Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Planning for Sustainability: Six hours with Price Hill Will ... and beyond

Last Saturday afternoon I spent six hours roaming the neighborhood streets of Price Hill. The Census officer never showed up at the Corryville Branch Library, so my contention for a temporary job would have to wait. Thus I got an earlier start to working for Price Hill Will (PHW), a non-profit development corporation in East Price Hill. Through my current co-op with Community Building Institute, I connected myself to various organizational partners through the place matters Comprehensive Community Initiative they manage. My volunteer opportunity spawned from several visits to PHW Eco-neighborhood Community Action Team (CAT) meetings. Emily Horning, a community organizer for PHW, regularly mediates and delegates at meetings. The neighborhood business district is due for streetscape improvements in the summer, so this presented a perfect opportunity for some first-person fieldwork.

PHW’s Beautification CAT identified several projects that would benefit from my initial mapping of the business corridors. These included:

1. Old, painted municipal waste containers along Warsaw are fading and falling into disrepair. I was to map them and show examples of those in poor shape. The mapping would be use to identify redundancy with other municipal waste facilities and where they are current lacking.

2. The Beauty CAT is working with Metro to consolidate bus stops with benches and shelters in Price Hill. Once again though, there may be a problem with advertisement benches in locations not zoned for them. Some are zoned; some are not (“parasitic as in nature,” as Emily put it). I was to map and photograph the benches in Price Hill, who owns them, and if they are authorized. Those that are not can be relocated or eliminated altogether. This may reduce eyesores in the community and augment Price Hill’s reputation as a “Cincinnati’s greenest community”.

3. Compile a photographic inventory of each block from Warsaw and Grand through Glenway and Crookshank.

So, what were some of my findings?

  • There is an unusual oversupply of bus stops throughout East Price Hill. I would venture to say that every other stop could be eliminated. Every block?
  • Advertising benches are not as plentiful as I expected, which could be a good or a bad thing. Many bus stops simply do not have seating for waiting. However, in higher traffic areas—as I mentioned Emily stated—they are “parasitic,” abundant and redundant.
  • Near one pocket park I found unnecessary duplication of waste facilities. Four were located on park property, while two were found immediately off park property on the sidewalks. There were even recycling containers for plastic + glass and aluminum cans on park property. When the park closes, are we no longer allowed to legally recycle?
  • As I mentioned in recent business association and community council meetings throughout the city, public recycling drop-offs seem to be located in very auto-oriented areas. In Price Hill these resources are especially sparse. Behind Holy Family School are two ABITIBI Paper Retriever containers, a clothing drop, and one Rumpke Recycling ommingled container. In this case, however, the drop-off location is quite walkable by comparison.
  • No systematic scheme is apparent in the placement of municipal waste cans. Some are midblock; others are at corner bus stops. And, as stated earlier, style and condition of the facilities are inconsistent.
  • In one specific case, there is a defunct bus stop on Seton Avenue, afront the long-abandoned KFC location at Five Points (Warsaw, Glenway, Seton, and Quebec). A bare signpost still remains without a Metro route sign badge. Its corresponding municpal waste can was empty on a Saturday, even though Emily and I both believe that trash is pick up on Mondays. Many other trash facilities are located at Five Points.

The sidewalk redo on Warsaw Avenue should be underway in Summer 2010. Hope is that bus stop consolidation, augmented litter control, and bus stop safety measures will conincide with the project. I will provide you all with an update when the comprehensive inventory, survey, and index are complete.

You are always invited to any of Price Hill Will’s Community Action Team meetings. The next Beautification CAT meeting is this Thursday, March 11th at 6:30pm at Price Hill Chili. The next Eco-neighborhood CAT meeting will be held tonight at 5:30pm at PHW, as last week’s meeting was rescheduled.

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