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The New Bridge, Environmental Injustice, And Christ Church Cathedral's Past

The Coalition for Transit and Sustainable Development of Greater Cincinnati (CTSD) is calling on local leaders to carefully consider environmental injustice concerns as they build the new Brent Spence Corridor bridge.

These concerns are raised as the expansion of highways has historically and disproportionately harmed low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Signers of a petition state that expanding the bridge will only promote greater traffic congestion, pollution, and that efforts should be focused on lower-carbon, public transportation as well as foot and bicycle transit.

Matt Butler, coordinator of CTSD, says that the group is not against progress but just "want better solutions for the residents of this area" (Cincinnati Enquirer Article).

To students of history and specifically the history of Christ Church Cathedral, this story may sound familiar. The Rev. Compton Allyn who had been called as deacon to Christ Church in 1954 wrote an article in the Bulletin entitled, “A Neighborhood Suffers”:

“A tremendous upheaval is being felt downtown around Christ Church-the building of the new expressways. It is easy to see the upheaval in terms of material destruction. Blocks of buildings are going in the path of the proposed Third Street Distributor (later to be named the Ft. Washington Way). This is visible to everyone, but what is harder to see is what the destruction means in terms of human lives…It is not too strong to say that our neighborhood is in a state of misery. Material progress is often accomplished at the price of human suffering…The tensions, the instability, and the constant changes are even more a reason why the Parish should stay downtown” (Morris, pp. 135-136).

The then Senior Warden of Christ Church's vestry, Charles Phelps Taft II, was also the Mayor of Cincinnati at that time and was said to have been, “suffering also the anguish of his people, urging housing and other assistance with all the power at his command” (Morris, p. 136).

As of the writing of this article, the petition had gathered over 560 signatures.

What will our response as Christ Church Cathedral be today?

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