Not Magic, Just Good Design: GBBN Backs Vision to Expand Downtown Cincinnati by 30 Acres

It’s not every day that a transportation story makes the front page of the local newspaper. But this is so much more than a transportation story. It’s about the future of Cincinnati.

After months workshopping the idea, GBBN and its collaborators’—Brian Boland and Bridge Forward Cincinnati—proposal to consolidate I-75’s approach to the Brent Spence Bridge (and its planned companion bridge) recently went public as the cover story of the Cincinnati Business Courier.

Like the Fort Washington Way project 25 years ago, which shrank the footprint of the tangle of interstate lanes that once cut Cincinnati’s riverfront off from the downtown, the Bridge Forward proposal would shrink the footprint of the northern approach to the Brent Spence Bridge by simplifying its on and off ramps. While the Fort Washington Way project opened approximately 14 acres of Downtown for development, the Bridge Forward proposal would open as much as 30.

On the whole the response to the proposal has been positive. A follow up story by Cincinnati Business Courier describes both Cincinnati Mayor, Aftab Pureval, and Hamilton County Commissioner, Denise Driehaus, as interested in the idea.

GBBN’s design isn’t surprised by the positive response, because they understand that this is an opportunity to transform our city for decades to come by reconnecting Downtown to Queensgate and the West End while reclaiming up to 30 acres of valuable Downtown real estate.

GBBN’s Chas Wiederhold is especially interested in the opening it creates to right a historical wrong. “Just as planners and designers in the past made decisions to demolish an almost entirely black neighborhood (home to 5% of the city’s population), today we can make deliberate decisions to mend the street grid, restitch the urban fabric, and heal the community.”

For more on the proposal, visit Bridge Forward Cincinnati’s website here.

Learn more about Chas Wiederhold.