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Mixed Reactions to Eastern Corridor Project
OKI released a new video on youtube Monday that discusses what would happen by 2040 if the Eastern Corridor project didn't move forward.
The video claims "In no uncertain terms, the impact is debilitating as it throws much of the region into gridlock." The goal of the project is to reduce traffic congestion between western Clermont County and downtown Cincinnati, and improve access to Red Bank Rd., U.S. 50 and I-71 from communities on the east side.
Supporters of the project say without it, air pollution will increase, the region's economy will take and hit and the area would lose jobs and population.
"How in the world do we as a region move goods to from and around so that we can attract businesses if we don't build any major improvements to our system," asked OKI executive director, Mark Policinski.
The Eastern Corridor project includes improvements to S.R. 32 in the Eastgate area, possibly relocating S.R. 32 in Newtown and adding commuter rail service, walking paths and bike lanes.
The video claims it currently takes 41 minutes to travel from downtown Cincinnati to Newtown during rush hour. If the Eastern Corridor isn't built by 2040, the video claims the same 11-mile route will take more than 90 minutes.
The video also claims delays between downtown Cincinnati and Eastgate using U.S. 50 and S.R. 32 increase from 53 minutes in 2013 to two hours in 2040 for the 16-mile trip. OKI used Traffic Demand Modeling to compile the statistics.
Newtwon police chief Tom Synan disputes the video's claims.
"My opinion is that it's actually propoganda. They're trying to sway the public's opinion," Synan said. Chief Synan said traffic flow has decreased in the village. He has spoken out against the project since the potential relocation of S.R. 32 through the village could wipe out businesses and homes. Synan said his village is thriving economically and would pay a hefty price if the project went through Newtown.
Bob Igoe of the Madisonville Community Council also opposes the project.
"It's a dated project that puts highways and cars over people and development and it needs to go away," Igoe said. Igoe said he's seen recent studies from several universities that indicate building new roads doesn't reduce traffic. He said the project is preventing some businesses from expanding along Red Bank Rd. In Madisonville.
"The fact that they make assertions that this would reduce pollution or miles driven, just goes against all the science we've been looking into now for years. Because this is going to increase the amount of people driving, the amount of miles driven," Igoe said.
Meanwhile, Mark Policinski of OKI says not building the Eastern Corridor would hold the entire region back.
"We understand we have to have a close debate and work with communities. That's not the issue. The issue is ok, how do we get to a solution," Policinski said.