Enhancing community connections in Cincinnati, by reclaiming alleys, sidewalks, and steps for the pedestrian.
To preface the following letter, which was forwarded to the West End Community Council (WECC), Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA), Dayton Street Preservation Foundation (DSPF), and Cincinnati Preservation Collective (CPC) each oppose a recent expansion plan by St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) in the West End. CPC & CPA join SiOS in opposition of the elimination of two public alleys, while SVDP & CPA explicitly oppose the existing plan in full. St. Vincent de Paul hopes to gain approval from WECC during its August meeting.
The plan calls for elimination of Porter Alley (between Garden Street & Bank Street) and partial elimination of Curry Alley (from Porter Alley eastward to the western edge of SVDP’s property) for an expanded surface parking lot, which Spring in Our Steps opposed in 2013. Three years later, the same fight has risen to the surface, this time with SVDP including plans to expand its facilities to the north side of Bank Street, occupying a sizable portion of land between Winchell Avenue & Koebel Street.
A look at SVDP’s expansions can be found below, following our letter of opposition.
View our opposition from 2013 here:
July 12, 2016
Spring in Our Steps
1599 Central Parkway
Cincinnati OH 45202
Re: Proposed St. Vincent de Paul Expansion – Porter and Curry Alleys
Spring in Our Steps opposed The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s planned elimination of Porter and Curry Alleys as viable public land, as part of plans for facility expansion at 1125 Bank Street, either by way of paving or by excavation, for creation of a surface parking lot.Porter and Curry Alleys bring value to the West End Community in numerous ways:I. The historic character is reflected in their brick pavement and granite curb features, which are complementary to the Dayton Street Historic District.II. Their presence reinforces that scale and density of development adheres to the historic neighborhood character, such as narrow & deep parcels. These constraints are inherent with the relationship between alleys and city block orientation in historic neighborhoods, such as the West End Community.III. Numerous examples exist of public alleys without impediment or erasure—in Downtown, Over-the-Rhine, Northside, and other Cincinnati neighborhoods—while serving a functional purpose in tandem with abutting surface parking lots. In these cases, alleys provide pedestrian and vehicular access alike.We recommend that the alleys be fully integrated with design and management of the proposed surface parking lot expansion, including provisions like lighting that discourage illicit activity.We advise against any covering with asphalt or concrete, gating and leasing, or any other alteration of Porter and Curry Alleys that would impede, reduce, or eliminate access to public land. Regular maintenance and restoration of the alley space will coincide to their treatment as neighborhood assets and components of a revitalized community.
With thanks & frankness,