Eastern Corridor

Sierra Club sent the attached comments on the “Situation Assessment” draft written by the Consensus Building Institute (CBI). CBI was hired by the Federal Highway Administration due to the controversy on the Relocated US 32 Segments II and III.

Download the documents here.

Sierra Club CBI Comments 10.17.2014


Air pollution and ADHD CCAAPS Newman et al 2013


Highway expansions and increases in VMT USC Study 9-30-2014

Land use policies that reduce VMT USC Study 9-30-2014

Life expectancy and air pollution NEJM 2009

Traffic and wheezing in children Bernstein 2012



Newtown pans “new SR 32 route”

Posted on July 17th, 2014

Eastern Corridor Newtown letter to TID 7-14-2014

Newtown sent the following to the Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District on July 14, 2014

We have been given a copy of a proposed new route for the S.R.32 relocation/Eastern Corridor project through the Village of Newtown that, we are told, was submitted to the TID by Bob Slattery. In addition to all of the problems encompassed with this new routing, we find it interesting that the plan has a major intersection at the Wag’s Dog Park location in the Village of Newtown, that property being controlled by Mr. Slattery.

As the Mayor of the Village and Chairperson of the Newtown Community Partner Committee, we are writing to insure that the TID is aware that the Village remains steadfastly opposed to any further development of this project. We do not see where this new alignment provides any better benefit to the Village of Newtown than any of the past plans presented to us. Not only does it continue to threaten the businesses and quality of life of our Village residents, this particular version appears to cross the Little Miami River in a particularly sensitive area due to a low suitability for a river crossing, floodplain, and archeological issues. The prospect of this project going forward is devastating to the Village and to its businesses and residents. We wish to assure the TID that any proposal submitted by private parties does not represent the position of the Village nor the Community Partner Committee, nor do we believe it represents the position of the business community in the Village. The proposed project in any alignment is a detriment to the Village and we continue in our opposition to it.


Curt Cosby,Mayor

Mark Kobasuk, Chairperson Newtown Community Partner Committee

Read Sunday’s Cincinnati Enquirer letter to the editor on the Eastern Corridor.

Why build new highways and bridges when we can’t find the money to fix what we have (Brent Spence, Western Hills Viaduct) and our SORTA/Metro system lags behind cities of comparable size in their capacity to meet transit needs?


Job Opening

Posted on June 6th, 2014

Conservation Program Coordinator

One year, Part-Time/20 hours per week with benefits, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization, is seeking a dedicated, and skilled individual who can take initiative to fulfill the role of Conservation Program Coordinator for the Ohio Chapter’s Miami Group.

This job includes engaging and educating community members around restoring and protecting our rivers and promoting sustainable transportation.  Responsibilities include organizing water monitoring, awareness events, community organizing and service outings, updating websites and recruiting volunteers. Read More

“”We don’t need it,” Newtown Mayor Curt Cosby told reporter Jason Williams. “The state keeps saying, ‘Well, we hear you and we’re taking that into account.’ But they continue to move forward and spend money. They don’t really hear us.”

Read the full editorial here.

Sierra Club submits comments on Oasis Rail

Posted on January 10th, 2014


The Oasis Rail Line has too few riders to be cost effective. Even future projections (2030) are very low.

The Oasis Rail Line has very limited development potential because too much of the area near stations is already developed or undevelopable because of steep slopes, floodplains, or is in the Ohio River, is landslide prone, is a golf course or park, or an airport ! 

The cost is high – somewhere between $230 million and OKI’s cost of $1 billion. 

The estimated $60 for a round trip is too expensive and saves too little time, if any

 There are more cost effective mass transit options and routes that will get more people to jobs, schools, etc.

  • Oasis Rail will cost over a billion dollars according to OKI[1]’s 2040 Long Range Plan.
  • The much lower (yet incomplete[2]) costs in the OASIS Rail Conceptual Alternatives Solutions are very high.  Capital costs (trains, track, etc.) are estimated to be between $230,288,791 and $322,530,539. [3]  The Conceptual Alternatives Report identifies numerous issues that have not been evaluated yet and the costs are unknown.

Annual operating costs are estimated to be $3,500,000.[4]

  • The number boarding the train in the “Six Station Scenario”[5] is 3,060.  This figure represents 1,530 people boarding the train in the morning, between Milford and Columbia-Tusculum and 1,530 people boarding the train in the evening at the Riverfront Transit Center and getting off between there and Milford.
  • The cost per trip, assuming the low capital cost of $230,288,791 is $29.18 in 2019 and $36.94 in 2019 if the higher capital cost is used.   Remember, not all the costs are yet included in the capital costs.[6]

Also, the low cost per trip $29.18 is just one-way. It will be another $29.18 to return home.

  • OKI and the Oasis Rail Conceptual Alternative Solution focus on Environmental Justice as part of the rationale for the project.  However, anyone who is economically disadvantaged surely will not be able to afford $60 to get to work and back.  Secondly, this rail line is intended to run from Milford in the morning to downtown, returning workers in the evening.  The census data used shows that the most affected low-income population isn’t in the Milford area, but downtown and East Walnut Hills.  If “no-car” households have no car because of economic necessity, they won’t benefit from a $60 cost to go to work each day.  This project attempts to use Environmental Justice as a justification for a project that does nothing for the disadvantaged or for those disproportionally affected by environmental impacts.
  • Much is made of the development potential of the Oasis Line.  The extremely limited development potential of the station locations is well illustrated by the maps in the Draft Final Station Area Analysis. Most of the area in the ¼ to ½ mile radius of the stations is in the Ohio River, and up steep, landslide prone hillsides along Columbia Parkway, or is in the floodway or floodplain, or is a Park or Golf Course, or on a landfill, lakes and wetlands or industrial and unsuited to transit-oriented development.  The development potential is almost non-existent. Even future ridership projects expect a minimal numbers of riders.
  • The feeder bus system is largely impractical due to geography, better bus routes, and low numbers of expected riders.  The cost of such buses is not included and given the challenges SORTA and METRO have getting money to increase service, and the fact that this project offers no source for revenue for SORTA/METRO it is highly unlikely the feeder bus system is worthwhile.
  • The cost of a METRO/SORTA trip, on the other hand, is about $4.39, coming from fare boxes, local taxes and other revenue. This is incredibly cost effective compared to the OASIS. In fact, METRO/SORTA were just ranked as one of the most cost-effective transit systems in the country by University of Cincinnati Economics Center. Even with the same subsidy ratio (fare box to other funding sources) the Oasis is still extremely expensive.
  • There is a lot to be said for fixed rail systems, but they don’t work without riders and development potential.  The Wasson Line from the East to the Universities (Xavier, UC), Hospitals (UC Health, Children’s, etc.) to downtown. Wasson connects people and job centers.  Oasis doesn’t.

Submitted by:

Marilyn Wall                                                  Chris Curran

Conservation Chair                                       Transportation Chair

Sierra Club Miami Group                             Sierra Club Ohio Chapter

marilyn.wall@env-comm.org                       currancp@gmail.com

Attachment via dropbox compare Oasis Line with Wasson

[1] Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments, the local governmental planning agency. 2040 Long Range Plan Figure 10-11: Public Transportation Fiscally Constrained Plan Recommendations.  OKI also says ”Being in the financially constrained portion of the plan means that there is evidence of sufficient funds to cover the cost of the included projects by the year 2040. The remaining rail transit recommendations serve as a vision plan for potential future projects and are not included as part of the fiscally constrained portion of this plan.”

[2] Railroad agreement costs are not included, right-of-way costs are not included; many costs have yet to be analyzed. Costs may well be higher.

[3] Oasis Rail Conceptual Alternative Solutions page 55

[4] Oasis Rail Conceptual Alternative Solutions page 28

[5] Oasis Rail Conceptual Alternative Solutions page 100

[6] .  OKI estimated much higher costs probably representing life cycle costs (repair and maintenance over a few decades, more stations, increased costs of fuel, etc.) One of the alternatives is to put the Oasis Rail Line on the relocated SR 32 highway.  That cost is not included.