By Anna Michael
The Cincinnati Enquirer
After three years of planning, Metro today will unveil its redesign of the Government Square bus hub.
The multimillion-dollar project is being presented to Cincinnati's Urban Design and Review Board for approval.
"They want to make sure this is compatible and complementary with the other things going on downtown," said Sallie Hilvers, spokeswoman for Metro.
Government Square, on Fifth Street between Walnut and Main streets, is Metro's primary transit hub in the city. It serves more than 1,000 buses a day.
The current design was created in 1977, and it no longer meets passenger or operational needs.
"Old Government Square is not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. It is difficult to deploy wheelchair lifts," Hilvers said. The proposed Government Square is "completely ADA compliant. It gets rid of all safety concerns."
The new design improves access for the disabled; for transfers, safety, traffic flow and connections; and is touted as more attractive. The new square will have larger passenger shelters, "sawtooth" bus boarding areas, a new Fifth Street sidewalk, trees and landscaping, and public art.
The redesign "is very efficient. It will help a lot of the Fifth Street congestion," Hilvers said. "There will be three huge shelters. Each shelter will serve two separate bus bays."
Mark McKillip, secretary of the Urban Design Review Board, said that the board will make comments on the proposed redesign at the meeting, then within one or two weeks will issue the minutes with the board's recommendations.
"They look forward to improvements downtown," McKillip said.
The redesign is estimated to cost about $9.35 million. Earlier this year Metro received a $4 million federal grant for design and construction.
Local funding also has been set aside and Metro is seeking state funding through the Ohio Department of Transportation, according to Hilvers.
"Assuming we are able to get the funding package put together completely, construction will begin next summer," Hilvers said.
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