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Move Up Cincinnati Will Liberty Street ever get its 'road diet'? – WCPO

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CINCINNATI — A years-in-the-making redesign of Liberty Street — one of Cincinnati’s most vital and heavily-traveled roads — might have taken one step closer to reality this week.

And then again, it might not have.

A lengthy discussion among City Council members and the mayor Monday afternoon answered some — but also posed new — questions about the Liberty Street improvement project, referred to by some as a “road diet.” The biggest conflict still stirring among lawmakers centers around what is a perpetual challenge for Over-the-Rhine: on-street parking.

It’s a plan that the OTR Community Council has toiled over for more than five years, and it would reduce the road’s current seven-lane configuration down to five lanes instead. But not everyone agrees the area’s parking and traffic demands can handle a narrower Liberty Street.

Why put Liberty Street on a diet?

One hope behind the narrowing project is to make the street safer for all types of users — drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Liberty Street today carries roughly 16,000 vehicles per day — a heavy volume, to be sure. With multiple lanes traveling in each direction, it can also be a hotspot for speeding and other dangerous driving habits like swerving around other cars and between lanes.

Samantha Heath said she sees it every day.

“People zip through. It’s high-speed traffic because we’re connected by two highways on either end,” said the OTR resident. She’s lived near Liberty on and off for the last five years.

Cincinnati Police crash data back up Heath’s perception of Liberty, showing approximately 1,700 traffic crash incidents occurring on Liberty Street since 2013. The data are unclear, however, about how many of those crashes were speed-related. More than 30 of those incidents involved pedestrians, police records show.

There’s plenty of research confirming that narrower roads often mean less dangerous driving. As recently as last year,

Northside saw success in slowing traffic when the city reduced Hamilton Avenue to one lane in each direction.

While Liberty Street is a much different environment than Hamilton Avenue — and serves different needs — urban planners working with the OTRCC agreed a narrower Liberty Street would make it safer.

“The whole purpose for narrowing Liberty Street is because it was out of balance,” meaning it prioritizes car-traffic flow above all other modes of transportation, said Jeff Raser, formerly of Glaserworks Architecture + Urban Design, during Monday’s committee hearing. Raser was one of the chief designers of the road diet plan. “The reason we wanted to narrow Liberty Street was to make it a more pedestrian-friendly street — to tap the potential of it for both commerce and livability.”

View of Liberty Street from Main Street, looking west, before the road was widened to seven lanes. (Provided/City of Cincinnati)

Raser said Liberty Street achieved its current girth more than a half-century ago: In the 1950s, the city dramatically widened the two-lane road in order to accommodate vehicles wanting to connect between the then-newly constructed Interstates 71 and 75. Fort Washington Way — the chief connector between the two interstates today — did not exist yet.

Another argument for narrowing Liberty Street is that it separates the neighborhood into two halves,

making it difficult for people enjoying the recent development in south OTR to walk safely to the neighborhood’s northern half above Liberty

, according to City Councilman Chris Seelbach.

“It separates all of Over-the-Rhine, and it makes it very unsafe for people trying to cross from south Over-the-Rhine into north Over-the-Rhine,” said Seelbach, himself an OTR resident who has led the push for the Liberty Street road diet for the majority of his eight years on City Council.

Competing plans, competing interests

Roughly a dozen community members testified on the Liberty Street improvements at Monday’s committee hearing, some in favor of narrowing the road and some opposed. Right now, there are two competing plans.

The “road diet” plan — which has the support of a super-majority of City Council — would shrink Liberty Street from seven to five lanes. It would reserve the two outer curb lanes for on-street parking from 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. and on weekends, but those lanes would open to traffic flow during the day.

Five-lane configuration. The curb lanes would allow parking from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. (Provided/City of Cincinnati)

The other plan — championed by Mayor John Cranley — would preserve all seven lanes, but it would add curb bump-outs at each of the strip’s 12 crosswalks (at six major intersections). The bump-outs would reduce the distance required for people to cross Liberty.

Seven-lane configuration with 24-hour parking lanes and curb bump-outs at intersections. (Provided/City of Cincinnati)

Cranley’s argument — as well as several speakers at Monday’s hearing — is that the neighborhood cannot afford to lose all-day on-street parking.

“Why we would want to eliminate close to 100 spaces on Liberty, when we are severely under-parked, seems to be stubborn for the sake of being stubborn,” Cranley said — referring to the road diet plan’s limiting of parking on Liberty Street to nighttime only.

Cranley wasn’t alone. Tom Lofaro presides over Chatfield College, which has a campus located on the southeast corner of Liberty Street and Central Parkway. He testified that losing Liberty Street’s on-street parking spaces would be devastating to his students.

“They’re overcoming so many challenges already; adding parking on top of them is unconscionable,” Lofaro said, saying the majority of his students’ parking needs occur between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., when parking on Liberty Street would be restricted.

Where we stand now

Getting the Liberty Street road diet funded and approved by a veto-proof super-majority of City Council has a history that is as complicated as all the competing interests at work. There have been prior versions that included bike lanes and other amenities that ultimately never made it to the final version.

Cranley has vetoed multiple versions of the road diet plan in years past — citing his concerns over losing parking access — and even vetoed the current five-lane option last fall after a majority of Council approved it. It took a veto-override — which required gaining an extra “Yea” vote — in the form of a budget ordinance by City Council to finally approve funding for the design. When that passed, City Council allowed the administration 60 days to assess and come back with recommended revisions before beginning the process.

Seelbach said that window has passed, and filed a motion last month to compel the city administration to begin work on the five-lane design.

“We have funding to do a road diet of Liberty Street,” Seelbach said.

Alongside Seelbach’s motion Monday, the committee considered an ordinance — submitted by Cranley — that would compel the administration to pursue the Liberty Street project, but only if it preserves all on-street parking. The committee moved to amend Cranley’s ordinance at its core — removing any language about preserving on-street parking. Now the mayor has a choice to refer that ordinance to a City Council committee again or let it die.

Ultimately, Seelbach said, the project has the funding and should move forward.

“It’s fully funded and the neighborhood supports it. A super-majority of Council supports it,” he said.

Because his motion passed Monday’s committee, it could become a topic of discussion again at Wednesday’s meeting of the full council — although, motions approved by City Council do not bear the power of law.

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Diet Plans

More evidence links weight gain to meal times – Medical News Today

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A recent small-scale study adds to the growing evidence of an association between eating later in the day and weight gain. Using unique tracking methods, the researchers add more detail to the theory.

A recent study looks again at meal times and obesity.

As adult obesity rates in the United States continue to rise, finding ways to curb the growth is more urgent than ever.

Of course, scientists are investigating a range of options, from surgery and medication to diet plans and psychological interventions.

Some scientists are becoming increasingly interested in how altering what time we eat our food might play a part.

If changing our eating patterns could have even a small effect, it is worth understanding. Sticking to a restrictive, calorie-controlled diet is challenging, but eating at a different time of the day might be more easy to achieve.

The question is, does eating later in the day really make a difference? A recent experiment by scientists at the University of Colorado in Denver uses in-depth personal monitoring to gain fresh insight.

Weight gain and meal timing

Some earlier work has identified a pattern between eating later and increased weight gain. For instance, the authors of a 2011 study concluded that “caloric intake after 8:00 p.m. may increase the risk of obesity.”

However, it is not clear whether individuals who eat later in the day might, consequently, have less sleep overall. This factor is important because experts also believe that sleeping less may play a part in obesity.

The lead author of the latest investigation, Dr. Adnin Zaman, explains that “few studies have assessed both meal and sleep timing in adults with obesity, and it is not clear whether eating later in the day is associated with shorter sleep duration or higher body fat.”

The researchers presented their findings at the ENDO 2019 conference, which took place in New Orleans, LA.

The scientists recruited 31 adults with an average age of 36 years who were overweight or had obesity. To capture as much relevant information as possible, the scientists assessed the participants’ sleep, levels of activity, and diet.

Each participant wore an Actiwatch that monitored their sleep-wake cycles. They also wore an activPAL electronic device on their thigh, which measured how much time they spent both doing physical activity and being sedentary.

The participants kept track of what they ate using a phone app called MealLogger. Using the app, they photographed each meal and snack that they consumed, which provided the time of day that they ate it. The researchers used a continuous glucose monitor to verify dietary intake.

Sleep, meal times, and weight

The analysis showed that, on average, the participants ate their food during an 11-hour window and had 7 hours of sleep each night.

As expected, those who ate later in the day had a higher BMI and greater levels of body fat. Importantly, the researchers also showed that those who ate later in the day still had an average of 7 hours of sleep, implying that a lack of sleep is not the primary driver of these effects.

We used a novel set of methods to show that individuals with overweight and obesity may be eating later into the day.”

Dr. Adnin Zaman

This preliminary trial is part of an ongoing project to look at these interactions in more detail.

Dr. Zaman notes, “These findings support our overall study, which will look at whether restricting the eating window to earlier on in the day will lower obesity risk.”

Experiments such as this one are only possible now due to the prevalence of modern technology in our lives. Dr. Zaman explains, “Given that wearable activity monitors and smartphones are now ubiquitous in our modern society, it may soon be possible to consider the timing of behaviors across 24 hours in how we approach the prevention and treatment of obesity.”

However, because this is a small-scale project of short duration, it is important to approach the findings with caution. It will be interesting to see the final results from the full study. The authors are also keen to run similar experiments with people who have a healthy body weight to see if there is a similar trend among this group.

As the current findings align with those of earlier investigations, the timing of meals may become an increasingly important focus in the study and treatment of obesity.

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Best supplements for weight loss – the 1p a day natural capsules to prevent weight gain – Express

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Weight loss could be crucial for patients that are overweight or obese. Around 25 per cent of all adults in the UK are obese, said the NHS. Making some long-term lifestyle and dietary changes could help patients to lose weight, it said. Weight loss supplements may provide people with a kickstart for their new diet plans. One of the best ways to lower your chances of obesity is to regularly take glucomannan supplements, it’s been claimed.

Glucomannan is a type of fibre that comes from a Japanese plant, and could help you to tackle weight loss, said dietitian Helen Bond.

The supplement has appetite suppressant effects, meaning you’re less likely to feel hungry after a meal.

It could even help to improve your cholesterol levels, which subsequently benefits your heart, she said.

“Glucomannan is a dietary fibre extracted from the roots of the Japanese konjac plant, which absorbs water and expands in your stomach to increase feelings of ‘satiety’ [fullness],” said Bond.

“Glucomannan is approved by the European Food Safety Authority as a ‘proven and safe’ aid to weight loss, and has the added advantage of helping to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

“But, although glucomannan can help take the edge off hunger [when one gram is consumed with a glass of water before a meal], it’s not a green card to continue to eat whatever you want.

“Rather, you need to take advantage of its mild appetite suppressing effects and combine this with reducing your intake of fatty and sugary processed foods, and switching to natural whole foods, in appropriate sizes and moderation, plus more exercise.”

Glucomannan is also a natural prebiotic, which means it provides food for gut bacteria.

Higher intakes of prebiotics could lead to improved digestion, healthier cholesterol levels, and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Alternatively, you could also try losing weight by regularly taking litramine supplements, said Bond. Litramine is a type of fibre complex made from the dried leaves of prickly pears.

Litramine supplements – including XLS-Medical Tea – bites up to 28 per cent of your dietary fats in your stomach, she said.

The best way to lose weight is by making some small diet or lifestyle swaps, said the NHS.

One of the easiest ways to slash the pounds is to eat regular meals – including breakfast, lunch and dinner, it added.

Drink plenty of water, and be sure to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

Fibre-rich foods help you to feel fuller for longer, which stops you from overeating.

Exercise is equally as important as a healthy diet. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.

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Best supplements for weight loss – the 5p a day capsules to help you shed the pounds – Express

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Weight loss could be crucial for patients that are overweight or obese. Around 25 per cent of all adults in the UK are obese, said the NHS. Long-term lifestyle and diet changes could help some patients to lower weight, it said. Taking weight loss supplements may provide people with the kickstart they need for their diet plans. You could raise your chances of losing weight by regularly taking glucomannan supplements, it’s been claimed.

Glucomannan is a type of dietary fibre that stems from the root of the konjac plant, said medical website WebMD.

It comes as a powder, or as a capsule, and has been linked to treating constipation, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

It could also help some overweight patients to lose weight, revealed dietitian Helen Bond. But, it comes with a warning.

“As we explore the many ‘quick fixes’ and ‘miracle diet pills’ being offered to us over the season of clean eating and waistline watching, it’s important to be aware that as attractive as they sound, there are no true quick fixes or magical solutions to burn fat and lose inches,” said Bond.

“The key to losing weight and keeping it off is always to eat a nutritionally balanced and varied diet, with appropriately-sized portions and being physically active.

“Glucomannan is approved by the European Food Safety Authority as a ‘proven and safe’ aid to weight loss, and has the added advantage of helping to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

“But, although glucomannan can help take the edge off hunger [when one gram is consumed with a glass of water before a meal) it’s not a green card to continue to eat whatever you want.

“Rather, you need to take advantage of its mild appetite-suppressing effects and combine this with reducing your intake of fatty and sugary-processed foods, and switching to natural whole foods, in appropriate sizes and moderation, plus more exercise.”

Glucomannan works by slowing down the absorption of sugar and cholesterol from the gut, said WebMD.

The dietary fibre also absorbs water in the stomach and intestines, which could be used to treat constipation.

But you should always speak to a doctor before starting, or making any changes to your weight loss diet plan.

The best way to boost weight loss is to make some small, simple changes to your diet or lifestyle, said the NHS.

One of the easiest ways to slash the pounds is to eat regular meals – including breakfast, it added.

Drink plenty of water, and be sure to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

Fibre-rich foods help you to feel fuller for longer, which stops you from overeating.

Exercise is equally as important as a healthy diet. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.

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