such as new and wider sidewalks through the entire business district, space for outdoor dining, and a Geier Esplanade that has been doubled in size and redesigned to increase its functionality as a City park and event space.
Other new additions include pedestrian-scale street lighting, street sign and meter posts, street trees, benches, and green stormwater control items such as permeable surfaces and rain gardens. In addition, the project provided opportunities for Greater Cincinnati Water Works to invest in a major new water main and for the Ohio Public Works Commission to invest in major traffic improvements at the Madison and Ridge intersection.
Efforts to improve Oakley's business district began several years ago when community volunteers secured a small grant from the City's Neighborhood Business District Improvement Program (NBDIP). The grant allowed the City Department of Community Development and the Department of Transportation and Engineering to partner with the Oakley community to find ways to improve pedestrian and traffic safety. Eventually the vision grew larger in scale, which led to a major partnership involving a number of public agencies. Funding sources soon included a large NBDIP grant, neighborhood TIF dollars, and funds from other City agencies and the State of Ohio.
While the longer-than-anticipated construction has been a challenge for businesses and commuters alike, the end result is a re-energized Oakley business district that is safer, more attractive, and poised for long-term success as a retail, dining, and entertainment destination.