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paintmered
01-17-2007, 08:23 AM
This doesn't sound like all that bad of a proposal. And the bus system really does need addressed here.


City studies streetcar system
BY JON NEWBERRY | JNEWBERRY@ENQUIRER.COM

The city of Cincinnati has hired a national engineering group to study a streetcar link of the riverfront and downtown business district with Over-the-Rhine.

The initial phase would likely be a three- to four-mile loop. An extension to the University of Cincinnati and city hospital complex could be part of the first phase or come later.

Future lines could extend into Northern Kentucky and possibly other city neighborhoods to the east and west.

The concept has been pushed for several years by groups that think Cincinnati's lack of public transportation alternatives is hurting economic development.

Chris Bortz, chairman of City Council's Economic Development Committee, is a streetcar advocate.

He said most members of council and Mayor Mark Mallory also favor the idea if it can be financed without additional taxes - which he thinks is feasible.

"The city has a great need for a more complete, holistic transportation system. Buses and roads just don't get it done," Bortz said.

"We need to create a city that's easy to get around in."

The $160,000 study by Omaha, Neb.-based HDR Inc. is to be completed by early May, according to Michael Moore, city architect.

The project team includes Charles Hales, the "father" of the highly successful streetcar system in Portland, Ore., who's now a principal with HDR's Portland office.

The Portland system has spurred billions of dollars of economic development over the last five years, most of which is within a block or so of the streetcar line.

That is what makes the concept so promising for areas such as Over-the-Rhine and the Uptown district.

Empty lots and redevelopment opportunities abound there.

Moore said the study is expected to produce "a recommended Phase-One alignment" including projected construction costs, operating costs and potential financing plan. It would then be up to City Council and the city manager to decide if and how to proceed, he said.

Noting that streetcar systems are much easier and cheaper to build than light rail, Bortz said it's feasible that streetcars could be up and running within two years if the city pursued it aggressively.

"It seems to be a transportation system that works in a lot of other cities," Moore said.

Some 50 other cities have studied or are studying similar projects, including Atlanta, where a proposed streetcar line has attracted "so much interest that they can't settle on a plan," he said.

Architect Denny Dellinger, owner of the former Jackson Brewery building and a founder of the Brewery District community development organization in Over-the-Rhine, said his group supports a streetcar line because of its ability to stimulate economic development.

"Developers aren't going to build a new development on a bus line, but they will along a streetcar line," he said. The rail in the ground makes all the difference. "That's a permanent, significant improvement that's not going to move," he said.

"I think it would just change things overnight. I really do."

HDR and the city began work in November, but it took a while to get going, Moore said. The next meeting is planned for later this month with a 25-to-30 member local advisory panel that's being assembled by the city. With development plans proceeding for the Banks site on Cincinnati's central riverfront and other major development projects, it seemed like the right time to examine a streetcar system, he said.

The goal, Moore said, is to strike a balance between serving riders who want to travel between existing destinations - the riverfront, downtown employers, convention facilities, entertainment venues, Fountain Square, Findlay Market - and promoting development opportunities in areas that are not already fully built up, particularly in Over-the-Rhine.

"One of the great things streetcars do is allow folks to not use their cars so much ... (or) not even own cars," he said. "If a streetcar makes the demand for parking less, then that opens the door for redevelopment."

A lot of proposed residential developments get hung up by the cost of building parking facilities, so if a streetcar system can reduce the number of needed parking spaces from two or three cars per unit to one car per unit, that can close the financing gap and make those projects feasible.

The idea of a streetcar was appealing to Minyette Burke of Mount Healthy as she waited at a cold Vine Street bus stop downtown on Tuesday afternoon, especially if it reduced the time she'd have to wait for her ride up the hill to Clifton.

"I would ride it. I think it would be nice," she said.

Heath
01-17-2007, 09:06 AM
Why don't they just clean out and run subways like they wanted to in the '20's.

:D

Chip R
01-17-2007, 09:12 AM
$160K is chump change to spend. Wait till they start talking in the tens of millions and watch how quickly this idea dies.

Roy Tucker
01-17-2007, 09:31 AM
I think this is a great idea and it's promising that the city is actually thinking about it. One can hope.

But I'll be stunned if anything comes of it. The city of Cincinnati can't agree on what soup to have for lunch, let alone a street car system.

SunDeck
01-17-2007, 09:42 AM
I think rail makes more sense if the purpose is to move people from the burbs to the core. A rail along the river out to the casinos, a rail up I-71 to King Island, a rail across the river. These forward thinking ideas have been put forward and were of course killed by the voters who, like Steve Chabot insist that "we could buy everybody in the district a car for what this light rail boondoggle would end up costing taxpayers." (hello Steve...that's kind of the point!).

Light rail is not a bad idea if the purpose is to move people around the metropolitan area efficiently and to improve access to the urban core. But streetcars? I have a hard time understanding how planting tracks in the street A) is more efficient than buses or B) is a better way to spend transportation dollars in a small downtown. This is just an attempt by the OTR development interests to create a novelty that will spur development in their area. While I have no problem with supporting development of OTR and other parts of the downtown core, I think it is folly to believe that streetcars would be anything more than an attraction. Now, if they want to talk about bringing them back and reconstructing the inclines as a way to create a tourism buzz, then I'm all for it. Just don't try to sell it to me as a better alternative to buses. Buses may not be nostalgic, but they work.

westofyou
01-17-2007, 10:18 AM
Downtown San Francisco has streetcars, they are all painted and designed to represent the streetcars of defunct old lines from other cities

http://www.sfmuni.com/cms/mms/rider/histcars.htm


Car Number City Paint Scheme
1007 Philadelphia Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company
("Red Arrow" Lines): maroon & cream
1010 San Francisco Muni: blue & yellow
1015 St. Louis Illinois Terminal Railroad: green, cream, & gray

Single-ended PCC cars originally built for Philadelphia in 1946
with most cars painted to look like streetcars from other cities:

Car Number City Paint Scheme
1050 San Francisco Muni: green & cream (original "wing" style)
1051 San Francisco Muni: green & cream (simplified style)
1052 Los Angeles Los Angeles Railway: orange & yellow, with silver stripes
1053 Brooklyn Board of Transportation of the City of New York: blue-green & silver
1054 Philadelphia Philadelphia Transportation Company: silver & cream, with blue stripes
1055 Philadelphia Philadelphia Transportation Company: green & cream, with red stripe
1056 Kansas City Kansas City Public Service Company: cream, black, & silver
1057 Cincinnati Cincinnati Street Railway: yellow & gray, with green stripes
1058 Chicago Chicago Transit Authority: green & cream
1059 Boston Boston Elevated Railway: orange, cream, & silver, with red stripe
1060 Newark Public Service Coordinated Transport: gray & white, with blue stripes
1061 Los Angeles Pacific Electric Railway: red, orange, & gray (original style)
1062 Louisville The Louisville Railway Company: green & cream, with black stripe
1063 Baltimore Baltimore Transit Company: yellow & gray

Here's the Cincinnati one

http://www.helos.fi/trams/sf/i/06.jpg

Chip R
01-17-2007, 10:27 AM
You know, we don't need streetcars, we need a monorail.

http://img434.imageshack.us/img434/7110/monorail11sj.jpg

KronoRed
01-17-2007, 12:07 PM
I like this idea.

Of course I like all mass transit ideas, even bus lanes :D

Chip R
01-17-2007, 12:53 PM
I like this idea.

Of course I like all mass transit ideas, even bus lanes :D


Says the guy with the Geo. :laugh:

KronoRed
01-17-2007, 01:24 PM
It's not my car

Really..everyone it's not...PLEASE! :runawaycr

Yachtzee
01-17-2007, 02:02 PM
If I lived in Cincinnati, I would love the idea of a light rail system that could get me to the downtown nightspots and Newport on the Levee without having to drive a car. Then I could go out with my wife and friends and no one would have to worry about a designated driver. And imagine if you worked downtown, being able to get some work done on the trip in and out. When I lived in Chicago, I lived on the far north side, so that it took me an hour on the El to get to the loop in the morning. I would take work on the train with me so that I could put that time to good use. If I didn't have work to do, I could bring a book to read. If I had a choice of sitting in my car for an hour or riding the train for an hour, I'd pick the train.

I really wish they would develop a rail network to connect Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. I would love the idea of being able to live in one city and have multiple cities to choose from in which to pursue my career.

harangatang
01-17-2007, 03:15 PM
Why don't they just clean out and run subways like they wanted to in the '20's.

:DThat's not possible because the city ran a bunch pipes and lines through the tunnels. I think they could use sections of the tunnel if they wanted to but not the whole thing.

Matt700wlw
01-17-2007, 03:15 PM
How's the banks project going?

redsmetz
01-17-2007, 03:42 PM
How's the banks project going?

The Banks project won't go anywhere until the Bengals sign off on it and they won't do that as long as the county is suing them for the awful lease that their shill Bob Bedinghaus (and his cronies) agreed to. That means, unfortunately, that they'll have to drop the suit and let us continue to get hosed by the Bengals. We'll see where it goes when down towards the end of the lease, the county is forced to pay money to the Bengals, something not permitted by state law.

Chip R
01-17-2007, 03:46 PM
How's the banks project going?


Whup, forgot about the Banks. Once they get built, Cincinnati will have a cultural rennaisance. We won't need streetcars cause we'll just fly to work under our own power. When the Banks are built, the Reds will begin their run of 20 World Series championships in a row, the Bengals will win the Super Bowl so often they will start calling the playoffs, the Cincinnati Bengals invitational and they will cancel the Crosstown Shootout since the Bearcats and Muskies will meet in the NCAA Finals each year. :evil:

Heath
01-17-2007, 03:48 PM
How's the banks project going?

Is that the project that the county is making financial institutions keep their names for a period of 5 years so we aren't renaming the Central Trust Tower at the expense of the city?


:dunno:

Ltlabner
01-17-2007, 03:56 PM
Will the street cars that run from over the rhine be armor plated to protect the hordes of tourists they will attract from the random stray bullets that wiz around from time to time in that area?

Chip R
01-17-2007, 03:59 PM
Will the street cars that run from over the rhine be armor plated to protect the hordes of tourists they will attract from the random stray bullets that wiz around from time to time in that area?


When the Banks is finished, everyone will put down their weapons and treat each other with brotherly love.

Roy Tucker
01-17-2007, 04:20 PM
Whup, forgot about the Banks. Once they get built, Cincinnati will have a cultural rennaisance. We won't need streetcars cause we'll just fly to work under our own power. When the Banks are built, the Reds will begin their run of 20 World Series championships in a row, the Bengals will win the Super Bowl so often they will start calling the playoffs, the Cincinnati Bengals invitational and they will cancel the Crosstown Shootout since the Bearcats and Muskies will meet in the NCAA Finals each year. :evil:

Naaah.

SunDeck
01-17-2007, 05:20 PM
http://www.3cdc.org/images/uploaded/banks_vibrant_cityTH.gif

Hey, I think I can see Chip down there!

Heath
01-17-2007, 07:01 PM
When the Banks is finished, everyone will put down their weapons and treat each other with brotherly love.

Only if Jim Coombs or Chris Denorfia gets elected to city council.......

KronoRed
01-17-2007, 07:52 PM
Ahh the banks...

Come on, who needs it? we love that empty ditch right next to our Reds stadium dont we? ;)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v408/Kronosb/stadiums.jpg

Caveat Emperor
01-17-2007, 08:38 PM
Light rail is not a bad idea if the purpose is to move people around the metropolitan area efficiently and to improve access to the urban core. But streetcars? I have a hard time understanding how planting tracks in the street A) is more efficient than buses or B) is a better way to spend transportation dollars in a small downtown.

A.) Even with ridership growing in the wake of high gas prices, there is still a large social stigma attached to riding the bus. I imagine if you did a show of hands, more people would feel comfortable riding around downtown on a train or streetcar (especially with children) than would riding around on a bus. The bus, as a mode of transportation, has gotten a bum rap (no pun intended) as being unsafe and mainly suited for poor people.

Further, streetcar lines create easily recognizeable routes that are repeated as opposed to scheduled. Anything done downtown would be fairly simple -- cars run continuously on the line and makes stops at X, Y, and Z. This is contrasted to the bus system, which requires getting a map ahead of time and working out the actual bus schedule to fit with wherever you are attempting to go.

B.) Having good inner-city transportation offers an opportunity to grow the downtown area. There are lots of areas of town that are underdeveloped simply because they aren't close to any major destinations. This is especially true on the western edge of downtown. There is lots of opportunity for redevelopment in that area -- especially given it's close proximity to the stadium and the museum center -- and having reliable and regular transportation to and from that area to other parts of downtown could help spur development. Trains and Streetcars offer the opportunity to move people from their places of busines downtown to bars and nightlife in other parts of town or to sporting events at the stadium, or a combination of all three.

So yeah, it's a small downtown -- but that's only because it's been dying steadily for the past few decades. Something like a streetcar line, if coupled with smart urban renewal, could do a lot for the city. It has to be both, though -- one need only look at Detroit to see that an inner-city mass transit line (the infamous "People Mover") alone won't solve problems if there is no place that anyone wants to ride it to.

Cedric
01-17-2007, 08:59 PM
Something is needed. After spending plenty of time in Chicago and Washington DC I am amazed that we have nothing like it here. I would vote yes without even thinking twice if they ever let us vote for a light rail again.

vaticanplum
01-17-2007, 09:51 PM
A.) Even with ridership growing in the wake of high gas prices, there is still a large social stigma attached to riding the bus. I imagine if you did a show of hands, more people would feel comfortable riding around downtown on a train or streetcar (especially with children) than would riding around on a bus. The bus, as a mode of transportation, has gotten a bum rap (no pun intended) as being unsafe and mainly suited for poor people.

Further, streetcar lines create easily recognizeable routes that are repeated as opposed to scheduled. Anything done downtown would be fairly simple -- cars run continuously on the line and makes stops at X, Y, and Z. This is contrasted to the bus system, which requires getting a map ahead of time and working out the actual bus schedule to fit with wherever you are attempting to go.

B.) Having good inner-city transportation offers an opportunity to grow the downtown area. There are lots of areas of town that are underdeveloped simply because they aren't close to any major destinations. This is especially true on the western edge of downtown. There is lots of opportunity for redevelopment in that area -- especially given it's close proximity to the stadium and the museum center -- and having reliable and regular transportation to and from that area to other parts of downtown could help spur development. Trains and Streetcars offer the opportunity to move people from their places of busines downtown to bars and nightlife in other parts of town or to sporting events at the stadium, or a combination of all three.

So yeah, it's a small downtown -- but that's only because it's been dying steadily for the past few decades. Something like a streetcar line, if coupled with smart urban renewal, could do a lot for the city. It has to be both, though -- one need only look at Detroit to see that an inner-city mass transit line (the infamous "People Mover") alone won't solve problems if there is no place that anyone wants to ride it to.

Normally I would advocate a turning around those riconkulous bus attitudes, but in this case I think CE is right. Cincinnatians are very fond of anything that can be remotely associated with the word "quaint". streetcars fit this bill. Hoo-ha.

Chip R
01-17-2007, 10:00 PM
One difference is that NY and Chicago kept their Els while cities like Cincy got rid of theirs. Gas was cheap and cars were getting more stylish and were becoming status symbols rather than just modes of transportation. Who would have thought gas would get so expensive then? And NY and Chicago are much larger than Cincy is.

Like I said, spending $160K on a study is nothing. It's chump change. Even if the study comes back and says they should do it, they don't have to do anything. And even if they did do it and voters approved it - not bloody likely - it would still take many years to get it done. Then, when it's done, people will have to actually use it enough so it is worth what they spent on it. They might use it a lot right away, like a kid with a new toy. But then after while they will figure that so many people are using it, that the traffic on I-71 and I-75 will be so light that it will be a breeze getting to work and back. And then you are back where you started from. And if gas prices go down and settle around $1.50-$1.75 a gallon, where's the incentive to use the light rail?

And who's to say the people they get to put the light rail plan together know what they are doing and will do it at that price? Let's say you approve $300M to spend on it in 2009. Then let's say it'll take 10 years to complete the project. $300M in 2009 isn't going to be $300M in 2012 or 2019.

Personally, I'm all for it as long as it's done right and it's not a boondoggle. But I've lived here long enough to be skeptical that the city and the county can do it right and not let it be a boondoggle.

DoogMinAmo
01-17-2007, 10:23 PM
I really wish they would develop a rail network to connect Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. I would love the idea of being able to live in one city and have multiple cities to choose from in which to pursue my career.

There has been talk of this and how relatively inexpensively it could be done through using exising rail lines. From having seen first hand how busy 71 is between these cities, and how crowded the Greyhound can get, I am a huge supporter of such an option.

Oh, and speaking of bus stigmas, everything you hear about bus riders on Greyhounds is eerily true. :eek:

paintmered
01-17-2007, 11:13 PM
One difference is that NY and Chicago kept their Els while cities like Cincy got rid of theirs. Gas was cheap and cars were getting more stylish and were becoming status symbols rather than just modes of transportation. Who would have thought gas would get so expensive then? And NY and Chicago are much larger than Cincy is.

Like I said, spending $160K on a study is nothing. It's chump change. Even if the study comes back and says they should do it, they don't have to do anything. And even if they did do it and voters approved it - not bloody likely - it would still take many years to get it done. Then, when it's done, people will have to actually use it enough so it is worth what they spent on it. They might use it a lot right away, like a kid with a new toy. But then after while they will figure that so many people are using it, that the traffic on I-71 and I-75 will be so light that it will be a breeze getting to work and back. And then you are back where you started from. And if gas prices go down and settle around $1.50-$1.75 a gallon, where's the incentive to use the light rail?

And who's to say the people they get to put the light rail plan together know what they are doing and will do it at that price? Let's say you approve $300M to spend on it in 2009. Then let's say it'll take 10 years to complete the project. $300M in 2009 isn't going to be $300M in 2012 or 2019.

Personally, I'm all for it as long as it's done right and it's not a boondoggle. But I've lived here long enough to be skeptical that the city and the county can do it right and not let it be a boondoggle.

I think this is a much more feasible option than the light rail proposal of a few years ago. First, no land would have to be acquired since the tracks are placed on the street. Also, this sounds like it is a much smaller scale project only servicing downtown, OTR and possibly CUF. So the sticker shock isn't going to be anywhere close to what it was for the light rail proposal.

All I know is that if it was in place now around the UC area, I would be riding it darn near everyday. And I've never been in a metro bus in my life.

But as you said Chip, there's plenty of reason to believe that either the city won't get it done, or won't get it done properly. Competence is hard to come by around city hall.

Ltlabner
01-17-2007, 11:30 PM
Personally, I'm all for it as long as it's done right and it's not a boondoggle. But I've lived here long enough to be skeptical that the city and the county can do it right and not let it be a boondoggle.

Knowing the dynamic duo of the city and county they would build a light rail system that only takes passengers from underneath the suspension bridge out to the old Forest Fair Mall. With luck they would run a spur out to Stubenville, Ohio. It would take 17 years to build at a cost 5 times more than original estimates. The price per trip would be $87.89 one way and people would still stay away from downtown at all costs.

Chip R
01-17-2007, 11:41 PM
Knowing the dynamic duo of the city and county they would build a light rail system that only takes passengers from underneath the suspension bridge out to the old Forest Fair Mall. With luck they would run a spur out to Stubenville, Ohio. It would take 17 years to build at a cost 5 times more than original estimates. The price per trip would be $87.89 one way and people would still stay away from downtown at all costs.


:lol:

cincinnati chili
01-18-2007, 12:21 AM
I think rail makes more sense if the purpose is to move people from the burbs to the core. A rail along the river out to the casinos, a rail up I-71 to King Island, a rail across the river. These forward thinking ideas have been put forward and were of course killed by the voters who, like Steve Chabot insist that "we could buy everybody in the district a car for what this light rail boondoggle would end up costing taxpayers." (hello Steve...that's kind of the point!).

Light rail is not a bad idea if the purpose is to move people around the metropolitan area efficiently and to improve access to the urban core. But streetcars? I have a hard time understanding how planting tracks in the street A) is more efficient than buses or B) is a better way to spend transportation dollars in a small downtown. This is just an attempt by the OTR development interests to create a novelty that will spur development in their area. While I have no problem with supporting development of OTR and other parts of the downtown core, I think it is folly to believe that streetcars would be anything more than an attraction. Now, if they want to talk about bringing them back and reconstructing the inclines as a way to create a tourism buzz, then I'm all for it. Just don't try to sell it to me as a better alternative to buses. Buses may not be nostalgic, but they work.

well said. I agree 1000%

GoGoWhiteSox
01-18-2007, 10:33 PM
Streetcars would be awesome! Sadly, I don't think it'll happen though. Cincinnati is just that way I guess.:(

vaticanplum
01-18-2007, 10:52 PM
Only if Jim Coombs or Chris Denorfia gets elected to city council.......

Who's Jim Coombs? I assume this is a baseball reference, but I got nothing.

westofyou
01-18-2007, 11:56 PM
Who's Jim Coombs? I assume this is a baseball reference, but I got nothing.

A poster who lives in Fla and has a dog.

WMR
01-19-2007, 12:26 AM
Ahh the banks...

Come on, who needs it? we love that empty ditch right next to our Reds stadium dont we? ;)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v408/Kronosb/stadiums.jpg

You should see it after a big rain. Glorious.

There's nothing like the smell of a mudpit in the morning.

Yachtzee
01-19-2007, 12:45 AM
Ahh the banks...

Come on, who needs it? we love that empty ditch right next to our Reds stadium dont we? ;)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v408/Kronosb/stadiums.jpg

Looks like they've got it set up for location filming for "The Sandlot 3"

Ltlabner
01-19-2007, 07:27 AM
Ahh the banks...

Come on, who needs it? we love that empty ditch right next to our Reds stadium dont we? ;)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v408/Kronosb/stadiums.jpg

But part of that mudpit has been paved for the circ de sole (which I'm sure made the city a bundle of money.....:rolleyes: ). So now instead of a big giant mudpit it's a big giant asphalt pit.

This town needs Arn Bortz, "Action Mayor" and his side kick, Management Man to get this trolley deal done.

Redsland
01-19-2007, 08:30 PM
You should see it after a big rain. Glorious.

There's nothing like the smell of a mudpit in the morning.
It smells like morass.

:duel:

Yachtzee
01-20-2007, 01:33 AM
You know what would get things moving on the Banks? Have Larry Flynt threaten to buy it and put up a Hustler Casino.

Highlifeman21
01-20-2007, 12:01 PM
I think rail makes more sense if the purpose is to move people from the burbs to the core. A rail along the river out to the casinos, a rail up I-71 to King Island, a rail across the river. These forward thinking ideas have been put forward and were of course killed by the voters who, like Steve Chabot insist that "we could buy everybody in the district a car for what this light rail boondoggle would end up costing taxpayers." (hello Steve...that's kind of the point!).

Light rail is not a bad idea if the purpose is to move people around the metropolitan area efficiently and to improve access to the urban core. But streetcars? I have a hard time understanding how planting tracks in the street A) is more efficient than buses or B) is a better way to spend transportation dollars in a small downtown. This is just an attempt by the OTR development interests to create a novelty that will spur development in their area. While I have no problem with supporting development of OTR and other parts of the downtown core, I think it is folly to believe that streetcars would be anything more than an attraction. Now, if they want to talk about bringing them back and reconstructing the inclines as a way to create a tourism buzz, then I'm all for it. Just don't try to sell it to me as a better alternative to buses. Buses may not be nostalgic, but they work.


If light rail for the City of Cincinnati can get voted down b/c of an autobody garage in Deer Park, that says something about this metropolis.

Instead of building light rail out to the casinos in Indiana, why not pass the vote to allow casinos in Ohio and get a piece of the action? Everytime I'm at either Belterra or Grand Vic, at least 80% of the cars in the parking lots have OH license plates. I can't comment on Argosy, b/c I can't stand that casino, but I would venture a guess it would be a higher % of OH license plates due to the closer proximity to the border.

Matt700wlw
01-20-2007, 12:22 PM
Thank goodness for the Freedom Center, or that land between the stadiums would be nothing but a waste....

WMR
01-20-2007, 01:06 PM
It's truly amazing how such an incredibly valuable piece of land could just SIT THERE, not making ANY money for ANYBODY for all of these years. Only Cincinnati.

KronoRed
01-20-2007, 01:47 PM
While condos, the Levee, apartments and the like spring up all over the place on the other side of the river.

Keep thinking ahead Cincinnati! ;)

DoogMinAmo
01-20-2007, 02:51 PM
While condos, the Levee, apartments and the like spring up all over the place on the other side of the river.

Keep thinking ahead Cincinnati! ;)

Not to pick on you Krono, because it is quite abundant in this thread and in the city, but you were the last post. I realize it is the 'in' thing to do, complain about Cincinnati and the bureaucracy, but how much do you (collective) really know about the city?

The city for the first time in decades had a positive population gain in the last census. Condo development projects are popping up all over the place, not to mention many old buildings are being renovated. The banks seems to be under true, progressive management; finally a developer has been selected and the city and county are no longer fighting it over. Fountain Square is being renovaed to give the city center a new image. Over-the-Rhine is slowly being gentrified and recapturing its past glory.

While I more than agree the past leadership of the city has been horrible, please don't deny the progress that has been made and seems to be on its way. It is akin to Reds fans blaming Castellini for the 2003 promis by Bowden.

I would much like to change the instinctual response by most to immediately claim anything good can't happen in this city, even if there are few like me. It can and will, if everyone wants it to. People have to believe in the city's future not just to rid it of the negative image, but also to want to live there and believe in the concepts of an urban core, and to create a demand for which supply is certain to follow. A good portion of this, surprising as it may be, is occurring now as we speak. If you truly are bothered by the city image and choices of the past, then help change.

Something is wrong with the city you say; then why not do anything about it?

Yachtzee
01-20-2007, 03:13 PM
Not to pick on you Krono, because it is quite abundant in this thread and in the city, but you were the last post. I realize it is the 'in' thing to do, complain about Cincinnati and the bureaucracy, but how much do you (collective) really know about the city?

The city for the first time in decades had a positive population gain in the last census. Condo development projects are popping up all over the place, not to mention many old buildings are being renovated. The banks seems to be under true, progressive management; finally a developer has been selected and the city and county are no longer fighting it over. Fountain Square is being renovaed to give the city center a new image. Over-the-Rhine is slowly being gentrified and recapturing its past glory.

While I more than agree the past leadership of the city has been horrible, please don't deny the progress that has been made and seems to be on its way. It is akin to Reds fans blaming Castellini for the 2003 promis by Bowden.

I would much like to change the instinctual response by most to immediately claim anything good can't happen in this city, even if there are few like me. It can and will, if everyone wants it to. People have to believe in the city's future not just to rid it of the negative image, but also to want to live there and believe in the concepts of an urban core, and to create a demand for which supply is certain to follow. A good portion of this, surprising as it may be, is occurring now as we speak. If you truly are bothered by the city image and choices of the past, then help change.

Something is wrong with the city you say; then why not do anything about it?

Those are good points, Doog. However, I would be careful before jumping on the bandwagon for touting change in the city. Cleveland is notorious for giving people false hope about a turn around. In the late '80s and early '90s, everyone praised Cleveland for its urban renewal in the flats and the Gateway area. Cleveland was supposedly undergoing this great renaissance that everyone pointed to as a model for other cities. The city was supposedly running a huge surplus and people were making big plans for the future. Unfortunately, the recession in the early 2000s following the dot com bust really hit Cleveland hard and NE Ohio started hemmorhaging jobs, not only in the tech field, but in just about every area. Then Jane Campbell took over the mayor's office and discovered that the supposed surplus they had was all smoke and mirrors. Once the beacon of revitalization in the Rust Belt, Cleveland has fallen back into the pack of places with more people leaving than staying. I think a large part of that fall has been Cleveland's inability to get the Mayor and City Council on the same page regarding development. Major attempts to revitalize a neighborhood near downtown are met with opposition from factions in City Council who want to "preserve" the "character" of the neighborhood.

Cincinnati has already suffered major setbacks in its attempt to revitalize downtown and Over-the-Rhine. I remember things were looking pretty good until Timothy Thomas was shot and all hell broke loose. That right there set Cincinnati back 10 years. It's not far fetched to think that something else could happen that would blow up the Banks project and any attempts to revitalize Over-the-Rhine. The only way they can ensure that progress continues is by ensuring that the mayor, city council, and county council all work towards the same goal. Are you confident they can do that? Has there been a radical change in local leadership that indicates the dawn of a new era in Cincinnati politics sufficient to encourage people to put aside their skepticism?

Ltlabner
01-20-2007, 08:18 PM
The city for the first time in decades had a positive population gain in the last census.

The banks seems to be under true, progressive management

Fountain Square is being renovaed to give the city center a new image.

Over-the-Rhine is slowly being gentrified and recapturing its past glory.



Population gain?
No big city in America lost a greater percentage of its people during the past five years than Cincinnati, new U.S. Census figures show. Cincinnati lost 6.8 percent of its population from 2000 to 2005, taking Detroit's place as the biggest percentage loser among cities with a population of 100,000 or more June 2006. Link (http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060621/NEWS01/606210361)

The same progessive banks management that thought it was a really good idea to spend a bundle of money to pave the mud pit for a temporary circus? Link (http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2005/12/12/daily58.html) I can't seem to find the exact number, but it was a fair amount IIRC.

Fountain square renovation? They moved the fountain around, put in a TV and repaved the square. Big woopie. I'm sure the droves of people who will flock to the square to see the same fountain that has been moved a few feet woln't mind dodging the bullets to see the big show. How in the world will this do anything to create a revitalized downtown?

OTR recapturing it's past glory? Wow. Check out this link (http://www.citybeat.com/2006-07-05/news.shtml) Or this link (http://www.nationaltrust.org/11most/over-the-rhine.html) I'm not sure, is that the past glory you are refering to?

Cincinnati is in a horrible state. I agree that it's one thing to complain, another to make an effort to improve the situation. My solution is simple. Until the city and county government can deal with the rampant crime and complete lack of anything interesting in the city (short of a few selected locations), I choose to spend my money elsewhere.

WMR
01-20-2007, 09:41 PM
Interesting links, Lt.

I know it isn't a realistic solution, but it looks like the best thing for Over The Rhine would be about a month and 10 bulldozers working 24-7.

The police officers who put their lives on the line working in conditions like that have my utmost respect. How brave are they?

Yachtzee
01-21-2007, 12:20 AM
Interesting links, Lt.

I know it isn't a realistic solution, but it looks like the best thing for Over The Rhine would be about a month and 10 bulldozers working 24-7.

The police officers who put their lives on the line working in conditions like that have my utmost respect. How brave are they?

Actually, how about the city and developers buying out current landlords and simply evict or refuse to renew leases when they come up? Once you start clearing out current tenants, begin selling to those who wish to renovate or develop the properties yourself. The problem with such a plan is that you need enough developers, enough demand, and enough police to keep a lid on crime in the area. You also have to worry about current residents getting wind of the idea. People usually aren't keen to the idea of getting pushed out in favor of gentrification. The Wolsteins have been trying to buy up properties in the Flats in Cleveland for years to build condos and shops to revitalize the area. Once people got wind of what was going on, suddenly there was a push to keep property owners from selling to them.

As far as police officers go, considering how often police officers who work in a major city get fired upon, I have a lot of respect for what they do as well. One officer who was giving a presentation at school had been shot 6 times in the line of duty since joining the force in the '70s. Simply making a routine traffic stop in some areas can put an officer at great risk.

DoogMinAmo
01-21-2007, 01:42 AM
Population gain?

The same progessive banks management that thought it was a really good idea to spend a bundle of money to pave the mud pit for a temporary circus? Link (http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2005/12/12/daily58.html) I can't seem to find the exact number, but it was a fair amount IIRC.

Fountain square renovation? They moved the fountain around, put in a TV and repaved the square. Big woopie. I'm sure the droves of people who will flock to the square to see the same fountain that has been moved a few feet woln't mind dodging the bullets to see the big show. How in the world will this do anything to create a revitalized downtown?

OTR recapturing it's past glory? Wow. Check out this link (http://www.citybeat.com/2006-07-05/news.shtml) Or this link (http://www.nationaltrust.org/11most/over-the-rhine.html) I'm not sure, is that the past glory you are refering to?

Cincinnati is in a horrible state. I agree that it's one thing to complain, another to make an effort to improve the situation. My solution is simple. Until the city and county government can deal with the rampant crime and complete lack of anything interesting in the city (short of a few selected locations), I choose to spend my money elsewhere.

Yes, population gain. http://frontier.cincinnati.com/blogs/gov/2006/10/intern-who-saved-cincinnati.asp

Yes, putting the mud pit to good use, even in the short term, is worthwhile. IIRC, the city still made mone on the whole Cirque de Soleil visit. It is not a sustainable decision, but it was profitable.

Regarding the FS renovation, it is still ongoing. When it is complete, there will be much more to it than just moving the fountain. If you made the trip downtown during the holidays, the new square was THE place to be. The larger rink was packed, and the new tower place restaurants were packed.

Regarding crime downtown, that is something I have no reply to. It does need to get better, for people to feel safer and to improve the image. The only consolation is that when more people live in an area, major crime happens less.

Oh, and about something to do downtown, it will not happen unless people live there. This is not a chicken or egg comment, people need to live there first. Oh, and people ARE moving there. The condo market is booming, and downtwon is one of the hottest local real estate markets.

I must admit LtlAbner, I am not sure what you want from me. Do you want me to concede, and say cincy is hopeless? Do you want me to say things aren't changing for the better? Yes, the crime is an issue that needs addressing, but horrible state it is not.

Oh, and I would be appalled if OTR was dozed, there is not a more beautiful untapped resource architecturally that I have seen. There are developers there now, but it is happening on a very small scale. There are thousands of residences that need to be addressed, and only a few hundred have been. The Banks is supposed to supply the 'new' for downtown, while OTR is the historic anchor. For anyone that wants to dream, visit Russian Hill in San Francisco for what OTR could be.

Yahtzee, what Stark and the Weinsteins are proposing for Cleveland are both controversial and problematic for many reasons. The biggest issue is that they are applying generic suburban solutions for a very specific urban problem.

Development and architecture is an interest and a passion. Unfortunately it requires a sense of optimism as well as factual support. It is definitely not for the weak of heart.

Yachtzee
01-21-2007, 02:36 AM
Yahtzee, what Stark and the Weinsteins are proposing for Cleveland are both controversial and problematic for many reasons. The biggest issue is that they are applying generic suburban solutions for a very specific urban problem.

Development and architecture is an interest and a passion. Unfortunately it requires a sense of optimism as well as factual support. It is definitely not for the weak of heart.

That is true. Maybe it's not the best example, but the push back is similar to the push back I've noticed in other cities when it comes to revitalization efforts. The main complaints always seem to be that big money developers want to push people out and destroy the diversity of the neighborhood. To that I would argue that neighborhoods like Over-the-Rhine aren't necessarily that diverse to begin with and that development, if done right, will actually increase diversity within the neighborhood. I would argue that many of the neighborhoods of Chicago show much more diversity after a decent level of gentrifcation than they had beforehand. And if done properly, it preserves much of the architectual beauty of the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, I get the impression that many people in these neighborhoods don't trust the police (no matter what city you live in) and, while they want neighborhood revitalization, they don't want to have to move and they don't want to pay higher rent. The problem is that you can't have less crime and nicer homes without accepting more police and higher rent.

Caveat Emperor
01-21-2007, 04:22 AM
Unfortunately, I get the impression that many people in these neighborhoods don't trust the police (no matter what city you live in) and, while they want neighborhood revitalization, they don't want to have to move and they don't want to pay higher rent. The problem is that you can't have less crime and nicer homes without accepting more police and higher rent.

"Neighborhood reivtalization" is another phrase that means socioeconomic change in a neighborhood. Out with the low-income, in with the high. Generally that entails large-scale change in order to protect property values (nobody would move into OTR if only 1 street was cleaned up, for example).

So, while the people in neighborhoods like OTR might want revitalization, those people are not the ones that will reap the benefit of such change -- they'll be bought out and evicted to make room for the people that are going to be bringing about the change.

Ltlabner
01-21-2007, 06:55 AM
Yes, population gain. http://frontier.cincinnati.com/blogs/gov/2006/10/intern-who-saved-cincinnati.asp

Yes, putting the mud pit to good use, even in the short term, is worthwhile. IIRC, the city still made mone on the whole Cirque de Soleil visit. It is not a sustainable decision, but it was profitable.

Regarding the FS renovation, it is still ongoing. When it is complete, there will be much more to it than just moving the fountain. If you made the trip downtown during the holidays, the new square was THE place to be. The larger rink was packed, and the new tower place restaurants were packed.

Regarding crime downtown, that is something I have no reply to. It does need to get better, for people to feel safer and to improve the image. The only consolation is that when more people live in an area, major crime happens less.

I must admit LtlAbner, I am not sure what you want from me. Do you want me to concede, and say cincy is hopeless? Do you want me to say things aren't changing for the better? Yes, the crime is an issue that needs addressing, but horrible state it is not.

That's interesting info on the population.

So they made some money on the circus? This does what to keep people comming downtown? At least they made money, that's a nice change from most of their projects. My point was that the city wants to rely on "attractions" that are either "limited use" (circus, musesum, submarine) or nothing different than what can be found in the burbs.

Good to hear the resturants were packed. That is good news indeed. I'm glad people were ice skating. Not sure how that is going to keep people comming downtown in August but at least they had some success.

I don't want anything from you. I was just pointing out that the situation in Cincinnati is not the rosey picture you pointed out. I admire your hopeful nature for the future but people seem to want to avoid the real problems downtown (crime, lack of attractions, anti-small business attitidude) and slap "bandaid" solutions like ice skating rinks, moving fountains and a few condos out on Eastern Avenue.

Highlifeman21
01-21-2007, 07:44 AM
Let's not forget that Cincinnati is in such a great state of affairs that they let the Maisonette close its doors.

Cincinnati is a ghost town, and there's zero reason to go down there for any positive reason. Look at the development of Newport and Covington. People go across the river for their dining and entertainment.

DoogMinAmo
01-21-2007, 12:57 PM
That's interesting info on the population.

So they made some money on the circus? This does what to keep people comming downtown? At least they made money, that's a nice change from most of their projects. My point was that the city wants to rely on "attractions" that are either "limited use" (circus, musesum, submarine) or nothing different than what can be found in the burbs.

Good to hear the resturants were packed. That is good news indeed. I'm glad people were ice skating. Not sure how that is going to keep people comming downtown in August but at least they had some success.

I don't want anything from you. I was just pointing out that the situation in Cincinnati is not the rosey picture you pointed out. I admire your hopeful nature for the future but people seem to want to avoid the real problems downtown (crime, lack of attractions, anti-small business attitidude) and slap "bandaid" solutions like ice skating rinks, moving fountains and a few condos out on Eastern Avenue.


You talk about getting people downtown, and then discount when they are brought there. You talk of wanting attractions, and then claim they are "limited use." The idea is to get people down there first, defeat the stigma of "unsafe" and then they feel more comfortable repeating the visit for other "attractions." Soon, they are more and more comfortable just spending time there. However, Cincinnati has a major crime problem, there is no denying it. It should and will be addressed as population and funding increase. The condo development is much greater than a couple on Easter Ave.

Downtown does desperately need an identity, and the two sports franchises are a good start. Building a neighborhood between the two, where people can go and play before and after, and even more can live and work will only benefit the city. That is why the Banks is so important, I think we agree on that. Success there could spark growth and success to the north (although I wonder how much capping Fort Washington Way will really work in connecting the Banks to the city). OTR is a neighborhood that could give Cincinnati another positive identity, if it is revitalized properly. Having the new on one side and the old on the other with the central business district in between seems like a good oppportunity, with great potential.

I am not trying to paint a purely rosie red picture, I am just saying the "same old Cincinnati f*** up" attitude may no longer apply. Things are changing for the better, even if slowly. They don't happen over night, and the first thing that needs to happen is the dumping of the helpless attitude by its population. The same thing happened with Indy, Columbus, and Louisville. It will happen here.

HighLife, what happened with the Maissonette was a shame. Luken decided that the city's money was no longer best spent on supporting retailers, because they would stay if people (residents) came. Losing a five star restaurant hurt a lot for the image of the city, but why it was lost is a mystery. They claim the riots caused irreparable damage, but you have Jean Robert working wonders and growing amazingly in the same market at the same time. There had been talk of the Comisars' inabilty to run a restaurant, and inability to evolve due to changing demographics and society. Maybe the five star rating hurt it more than it helped? Either way, is it really the city's responsiblity to make sure that a business is running properly and efficiently? Where do you draw the line? How about the corner deli where the office workers grab their lunch, or even the import carpet shop?

CE, while agree almost entire with what you say, the nature of OTR is it can only be done on a small scale, save for what is happening on Vine street by Central Parkway.

Highlifeman21
01-21-2007, 02:18 PM
HighLife, what happened with the Maissonette was a shame. Luken decided that the city's money was no longer best spent on supporting retailers, because they would stay if people (residents) came. Losing a five star restaurant hurt a lot for the image of the city, but why it was lost is a mystery. They claim the riots caused irreparable damage, but you have Jean Robert working wonders and growing amazingly in the same market at the same time. There had been talk of the Comisars' inabilty to run a restaurant, and inability to evolve due to changing demographics and society. Maybe the five star rating hurt it more than it helped? Either way, is it really the city's responsiblity to make sure that a business is running properly and efficiently? Where do you draw the line? How about the corner deli where the office workers grab their lunch, or even the import carpet shop?




Granted, the Comisars' ran Chester's Roadhouse into the ground, but they're doing remarkably well with the Golden Lamb. Is that a Lebanon vs. Cincinnati thing?

I can't, for the life of me, remember if La Normandie is still open, which was also part of their group. I know La Normandie and Maisonette shared a kitchen.

Unfortunately, the only other "signature" restaurant I can think of when I think of Cincinnati is Palomino.

Redfish recently closed, and while wasn't unique to Cincinnati, I thought made Cincinnati unique.

Are there any other "signature" restaurants unique to Cincinnati aside from Palomino and the Jeff Ruby joints?

I think this is a big part to the development and nurturing of Cincinnati if you have nothing to offer your town an identity.

vaticanplum
01-21-2007, 02:33 PM
Are there any other "signature" restaurants unique to Cincinnati aside from Palomino and the Jeff Ruby joints?

The Montgomery Inn. And Skyline :D

The Precinct, too, might fall under that category.

I do believe that La Normandie has closed but I'm not positive. If I recall correctly, there was a very specific reason the Comisars refused to keep the Maisonette going -- ie. people I've heard reference this put the blame squarely on them, not the city -- but I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

Redsland
01-21-2007, 02:34 PM
Granted, the Comisars' ran Chester's Roadhouse into the ground, but they're doing remarkably well with the Golden Lamb.

Are there any other "signature" restaurants unique to Cincinnati aside from Palomino and the Jeff Ruby joints?
The Comisars sold the Golden Lamb last year. All of their other restaurants went out of business. (Nice job, Nate :angry: )

A list Cincinnati's other "signature" restaurants would have to include Pigall's, Boca, The Pheonix, Primavista, The Celestial, Orchids, The Palace, The Waterfront/The Precinct/Jeff Ruby's/Carlo & Johnny/Tropicana, and Daveed's, with Pho Paris, Honey, Aqua, and Nectar among a long list of local treasures.

vaticanplum
01-21-2007, 02:35 PM
The Comisars sold the Golden Lamb last year. All of their other restaurants went out of business. (Nice job, Nate :angry: )

A list Cincinnati's other "signature" restaurants would have to include Pigall's, Boca, The Pheonix, Primavista, The Celestial, Orchids, The Palace, The Waterfront/The Precinct/Jeff Ruby's/Carlo & Johnny/Tropicana, and Daveed's, with Pho Paris, Honey, Aqua, and Nectar among a long list of local treasures.

Redsland clearly leads a more varied cuisinal existence than I do.

Redsland
01-21-2007, 02:44 PM
If I recall correctly, there was a very specific reason the Comisars refused to keep the Maisonette going -- ie. people I've heard reference this put the blame squarely on them, not the city -- but I can't for the life of me remember what it was.
Yeah, Nate Comisar was handed a thriving multi-restaurant business with deep ties to the community and hundreds of loyal customers who gladly paid $12 for soup and who fronted him over a quarter of a million dollars just to keep the doors open, yet somehow Nate Comisar couldn't keep the business afloat. He spent three years trying to talk the city into giving him handouts--on the theory that the city gave them to Convergys, and after all, Nate only emplyed about 30,000 fewer people, so what's the problem?--and when that failed, he spent two more years looking for places to move Maisonette and La Normandie to. His solution: take them to Silverton, far away from any hotels or convention centers, and where he couldn't afford the property he wanted and couldn't get building permits approved for the construction he needed.

The guy was a stone cold idiot.

Redsland
01-21-2007, 02:51 PM
The Montgomery Inn. And Skyline
In terms of restaurants visitors simply have to try when they visit, those two certainly apply. (Not that I'd say either has much in common with Maisonette, which is how the conversation got here.) :beerme:

Chip R
01-21-2007, 03:07 PM
The Montgomery Inn. And Skyline :D

The Precinct, too, might fall under that category.

I do believe that La Normandie has closed but I'm not positive. If I recall correctly, there was a very specific reason the Comisars refused to keep the Maisonette going -- ie. people I've heard reference this put the blame squarely on them, not the city -- but I can't for the life of me remember what it was.


The Precinct is another Jeff Ruby place.

I thought they were going to build a new Maisonette in Montgomery. I saw plans and everything and then all of a sudden, they said they were closing and not moving to Montgomery at all. So who knows?

I don't know if streetcars are going to revitalize downtown Cincinnati. I don't know if the Banks will do it either and it may be more of a drawback to downtown since it's on the river and that takes people away from downtown. I'm not sure how the new Fountain Square is going to be something that is going to make people want to come downtown. Yeah, it was busy during X-Mas but how has it been doing since then? I think people have to have a reason to go downtown for more than just the Bengals or the Reds or a nice restaurant. All those things are great but you can't rely on them. The Reds are only here 81 times a year and about 10 of them are on Sunday afternoons. Most every Bengals game is on Sunday afternoon. It has to be more than that.

WMR
01-21-2007, 03:49 PM
Yeah, Nate Comisar was handed a thriving multi-restaurant business with deep ties to the community and hundreds of loyal customers who gladly paid $12 for soup and who fronted him over a quarter of a million dollars just to keep the doors open, yet somehow Nate Comisar couldn't keep the business afloat. He spent three years trying to talk the city into giving him handouts--on the theory that the city gave them to Convergys, and after all, Nate only emplyed about 30,000 fewer people, so what's the problem?--and when that failed, he spent two more years looking for places to move Maisonette and La Normandie to. His solution: take them to Silverton, far away from any hotels or convention centers, and where he couldn't afford the property he wanted and couldn't get building permits approved for the construction he needed.

The guy was a stone cold idiot.

Did he inherit the restaurant from his parents or something?

Ltlabner
01-21-2007, 05:56 PM
You talk about getting people downtown, and then discount when they are brought there. You talk of wanting attractions, and then claim they are "limited use." The idea is to get people down there first, defeat the stigma of "unsafe" and then they feel more comfortable repeating the visit for other "attractions." Soon, they are more and more comfortable just spending time there. However, Cincinnati has a major crime problem, there is no denying it. It should and will be addressed as population and funding increase. The condo development is much greater than a couple on Easter Ave.

Downtown does desperately need an identity, and the two sports franchises are a good start. Building a neighborhood between the two, where people can go and play before and after, and even more can live and work will only benefit the city. That is why the Banks is so important, I think we agree on that.

When I talk about having a reason to go downtown I mean a reason that would draw people, and continue to re-draw them to the area. Yes, people came down to ice skate. If they don't ever come downtown again then what good was it, unless you have a constant stream of one-shot sort of activities. The ONLY reason to go downtown is to do something different than what is available 20 minutes down the road....why else would you make the journey and dodge the bullets?

What downtown needs, IMO, is/are attactions that are different than what can be found in other areas, especially the suburbs. Don't put a department store downtown that is exactly the same as every other mall in the area. Get an IKEA or something out of the ordinary that can't be found locally. Resturants, big stores, different little shops, gathering areas/squares, maybe some tourist spots should be the cornerstone of an effort to attract repeat business. Then you can mix in the "one shot" attractions like festivals, circus, ice skating, etc.

I don't think one trip downtown to ice skate will undue the stigma of riots and a record setting year for murders in peoples minds.

Without different attractions that would draw repeat customers and dealing with the crime issues you will never see a significant increase in the amount of people spending money in the downtown general area.

Yachtzee
01-21-2007, 06:12 PM
Well, IKEAs usually don't go downtown. They're a big box store that likes the suburbs. At least that's my impression from Chicago and Pittsburgh. I think that if you could build up at least a portion of OTR as a bohemian enclave with shops, restaurants, local theater and the like would help. The Banks project should probably be designed around encouraging people coming down for games to come early and leave late. From April to January they have some sport going on down there. I like the idea of making it similar to Eutaw St. in Baltimore, encouraging foot traffic between the stadiums.

Also, something like an interactive science museum or planeterium might be nice for the families. As interesting as the Underground Railroad museum sounds, it's likely a place I'd go once and be done with it. A cool science museum would probably bring families down again and again. Downtown malls are nice, but only as part of a larger development and not as a destination in and of themselves. Another idea might be to talk to Kings Island to see if they would be interested in building a kind of outlet in a park near downtown. Maybe a rollercoaster and a few other rides to use as advertising for the mothership out in Mason.

DoogMinAmo
01-21-2007, 07:46 PM
Well, IKEAs usually don't go downtown. They're a big box store that likes the suburbs. At least that's my impression from Chicago and Pittsburgh. I think that if you could build up at least a portion of OTR as a bohemian enclave with shops, restaurants, local theater and the like would help. The Banks project should probably be designed around encouraging people coming down for games to come early and leave late. From April to January they have some sport going on down there. I like the idea of making it similar to Eutaw St. in Baltimore, encouraging foot traffic between the stadiums.

Also, something like an interactive science museum or planeterium might be nice for the families. As interesting as the Underground Railroad museum sounds, it's likely a place I'd go once and be done with it. A cool science museum would probably bring families down again and again. Downtown malls are nice, but only as part of a larger development and not as a destination in and of themselves. Another idea might be to talk to Kings Island to see if they would be interested in building a kind of outlet in a park near downtown. Maybe a rollercoaster and a few other rides to use as advertising for the mothership out in Mason.

Yachtzee, those are all VERY good ideas. I have also thought a COSI type experience would work well downtown, not to mention moving the Cincinnati history museum from Union Terminal to the river, where it belongs. It could be teamed with a steamboat museum.

Another thing that would seriously help the city is the recreation of a brewery district. Have a street where there are nothing but microbreweries wiht small pubs that patrons can hop to and from and try different tastes. If Cincinnati's heritage is truly German, embrace it. Government subsidize it if necessary.

It would also be cool if Central Parkway could be partially (maybe just the center median?)turned back into a canal, offering Gondola rides from Music Hall to Main Street, or even better Fountain Square. This along with the horse carriages would lend a romantic flair to the city and could attract tourists.

Lastly, the streetcars and earlier mentioned inclines would also be a great fit for the renaissance of the city.

vaticanplum
01-21-2007, 08:19 PM
It would also be cool if Central Parkway could be partially (maybe just the center median?)turned back into a canal, offering Gondola rides from Music Hall to Main Street, or even better Fountain Square. This along with the horse carriages would lend a romantic flair to the city and could attract tourists.

Refer to another thread somewhere around here -- Central Parkway has that subway tunnel holding it up :) I don't think much can happen in terms of taking those tunnels out unless they revamp the whole water system.

The rest are fun ideas, though.

paintmered
01-21-2007, 08:54 PM
The Precinct is another Jeff Ruby place.

I thought they were going to build a new Maisonette in Montgomery. I saw plans and everything and then all of a sudden, they said they were closing and not moving to Montgomery at all. So who knows?

I don't know if streetcars are going to revitalize downtown Cincinnati. I don't know if the Banks will do it either and it may be more of a drawback to downtown since it's on the river and that takes people away from downtown. I'm not sure how the new Fountain Square is going to be something that is going to make people want to come downtown. Yeah, it was busy during X-Mas but how has it been doing since then? I think people have to have a reason to go downtown for more than just the Bengals or the Reds or a nice restaurant. All those things are great but you can't rely on them. The Reds are only here 81 times a year and about 10 of them are on Sunday afternoons. Most every Bengals game is on Sunday afternoon. It has to be more than that.

I went ice skating on fountain square this past weekend and it was packed. I don't know how busy it was over Christmas so I can't really compare the numbers.

No doubt 98% of who were there parked in the garage below Fountain Square and drove home upon leaving the square (including me). I think this is the bigger problem that needs to be addressed. The same thing happens for Reds and Bengals games too. There are reasons for people to go downtown, but there are no secondary attractions for people to stay downtown.

WMR
01-21-2007, 09:00 PM
I think the comparisons to San Francisco COULD be "do-able."

How awesome would that be?

Redsland
01-21-2007, 09:49 PM
Did he inherit the restaurant from his parents or something?
He and his cousin Michael bought out Nate's father six or seven years ago. Nate bought out Michael two or three years after that to become the managing owner. Then he poured gasoliine over everything asked every well-heeled Cincinnatian if he could borrow a thousand dollars and a match.

Highlifeman21
01-21-2007, 10:23 PM
Well, IKEAs usually don't go downtown. They're a big box store that likes the suburbs. At least that's my impression from Chicago and Pittsburgh. I think that if you could build up at least a portion of OTR as a bohemian enclave with shops, restaurants, local theater and the like would help. The Banks project should probably be designed around encouraging people coming down for games to come early and leave late. From April to January they have some sport going on down there. I like the idea of making it similar to Eutaw St. in Baltimore, encouraging foot traffic between the stadiums.

Also, something like an interactive science museum or planeterium might be nice for the families. As interesting as the Underground Railroad museum sounds, it's likely a place I'd go once and be done with it. A cool science museum would probably bring families down again and again. Downtown malls are nice, but only as part of a larger development and not as a destination in and of themselves. Another idea might be to talk to Kings Island to see if they would be interested in building a kind of outlet in a park near downtown. Maybe a rollercoaster and a few other rides to use as advertising for the mothership out in Mason.


There's an IKEA in South Philly, and not exactly what I would call a model neighborhood.

If they build a science museum down in The Banks, what happens to Union Terminal?

I think Cincinnati just has to embrace being at best a 2nd tier city, and work with what it has and strive for bigger and better things. Set more realistic goals. Get the crime under control. Get the City government and the County government to actually work with each other.

One thing that worked for the redevelopment of downtown Philly was a 10 year Tax abatement. Now THAT'S forward thinking, something that would be lost on SW OH politicians.

westofyou
01-21-2007, 10:29 PM
Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
The Precinct is another Jeff Ruby place.

I thought they were going to build a new Maisonette in Montgomery. I saw plans and everything and then all of a sudden, they said they were closing and not moving to Montgomery at all. So who knows?

I know a guy in the the restaurant supply business in town and he said the Maisonette went up the owners nose... that's what happened.

westofyou
01-21-2007, 10:35 PM
Portland really revitalized their downtown about 10 years ago.

Cincinnati could do it too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_District,_Portland,_Oregon



The Pearl District is a former warehouse and light industrial area just north of downtown Portland, Oregon. Its boundaries are W Burnside St., to the south; NW Broadway, to the east; the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks, to the north; and the Interstate 405 Freeway, to the west. The Pearl has undergone significant development since the late 1990s and is now full of high-rise condominiums and warehouse-to-loft conversions.

In the late 1980s, an elevated highway ramp that ran along NW Lovejoy St. from the Lovejoy bridge past NW 10th Ave. was demolished, opening dozens of surrounding blocks (including some brownfield sites) for development, which peaked in the 2000s. The increasing density has attracted a mix of restaurants, brewpubs, shops, and art galleries, though in some cases pioneering tenants have been priced out of the area.

KronoRed
01-21-2007, 10:57 PM
Decking over FWW and putting something there that people could actually walk across would be a nice touch, stop letting the downtown area in two.

Doc. Scott
01-21-2007, 11:55 PM
Portland really revitalized their downtown about 10 years ago.

Cincinnati could do it too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_District,_Portland,_Oregon

Or concrete yuppie hell, depending on who you ask. $9 martinis, $50 hair salons, $100 workout wear and dog spas abound. It's $250,000 to own a 500 square foot studio apartment (luckily there are a few rent-controlled areas).

But I suppose it's better than abandoned warehouses. And safer. And more lucrative for somebody. And that streetcar goes right through it, which is cool.

The thing is this: Portland has a half-dozen other areas you can go to, near downtown and not, for entertainment and the like- and they're all different and attract different crowds.

That has never really been true in Cincinnati, sad to say.

vaticanplum
01-22-2007, 12:05 AM
Or concrete yuppie hell, depending on who you ask. $9 martinis, $50 hair salons, $100 workout wear and dog spas abound. It's $250,000 to own a 500 square foot studio apartment (luckily there are a few rent-controlled areas).

But I suppose it's better than abandoned warehouses. And safer. And more lucrative for somebody. And that streetcar goes right through it, which is cool.

Really? I always thought of Portland as granola and patchouli -- and, rather antithetical to granola and patchouli, good music. But in any case certainly a place averse to expensive martinis and workout wear.

DoogMinAmo
01-22-2007, 12:27 AM
Refer to another thread somewhere around here -- Central Parkway has that subway tunnel holding it up :) I don't think much can happen in terms of taking those tunnels out unless they revamp the whole water system.

The rest are fun ideas, though.

I wonder how far below ground the stations/ tunnels occur? I would imagine that you would not need more than a couple feet for a gondola canal. I am picturing a covered stream down the street (traffic would have to be reduced to pull this off), with a narrow green belt on both sides. It may be logistically impossible, but it is an idea to give Cincinnati a unique identity.

This discussion has been fun, but I can also see how others are frustrated or scared. Still, it would be nice to be doers and not just talkers. Remember how excited you were at the thought of owning that building downtown VP? I get that excited as well, I admit, and if others can get the same fever, then change happens.

DoogMinAmo
01-22-2007, 12:30 AM
Really? I always thought of Portland as granola and patchouli -- and, rather antithetical to granola and patchouli, good music. But in any case certainly a place averse to expensive martinis and workout wear.

Gentrification knows no bounds.

Roy Tucker
01-22-2007, 08:31 AM
http://borgman.enquirer.com/img/daily/2007/01/012107_borgman_380x243.jpg

westofyou
01-22-2007, 09:40 AM
Really? I always thought of Portland as granola and patchouli -- and, rather antithetical to granola and patchouli, good music. But in any case certainly a place averse to expensive martinis and workout wear.

There are more hipsters and techies then hippies here... though they left their head shops and natural food stores for us.


Or concrete yuppie hell, depending on who you ask. $9 martinis, $50 hair salons, $100 workout wear and dog spas abound. It's $250,000 to own a 500 square foot studio apartment (luckily there are a few rent-controlled areas).

Old Town used to be like OTR and the Pearl as well, while I'm not a fan of rampant consumerism, I like the Pearl better now then 6 years ago, like I like the Mission District in SF more now then 15 years ago. The charm of urine scented alleys and run down taverns is what made PDX a cracker town that scared almost everyone of color and gave the city that lovely heroin chic atmosphere that is slowly fading away. I for one am glad.... and I don't drink martinis or wear $100 workout wear.;)

Ltlabner
01-22-2007, 10:21 AM
The more I think about it, the streetcar idea might not be 1/2 bad if it weren't framed as some sort of cornerstone part of a downtown revitalization. If the local goverenments had a comprehesive plan to overhaul downtown and some of the major pieces of that were in place the street-cars might be a nice touch to give the area some charicter.

The problem is they try to bill it as a cornerstone of rebuilding and it/they are just not an "attraction" in and of themselves. Mix in the crime and the local government chaos and I think that's why most people roll their eyes when they hear "trollys in OTR" as the key to a reborn city.

paintmered
04-27-2007, 10:53 AM
A semi-final proposed route is complete. There's a link to a .pdf of the proposed route.

http://citybeat.wordpress.com/2007/04/23/new-streetcar-route/

It would cost about $100mil and the route is around 4.5 miles in length.

Caveat Emperor
04-27-2007, 12:29 PM
It would cost about $100mil and the route is around 4.5 miles in length.

Which calculates out to roughly $350 per inch of track laid down. :help:

KronoRed
04-27-2007, 12:56 PM
Which calculates out to roughly $350 per inch of track laid down. :help:

..and that calculates into "never ever ever going to happen in this city" ;)

paintmered
04-27-2007, 01:44 PM
..and that calculates into "never ever ever going to happen in this city" ;)

It also calculated into $2.24 billion in economic development in Portland and a 28-1 return/investment ratio.

KronoRed
04-27-2007, 01:48 PM
It also calculated into $2.24 billion in economic development in Portland and a 28-1 return/investment ratio.

That's forward thinking, I'll believe it when I see it from Cincinnati.

Redlegs23
04-27-2007, 01:52 PM
Overall, $2.28 billion in new development has occurred within a two-block radius of Portlandís streetcar system since it opened.

This part of the CityBeat article caught my attention. 100 million doesn't seem like so much when you look at the potential in development. Granted, I'm sure not all of the 2.28 billion of development is directly related to the streetcars, but if it spurred just a fraction of what it did in Portland it would look like a worthwhile venture.

paintmered
04-27-2007, 01:56 PM
Overall, $2.28 billion in new development has occurred within a two-block radius of Portland’s streetcar system since it opened.

This part of the CityBeat article caught my attention. 100 million doesn't seem like so much when you look at the potential in development. Granted, I'm sure not all of the 2.28 billion of development is directly related to the streetcars, but if it spurred just a fraction of what it did in Portland it would look like a worthwhile venture.

Yep. For comparison, consider that the Banks is only a $600 million project. Portland has seen four times that development within a two-block radius of their streetcar line this decade.

From what little I've read on this, the city is very gung-ho on the idea. It's the county (i.e. Todd Portune) that is trying to scuttle it.

westofyou
04-27-2007, 01:59 PM
Overall, $2.28 billion in new development has occurred within a two-block radius of Portlandís streetcar system since it opened.

This part of the CityBeat article caught my attention. 100 million doesn't seem like so much when you look at the potential in development. Granted, I'm sure not all of the 2.28 billion of development is directly related to the streetcars, but if it spurred just a fraction of what it did in Portland it would look like a worthwhile venture.

We however use our downtown here. Plus the influx of new folks are generally progressives who live within the city limits.

pedro
04-27-2007, 02:02 PM
Our streetcars are free within the "down town" zone too.

paintmered
04-27-2007, 02:03 PM
Plus the influx of new folks are generally progressives who live within the city limits.

True. But I think with all the condo developments currently going in downtown and around the river, that is starting to change. The downtown population in Cincinnati has grown 42% since 2000.

Chip R
04-27-2007, 02:15 PM
I can't wait to have that streetcar take me down to the Banks. Of course, I'll probably be dead from old age by then.

TeamBoone
04-27-2007, 02:26 PM
Many of the streetcar tracks are still intact, especially in Over-The-Rhine.

I saw two of them 'on wheels' go by the convention center when we were at RedsFest.

Caveat Emperor
04-27-2007, 03:24 PM
True. But I think with all the condo developments currently going in downtown and around the river, that is starting to change. The downtown population in Cincinnati has grown 42% since 2000.

And with increased congestion in the suburbs as well as escalating transportation costs associated with commuting, living close to downtown and within the city itself is only going to become a more popular proposition as the years go by.

Sea Ray
04-27-2007, 03:54 PM
And with increased congestion in the suburbs as well as escalating transportation costs associated with commuting, living close to downtown and within the city itself is only going to become a more popular proposition as the years go by.

Only if they get a handle on crime. Right now it's not worth it.

KronoRed
04-27-2007, 05:20 PM
Would be dirt cheap to expand this plan over the rover if it ever gets built, the purple bridge is just waiting for it, so no cost of a new bridge :D

zombielady
04-27-2007, 08:18 PM
You know, we shouldn't even be having this conversation... I recall, as a kid, being promised a jet pack in 2000... well, here it is 2007, and I still don't have it... I want my freakin' jet pack! :angry:

paintmered
05-09-2007, 09:33 AM
Portune talks about rail plans

If Todd Portune gets his way, there will be several changes in the way citizens in and around Hamilton County use public transit.

At a Hamilton County Democratic forum Tuesday, Portune said a "major announcement" was about 30 days away.

Then he saw me in the crowd and said he couldn't talk about it more.

Later, though, he offered a few tantalizing details.

He showed off plans in his office that include using existing railroad lines that could be used for commuter rail service, starting at the now-unused intermodal transit center beneath the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

The route would reach out to Hamilton County's eastern communities, all the way to Milford, Portune said, and include a spur to Xavier University.

The train would be pulled by a diesel engine that is quiet and environmentally friendly, he said.

Portune said he had "high-level" discussions Friday with state officials, City Council Member Chris Bortz and Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber President Ellen Van der Horst.

He said extensive public studies and input that looked into transportation needs for the Eastern Corridor - loosely defined as Columbia Parkway to Interstate 71 - called for that type of solution. He thinks it could be ready by 2009 or 2010.

"We are on track to recommend a decision at the meeting of the county transportation improvement district June 25," he said.

On top of that, Portune said he would be reaching out to officials in Montgomery County - home to Dayton - to explore the possibility of a high-speed train between the two cities. That could help create a super-region that could become a big draw for desirable employers.

"We should really be talking to them not only about highway enhancements, but we've got to be talking about a high-speed rail connection, linking those two metro regions together," he said. "We are a powerful block when it comes to new business."

Last week, Portune met with Lamont Taylor, chairman of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority - or SORTA - board, operators of the Metro bus system. At the meeting was Bortz, as well as fellow Council Members John Cranley, David Crowley and Jeff Berding. They talked about creating a more regional transit board.

"Nothing is concrete yet," Taylor said. "What we are doing is actually becoming a regional transit authority. We're not a regional transit authority."

Currently, by contract, about 80 percent of bus service has to run in the city, whose payroll tax funds about 90 percent of the service. That has to change to make public transit more effective for the region.

Joe Wessels covers Cincinnati and Hamilton County government for The Post. Write to him at jwessels@cincypost.com or call (513) 352-2703.

I give it a snowball's chance of actually happening, but high speed rail service between Dayton and Cincinnati would pretty much be a dream come true for me. Glad to see they are at least thinking big and creatively this time around.

zombie-a-go-go
05-09-2007, 09:44 AM
I give it a snowball's chance of actually happening, but high speed rail service between Dayton and Cincinnati would pretty much be a dream come true for me. Glad to see they are at least thinking big and creatively this time around.

Announcement on June 25th?

We should be hitting $3.50-$3.75/g gasoline around then... five'll get you ten that public opinion will be firmly behind Portune on this if the commission can somehow break the "only the plebes ride mass transit" stigma.

I'd like to see Cincinnati get out in front of this - as peak oil looms ever-closer and the pride of crude keeps rising on the commodities market, mass transit is going to become a lot more attractive to a lot more people. Communities should be doing this anyway as a way to ease traffic congestion and lower pollution, but I'll take it any way I can get it.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that, when this happens, they partner up with Covington too. :)

KronoRed
05-09-2007, 10:18 AM
I give it a snowball's chance of actually happening, but high speed rail service between Dayton and Cincinnati would pretty much be a dream come true for me. Glad to see they are at least thinking big and creatively this time around.

High speed rail between Dayton and Cincinnati is a MUST if they ever want the 2 to combine into a mertroplex, depending on I-75 is insane.

Ltlabner
05-09-2007, 11:17 AM
I give it a snowball's chance of actually happening, but high speed rail service between Dayton and Cincinnati would pretty much be a dream come true for me. Glad to see they are at least thinking big and creatively this time around.

In addition to the environmental concerns, that could be a real boom for Cincy employers. The Dayton employment market has been crushed by the closing of the Delphi plants (was it 4 or 5 of them) and the closing of other large auto plants over time.

If there were a way for those workers to easily commute to Cincy for work, but not have to incur the expense of actually moving down here, it might be a win/win for all.

Of course, by the time a rail line is up and running, most of those folks will be employed elsewhere or moved to a different location.

paintmered
05-09-2007, 12:16 PM
In addition to the environmental concerns, that could be a real boom for Cincy employers. The Dayton employment market has been crushed by the closing of the Delphi plants (was it 4 or 5 of them) and the closing of other large auto plants over time.

If there were a way for those workers to easily commute to Cincy for work, but not have to incur the expense of actually moving down here, it might be a win/win for all.

Of course, by the time a rail line is up and running, most of those folks will be employed elsewhere or moved to a different location.

I have the opposite problem. I'll be working full-time in the Dayton area but want to live as close to Cincy as feasible. Right now that extends only to the Springboro area. Even that is feasible only because I will be able to carpool with two other friends/classmates/co-workers.

Caveat Emperor
05-09-2007, 01:57 PM
He said extensive public studies and input that looked into transportation needs for the Eastern Corridor - loosely defined as Columbia Parkway to Interstate 71 - called for that type of solution. He thinks it could be ready by 2009 or 2010.

They're making the SAME mistake this go around that they did with the last public transportation initiative -- lack of any attention focused on the west side of town. If all the money is being poured into light rail out to places like Milford, Deerfield, and a high speed train to Dayton, what is the incentive for someone in Harrison or Westwood to vote for this?

Last time around the plan they had for mass transit included only token improvements for the West Side. Good reason for that too -- the majority of the growth in this town in to the North and to the East. However, you get everyone west of Kenwood asking "What's in this for me?" and suddenly find yourself on the losing end of a ballot initiative.

Having said that, I'd love nothing more than to be able to take a train into town every day. As someone who did the DC Metro run from VA to Union Station every morning in high school, I can say there's nothing quite like being able to completely zone out on the ride in.

TeamBoone
05-09-2007, 03:13 PM
Well, right now there's not much on the east side, believe me! You can catch a bus from Milford/Terrace Park/Madeira to dowtown M thru F, so if you work there, that's great. Most routes to downtown by bus do not run on the weekend, and if they do, there's one in the AM and one in the PM

And there's absolutely NOTHING that runs east to west if you live on the north side of Cincinnati. They beg people to use public transportation and to carpool. It's tough to carpool when there's no one around that works in the same place or even close to where you work... plus, if you often work late like I did, it's also a hindrance.

I live in Miami Township (western edge of northern Clarmont County, just off Wards Corner exit)... I worked in Mason at the newest P&G facility located there. No buses run there from here to there (or even close from where I live), or from any other northern suburbs that I know of.

There just are no buses in the northern suburbs that run locally; they only run downtown and to the places inbetween.

They need a good (or just half-way decent) public transportation system in places outside the city. I know if one existed, I'd have used it!

DoogMinAmo
05-10-2007, 08:35 PM
Seems like a trial run...

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070510/BIZ01/305100045/1076/BIZ

New summer trolley coming downtown
BY JOHN ECKBERG | JECKBERG@ENQUIRER.COM
E-mail | Print | digg us! | del.icio.us!


Downtown Cincinnati is in line for a new trolley that will operate each Friday during the summer.

Two Round Town trolleys will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays from June 1 to Aug. 31 courtesy of the Procter & Gamble Co. and the Regional Tourism Network.

“The whole idea of the trolley is to build on success of the trolleys we ran over the holidays. We found that ridership kept increasing and it was great for people to hop on and hop off. The point is to connect downtown office workers to programming at the square and to encourage people to get outside of their one-block normal routine,” said Emily Johnson, associate vice president marketing and communications for Downtown Cincinnati Inc., a non-profit group charged with promoting downtown Cincinnati.


Starting at Fountain Square, the trolley buses will run along Fifth Street to the Taft Museum, west on Fourth Street, then to Elm, back to Fifth, east to Vine and north to Central Parkway, east to Sycamore Street, south and back east on Fifth to continue the loop.

The trolley will stop at existing bus stops along the route.

Meanwhile, two new events will be held during May on Fountain Square.

Macy’s plans to bring 2004 American Idol contestant Diana DeGarmo, a preview of fashions from the University of Cincinnati’s Design, Architecture, Art and Planning and several entertainers to Fountain Square on May 19.

“Macy’s Fashion on the Square will be an exciting showcase,” said Bill Donabedian, Cincinnati Center City Development Corp’s. managing director for the square. “It will be one of the most inspiring fashion events Cincinnati has ever hosted.”

The event, which also features singers Justin and Tasha Golden and the Hip Hop Kidz begins at 6 p.m. with DeGarmo and the Hip Hop Kidz to perform at 8 p.m.
DeGarmo can be heard on the song “Reachin’ for Heaven” on the Disney soundtrack to “ice Princess.”

The square also will be the site May 24 for an attempt at the world’s largest Mento fountain.

About 500 people are expected to put on rain parkas, then simultaneously load the candy – made by Perfetti Van Melle USA, headquartered in Erlanger – into individual bottles of soft drinks to create a chemical reaction that leads to gushing liquid.

paintmered
05-10-2007, 10:07 PM
Dear Cincinnati,

Trolley buses are not trolleys. Please stop calling them that.

Regards,
paint

KronoRed
05-11-2007, 09:12 PM
Hmm...more buses

paintmered
06-05-2007, 06:20 PM
A few updates:


CINCINNATI -- If backers have their way, streetcars could appear on Cincinnati streets within the next five years.
The city is looking at a system similar to one installed in Tampa, Fla., where it's brought $1.1 billion into Tampa's coffers.
"This is not about determining whether the city can afford this investment. The question is, can we afford not to take this incredible opportunity to unlock the potential of our city?" City Councilman Chris Bortz said.

The proposed system would cost just short of $90 million to create 3.9 miles of track, buy six streetcars and build a maintanence facility.
The streetcar route would run between Great American Ballpark and Over-the-Rhine.
If all goes according to plan, people may be able to hit the rails by 2012.


The presentation that was given to city council: http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/city/downloads/city_pdf16341.pdf


Coucilman Chris Bortz and City Architect Michael Moore did a great presentation on this topic on the Sunday edition of Channel 12 Newsmakers. Bortz said pretty much the mood on Council was "can we afford not to do this/why wouldn't we do it".

KronoRed
06-05-2007, 06:36 PM
What's wrong with me that I just read the entire 36 page document?

Interesting that the 2 phases don't include a track running near PBS.

Redsland
06-06-2007, 12:57 PM
In other news, the funding for The Banks fell through yesterday.

Told ya. :mooner:

paintmered
06-06-2007, 01:01 PM
In other news, the funding for The Banks fell through yesterday.

Told ya. :mooner:

Apparently AIG didn't want to deal with the city/county squabbling either.

Chip R
06-06-2007, 01:18 PM
In other news, the funding for The Banks fell through yesterday.

Told ya. :mooner:


Shocking.

KronoRed
06-06-2007, 01:24 PM
So in 6 months we'll again have a press conference about a "new" banks plan, and we start over.

WOo.!

Chip R
06-06-2007, 01:28 PM
So in 6 months we'll again have a press conference about a "new" banks plan, and we start over.

WOo.!


How can they start over when they really haven't started yet? :dunno:

paintmered
06-06-2007, 01:41 PM
More stuff:


Cincinnati Streetcar: Laying the tracks for connecting communities and people
BY JESSICA NOLL | DOWNTOWNER
June 5, 2007

DOWNTOWN - Imagine a shorter version of a train on the street that stops at the stop signs, goes on green and is a smooth ride. Now that you have officially envisioned a Portland streetcar, imagine Main Street being a 5 10 minute ride to Findlay Market. Now, you have thought about the Cincinnati streetcar, as many in support of the streetcar initiative think about, every day.

A goal that would transfer and circulate commuters from Main Street outside of the Great American Ball Park to 12th and Elm; to McMicken and Race; to Central Parkway and Walnut; to the Banks; and ending at the Great American Ball Park, the Cincinnati streetcar is a dream and theory in progress by City officials, consultants and like-minded citizens.

"In Cincinnati, public transportation is a last resort," says John Schneider, chairman of the Alliance for Regional Transit. "But in Portland, [Ore.] it's a way of life."

Portland's streetcar motto is: "Connecting neighborhoods, building community" and that is exactly what it does every day in the City of Roses.

Young, old, children, elderly, college students, business men, everyone seems to ride the streetcars in Portland. And why not they are clean, safe and get you from one side of town to the other with ease. It stops about every other block along a path that leads from the inner circle of the City to the outer circle, to the river and waterfront, as well as to trendy shopping districts and neighborhoods.
Areas of the city now intertwined with the streetcar system include Northwest Portland, Downtown, Portland State, Riverplace, South Waterfront and the Pearl District.

Neighborhoods like the Pearl District didn't exist until the streetcars were passed by its city government in Portland and implemented in 2001.

The Pearl District is now one of the most happening places to be in Portland. From its lively theater scene with Portland Center Stage Gerding Theater to its famous Powell's City of Books store, the Pearl District flourished with the laying of the streetcar tracks.

"[The streetcar] changed the quality of the neighborhood it doesn't dominate environment," says Michael Powell, CEO of Powell's City of Books, who was also the chairman of the streetcar board. Before the streetcars came to the Pearl District, Powell's was the only retailer in town (within the Pearl District) and now there are nearly 200 businesses, with a mix of bars and restaurants as well as retailers.

"There was hardly anything around here before the streetcars," says Annette Kemmling, a five-year Pearl District resident and shopper.

Retailers in the Pearl District/NW 23rd circle, like Bella Moda Designs Imported Shoes, have embraced the streetcar since their store opening in 2003. Owner Catherine Cooper says that the streetcars have been a good thing right from the beginning for her.

"I have four large picture windows to show my shoes, so when the streetcar sometimes stops in front of the shop, we can see the ladies looking in," says Cooper.

And Cooper's assistant manager Jen Baggett agrees.

"A lot of people use the streetcar at 23rd and go around the circle it forms a nice shopping direction," says Baggett, 21, who also says that she sees a lot of foot traffic, from the streetcar into the store.

Foot traffic was part of the goal in mind. The plan was not to build a transportation unit, however, it was to build a developmental plan, says Powell.

"We needed density to support the infrastructure the commercial development [then] mirrored streetcar development."

But the streetcar in Portland wasn't built in a day. The plan for a "people circulator" was first brought to the table in the 1970s. With that idea, the city created a vintage trolley system in the '80s. And with the trolleys, the city began to envision small trains, and how they could benefit city-dwellers and visitors alike.

When the streetcars took to the tracks July 20, 2001, the city began to implement their plans for Phase II and they have been extending tracks ever since. In fact, their newest extension, the Lowell streetcar, in their South Waterfront District, is scheduled to open to riders at the end of the summer this year.

The biggest obstacle to overcome is getting the first track planted, says Charles Hales, Portland consultant with HDR the company that has brought Cincinnati statistics, scenarios and ideas for its own streetcar initiative.

"We did it [in Portland] one block at a time," says Hales. "We didn't plan on renovating the entire city all at once."

The most important thing is to build the first piece start something, he says.

An area of Portland just west of the Pearl District, Northwest or NW 23rd, was already full of shops, cafs, the Linfield College and the Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital. The neighborhood was already an established, well-frequented area of Portland, says Schneider, who has taken several groups to Portland for streetcar and city tours. It just wanted to bring in assistance with its parking situation and more people into the neighborhood.

The streetcar has since assisted in the reduction of conflict with parking as well as brought more shoppers to the district from other parts of the city.

Much like Over-the-Rhine and Downtown's central business district, NW 23rd has a lot of entrepreneurships up and down the main shopping area that spans nearly five blocks. And with the ease of the streetcar system, shoppers, diners and workers are dropped off at the doorstep of their destination.

"It's great. I use it all the time," says Carol Smith-Larson, who got rid of her car four years ago. "It is the green, urban transit way to live."
Areas in Cincinnati that could take note of the tremendous upswing in community presence in Portland are those like Over-the-Rhine the City's own hidden treasure of architecture, arts and businesses.

"A redesign of the Over-the-Rhine would support our purpose of supporting the people in the community," says Joan Kaup, vice president of business development for Iacono Productions, who attended the recent trip to Portland, to tour and better understand the streetcars. Boutiques and stores moving to Over-the-Rhine would make it more like the NW 23rd District in Portland, she says.

Businesses aren't the only things sprouting up in Portland. Residential growth has hit an all-time high, especially in prior-to-streetcar no-name areas like the Pearl District.

Every place you turn in the northern district there are apartments and condominiums like Sitka with signs that read "now leasing" and adjacent to those are condos that are currently being built like The Wyatt. All offer spectacular views and amenities, when just a few years ago, the only things that these locations could offer were old, some-abandoned warehouses and rail yard debris. But now, along side the development of the streetcar "loop" going through the Pearl District, residential units and businesses alike are taking shape and offering a unique living experience in the heart of Portland nearly 7,000 new living units in Portland since the streetcars.

But what is a streetcar?

"It's better than taking a cab," says Sandy Carter, a retired auctioneer who recently moved back to Portland from Washington, D.C. "There is just something very classy about getting on a streetcar and going to the antique district."

Streetcars are not to be confused with trains or a light-rail system or trolleys. Streetcars are powered by a single electrical line above and tracks below, but are accelerated and stopped manually by a driver of the car. Just as it sounds, a streetcar is a car on the street.
They are not meant to be considered a commuter vehicle for long distances or at a fast pace. They transport or circulate the traveler from say, Downtown to Clifton or the Great American Ball Park to Findlay Market, etc.

Streetcars hold 125 standing or seated passengers and would not provide transit to suburbs like West Chester or Mason, as a light-rail system might. They are simply meant to circulate the foot traffic from one part of the City to the other.

If you live Downtown and want to visit the zoo, or if you are taking classes at UC, you might hop a streetcar to get you there, without taking a bus that could be less direct or a car that would cost you more money in gas.

"It is very convenient for me," says Jean Newman, an older downtown Portland resident, who uses the streetcar to take classes at the university and to do her shopping.

And with on-time arrivals, residents like Newman and Carter can count on the streetcars by the minute. Each streetcar stop has a digital sign that lets the rider know when the next streetcar will arrive within minutes. If it is five minutes, then you know that you have time to grab a latte or muffin and generally that is the reason why many cafs open their locations near streetcar stops.

Imagine if the work day ended at 5 p.m. but Downtown living really started after work hours. What if people could grab a bite to eat, catch an event at Fountain Square, go to local shops and the market and the opera and an art gallery, any time after work or if the weekend was full of life Downtown and within the surrounding urban communities. Imagine parking your car and walking to a stop and hopping a streetcar, to go to as many attractions in the City that your feet could handle. That's an image of the Cincinnati streetcar and the dream of the initiative.

The City's next step is to start analyzing the feasibility and funding of the streetcars over the summer months.

"I think that once you can feel it and touch it, we're in for a great ride," says Tarbell.

Jessica reported this story on assignment in both Portland, Ore. and Cincinnati.

DoogMinAmo
06-14-2007, 10:41 PM
In other news, the funding for The Banks fell through yesterday.

Told ya. :mooner:

Hmmm. Bad news replaced with good? I feel good about this happening, I know I am in the minority.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070614/BIZ01/306140049/1076


Banks pact boosts minorities, women
BY JON NEWBERRY | JNEWBERRY@ENQUIRER.COM
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An agreement in principle announced by the Banks Working Group today includes a detailed new policy to promote the use of small and disadvantaged businesses and the hiring of minorities and women. It was lauded by at least one leader of Cincinnati’s inner-city and African-American communities as a huge and historic victory.

The policy sets a combined goal of 22 percent for participation by minority and women workers – as measured by work hours – including at least 11.9 percent for minorities and 6.9 percent for women in each construction trade for each covered contractor.

It also calls for the city and Hamilton County to award contracts for 30 percent of the construction, 15 percent of commodities and general services, and 10 percent of professional services to small businesses. Similar goals for disadvantaged businesses were not specified, pending actions by the city and county.



The agreement calls for various measures to implement the policies, monitor compliance and periodically review the goals and procedures.

Steve Love, who headed the Banks Working Group’s subcommittee that crafted the economic inclusion and workforce development policies, said they are the most aggressive the city or county has ever had. He believes they fully comply with legal requirements regarding race- and gender-based preferences.

Prior Cincinnati policies that sought to promote inclusion have been struck down in the courts as unconstitutional.

The new policy will govern not only the award of contracts for the publicly funded portions of the proposed Banks project, but also other public works – including a proposed new jail and a $2 billion upgrade of the Metropolitan Sewer District.

While the policy is not binding on the Carter-Dawson development team for the privately-funded portions of The Banks project – the bulk of the project in dollar terms – their agreement states that the developer will “strive to achieve significant participation of minorities and women.”

Leaders of the Amos Project and the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP had previously called for the inclusion of minority development partners, which the Harold A. Dawson Co.’s entry this week appears to have satisfied.

They also called for, among other things, allocating specified percentages of project jobs to residents of Hamilton County and identifiable low-income neighborhoods; providing training so low-income residents can acquire necessary job skills in the construction trades; appointing an NAACP representative to the panel that will oversee implementation of The Banks development agreement; and awarding direct project contracts in smaller pieces so that minority companies have greater opportunities to become primary contractors rather than merely subcontracting work through larger construction companies.

Some of those issues were addressed in the agreement; some were not.
Rev. Gregory Chandler, president of the Amos Project, a coalition of church congregations that have fought to improve the lives of people in inner-city neighborhoods, hailed the agreement as a significant victory.

“It is historic to finally see substantial inclusion of inner-city residents and minority contractors on a large publicly funded project such as the Banks. God is in control and Cincinnati is on the right path,” Chandler said in a statement.

Chandler has said that such inclusion will strengthen the development’s viability.
“Amos celebrates this agreement, but rest assured, we will continue working to make sure it is fully implemented,” he said.

Harold Dawson Jr., president of the African-American-owned development company that will be an equal partner with Carter Real Estate, said Thursday he was not familiar with the details of the agreement but supports inclusion of because “that’s just good business.”

His company was founded by his parents in Atlanta in the 1960s, he said, and most of its work has been in urban settings, where it naturally seeks to “enter the fabric of the entire community” whenever it undertakes a project.

“By bringing in small and disadvantaged businesses, you’re just strengthening the development,” Dawson said. “It’s almost perfunctory for us, because we’ve been doing it for so long. … It’s a bigger deal in Cincinnati.”


http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070614/NEWS01/306140025


Banks project 'agreement'
BY JESSICA BROWN | JLBROWN@ENQUIRER.COM
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The Banks Working Group said this morning it has an "agreement in principle" under which Carter Real Estate and Harold A. Dawson Co. will serve as master developers for the Banks, a $1 billion riverfront project.

The seven-member Banks Working Group has voted unanimously to recommend Carter and Dawson as the master developer for the Banks project.

• Tell us what you think of this latest news


• Banks theme page

The formal legal documents are expected to be forwarded to the city and the county for their approval within 60 days.

"We are in the final stretch," said Bob Castellini, head of the Banks Working Group, the city-county panel charged with overseeing the banks project.

"If sucessful this will set in motion Ohio's most complicated economic development project ever," he said.

The non-binding agreement calls for 300 apartments in the first phase, followed by 100 condominiums and 70,000 square feet of retail. It will also include an unspecified amount of office space.

The agreement also sets a policy on economic inclusion and workforce development that will allow for the inclusion of minority and female-owned businesses.

Banks Working Group members said they have come up with a viable financing plan for the project and that the inclusion portion of the development deal is "the most aggressive policy that the county has ever seen," said Steve Love, a new minority member of the Banks Working Group.

The developers and the city/county will have a 50-50 partnership in the public/private development.

County Commissioner Todd Portune praised the work of the team.

"The commencement of the Banks redevelopment project has begun," he said. "And we should all be thankful for that."


http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070614/NEWS01/706140362


Banks project is 'a done deal'
Work could begin this year

By Joe Wessels
Post contributor



Post file photo

The $600 million, 15-acre Banks project is expected to begin with the approximately two-block area between the Great American Ball Park, left, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

A deal has been reached in principle to build the Banks.

Applause and words of congratulations broke out in the offices of the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday evening as brokers on a deal to build the first phase of a long-stalled $600 million, 15-acre riverfront office, entertainment, retail and residential development reached consensus after months of negotiations, said Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune.

The talks were between Carter Real Estate of Atlanta and the Banks Working Group, a panel of city and county appointees formed to help reach an agreement to build the project first proposed 10 years ago.

"The Banks is a done deal. There is an agreement," Portune said Wednesday evening. "It is fantastic."

The announcement was expected to be made official at today's meeting of the Banks Working Group, a panel of city and county appointees formed to help reach an agreement to build the project first proposed 10 years ago.

The Banks Working Group is expected to present a "terms sheet" to city and county leaders this morning, the step before signing a formal contract, said Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper.

Construction could begin later this year on the project along Cincinnati's riverfront - between Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium - if Cincinnati City Council and Hamilton County commissioners ratify the deal as expected.

"I expect dirt will be dug this year," Portune said.

The initial phase of the project will include a $20 million parking garage that will provide a base to raise the entire project out of the flood plain, plus another $20 million in public improvements, including street and utilities upgrades.

Developers from Carter said they envision the complex will eventually include 1 million square feet of office space, 1,800 residential units, 300,000 square feet of retail space and 300 to 500 hotel rooms. They also expect restaurants and entertainment venues, including a movie theater.

Trent Germano, vice president for development for Carter Real Estate, said the Cincinnati Banks project would be similar to Carter's successful Atlantic Station project in Atlanta.

At the negotiations were Portune, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, Cincinnati City Council Members Chris Bortz and John Cranley, all eight members of the Banks Working Group and staff from Carter and the Harold A. Dawson Co., an Atlanta minority-owned company that has agreed to help fund the deal.

An aide for Mallory said the mayor had no comment on the deal Wednesday evening.

Pepper was not at the meeting because state laws prevent more than one county commissioner from being at a meeting without proper public notification, but said he was kept informed about what was going on.

"Sounds like a lot of progress was made (Wednesday)," he said. "Our job now is to review the agreement ... we are very close to something that the city and county can agree to."

Pepper said he is very optimistic that the deal will be finalized between the city and the county, but is being cautious.

"With the Banks, we have learned to not count any chickens before they are hatched," he said.

Portune said that he and Mallory met privately at the Reds' offices in a side conference room to work out a few final details. Once those agreements were made, the deal was done.

"We shook hands and people broke out into applause," Portune said. "It was kind of a neat thing."

Dawson was added to the mix after AIG Global Real Estate Investment Corp., which was expected to provide up to $600 million in financing, pulled out of the project last week. A formal announcement about Dawson's involvement was expected at today's meeting, which was to be at the Freedom Center.

Portune said city and county leaders have also reached agreement with developers on workforce development and minority inclusion issues. The project will include at least 11.9 percent of minority workers and businesses and at least 6.9 percent of female workers and businesses.

Still being finalized is a plan to award contracts to businesses located in specific parts of the county that are considered impoverished, based on U.S. Census Bureau statistics. That would link up businesses in such impoverished areas - with a significant amount of residents living at or below the federal poverty level - with developers doing work on the project.

"By infusing this massive amount of new money into these impoverished areas, there is a very real probability that those dollars are going to end up getting into the pockets of the people who need it the most and stabilize the businesses that need it the most," Portune said. "In its entirety, it's a revolutionary way of looking at this."

He said the $200 million worth of contracts related to the Banks, plus work on the $233 million comprehensive safety plan - which includes the building of a new $198 million jail in Camp Washington - and $2 billion in work to come on the Metropolitan Sewer District system should keep local workers and businesses busy.

Portune said that he and Mallory agree that both the county and city will need to work hard to make connections between those doing the work and those who could supply them.

"We are going to have to invest to beef up the county's small business office, and the city is going to do the same," he said.

The local chapter of the NAACP and the AMOS Project, a group of 40 religious congregations from around the county, have complained about the lack of minority inclusion and missing opportunities for the community's poor. In a statement released Wednesday night, AMOS leaders claimed victory in the fight for equality, as did NAACP leaders earlier in the week. But Portune said fair inclusion goals have been the plan all along.

"These goals that we established are greater than any other project in Hamilton County," he said. "We didn't start doing the Banks for (NAACP President) Chris Smitherman, we did it for all the people of Hamilton County. We started working on this long before Chris Smitherman was president."

Portune said he is feeling very good about the progress he has made since becoming the County Commission president in January, both with the jail issue and now with the Banks project.

"It hasn't even taken six months to take care of the two thorniest issues in the county," he said. "I feel pretty good about that."

vaticanplum
06-14-2007, 10:44 PM
I'm with you, DoogMinAmo. I think it's become cool to mock it, and most people do it without an idea of the facts going on. It's not going up next week...but it is going to happen. There are quite a lot of people working on it who feel very passionately about it, and downtown is building up faster than a lot of people realize. I never would have believed it a year ago, but I'm seeing it, little by little.

vaticanplum
06-14-2007, 10:45 PM
double post, sorry

Yachtzee
06-14-2007, 11:21 PM
I'm with you, DoogMinAmo. I think it's become cool to mock it, and most people do it without an idea of the facts going on. It's not going up next week...but it is going to happen. There are quite a lot of people working on it who feel very passionately about it, and downtown is building up faster than a lot of people realize. I never would have believed it a year ago, but I'm seeing it, little by little.

I think people mock it because of a general lack of confidence in city and county government to do what needs to be done to keep the project moving forward. I love the design plans for the Banks Project, but my limited knowledge of the history of Cincinnati politics leads me to believe that there is about a 50% chance of them being realized. Of course there's also part of me that feels there is a 50% chance that the area will be paved over for parking. I have no doubt that there are many energetic proponents working hard to get this done. My fear is that the Cincinnati political pendulum will swing the other way and those energetic proponents will get frustrated and move on to other things. For every one step forward, Cincinnati sometimes likes to take two steps back.

vaticanplum
06-14-2007, 11:40 PM
I think people mock it because of a general lack of confidence in city and county government to do what needs to be done to keep the project moving forward. I love the design plans for the Banks Project, but my limited knowledge of the history of Cincinnati politics leads me to believe that there is about a 50% chance of them being realized. Of course there's also part of me that feels there is a 50% chance that the area will be paved over for parking. I have no doubt that there are many energetic proponents working hard to get this done. My fear is that the Cincinnati political pendulum will swing the other way and those energetic proponents will get frustrated and move on to other things. For every one step forward, Cincinnati sometimes likes to take two steps back.

Yeah, that's fair. I only take issue with people who make jokes but take no real action to correct whatever they mock. But definitely what you say has real merit to it and I don't think the 50% figure is too far off.

paintmered
06-15-2007, 02:27 AM
Speaking of rail, I stumbled upon this gem of a site a few days ago:

http://www.dot.state.oh.us/OHIORAIL/Ohio%20Hub/Website/ordc/index.html (http://www.dot.state.oh.us/OHIORAIL/Ohio%20Hub/Website/ordc/index.html)

Ltlabner
06-15-2007, 07:24 AM
I think people mock it because of a general lack of confidence in city and county government to do what needs to be done to keep the project moving forward. I love the design plans for the Banks Project, but my limited knowledge of the history of Cincinnati politics leads me to believe that there is about a 50% chance of them being realized. Of course there's also part of me that feels there is a 50% chance that the area will be paved over for parking. I have no doubt that there are many energetic proponents working hard to get this done. My fear is that the Cincinnati political pendulum will swing the other way and those energetic proponents will get frustrated and move on to other things. For every one step forward, Cincinnati sometimes likes to take two steps back.

That's part of it Yach. Definatley. The city and county couldn't find their rear ends with both hands. So expecting them to solve the ills of the city is an excersize in futility.

The other part is that for years folks in Cincy have proposed various magic bullet ideas that would somehow reviltalize the entire downtown area by themselves. Whether it be a particular department store, resturant or even submarine there's been a host of "if we just do _________ all of our problems will be solved" ideas. And a magic bullet will not solve the city's problems. It's a multifacted problem that should be dealt with on several levels, not just slap up a new Maccoroni Grill and sit back and wait for the throngs of people to swarm downtown.

If the street cars are billed as the magic bullet then yes, it will and should be mocked. If they are part of a multipronged approach to reviatlizing downtown, then they seem pretty cool. I poo-pooed them originally but after more thought (I posted that somehere about 600 pages ago) the idea has grown on me.

SunDeck
06-15-2007, 08:54 AM
I'll bet somebody slipped in the part about minority contractors when they didn't think any construction would actually happen.:)

Color me cynical.

Redsland
06-15-2007, 10:41 AM
I think it's become cool to mock it…
Well then I've been cool since 1996.

Back then I had a friend who was an aide to Todd Portune, and I told him then that The Banks would never happen. Despite his insistance that I was daft, I've been right every single day for the past 11 years and he hasn't.

Like Yahtzee said, the leadership of this city fails to inspire any confidence, because they utterly lack any semblance of vision or initiative. Newport, OTOH, used to be a laughingstock. Today it's nothing less than a godsend.

M2
06-15-2007, 11:13 AM
A few thoughts from a complete outsider:

1) Public transportation will only spur urban renewal if there's a residential effect as well as a business effect. Ultimately, what makes a city thrive is its livability. Being able to get around downtown is nice, but it's missing something if it can't get you home.

2) Light rail efforts rely on downtown transportation infrastructure to disperse commuters from hub locations. If you want to create a suburban rail network then you've got to have the downtown transit infrastructure in place as your first step.

3) The problem with buses is their routes are invisible. Outside of a sign or two, when a bus isn't there, it's as if the route doesn't exist. That's a big reason why you don't see development around bus lines. People don't perceive it as being infrastructure. You can argue whether they should, but compare urban development along inner city rail lines to what gets built along bus lines and you'll see a major disparity.

If I put a train stop at an intersection (either with an underground terminal or above ground passenger platform), chances are it will draw investment to that spot. It will make the local storefronts more desirable and the housing stock will start to get gentrified. Why? Because that train stop will make it look like a place people want to be. If you add a bus stop, you know what will happen? Nothing outside of some people who were going to be there anyway will ride the bus.

A corollary to that is that the terminals and platforms are key. You want to create visible footprints. In areas of Philly they've got some ancient trolley lines that just kind of stop in the street or that drop off passengers on non-descript concrete strips and some of those areas are so run down they might as well be in Beirut. Obviously a trolley by its lonesome doesn't turn around that kind of despair, but upgrading the transit system and building out from the rapidly improving Center City area would make sense. Mind you, the problem with Philly is it doesn't believe in itself. It doesn't think it could be a great place to live.

4) A city has to believe in itself and it sounds like that's the chief problem facing Cincinnati.

Chip R
06-15-2007, 11:25 AM
Well then I've been cool since 1996.

Back then I had a friend who was an aide to Todd Portune, and I told him then that The Banks would never happen. Despite his insistance that I was daft, I've been right every single day for the past 11 years and he hasn't.

Like Yahtzee said, the leadership of this city fails to inspire any confidence, because they utterly lack any semblance of vision or initiative. Newport, OTOH, used to be a laughingstock. Today it's nothing less than a godsend.


This is kind of what we were talking about in the latest Chris Henry thread. When there's a report of foul play and Chris Henry's name in involved, you tend to be skeptical that he wasn't involved even if he eventually wasn't. With the city and county you tend to be skeptical of The Banks happening until it actually does and, as Redsland said, we've been hearing this for over a decade now and nothing but talk has happened. Until I see ground broken and construction going on, I'm going to remain a skeptic.

gonelong
06-15-2007, 11:52 AM
3) The problem with buses is their routes are invisible. Outside of a sign or two, when a bus isn't there, it's as if the route doesn't exist. That's a big reason why you don't see development around bus lines. People don't perceive it as being infrastructure. You can argue whether they should, but compare urban development along inner city rail lines to what gets built along bus lines and you'll see a major disparity.


A train stop generally means a platform, building, etc. Something a bit more permanenet. A bus stop generally means a sign, a bench, and if your lucky a rainshelter. Those can be disassembled and moved down the street this afternoon.

GL

pedro
06-15-2007, 12:01 PM
3) The problem with buses is their routes are invisible. Outside of a sign or two, when a bus isn't there, it's as if the route doesn't exist. That's a big reason why you don't see development around bus lines. People don't perceive it as being infrastructure. You can argue whether they should, but compare urban development along inner city rail lines to what gets built along bus lines and you'll see a major disparity.
.

I had an interesting discussion with a native Portlander about our transit system last night and her argument against the max (our train) vs buses is that train lines can't be moved, while bus lines can. It is a somewhat compelling argument I suppose as investment in Portland doesn't appear to have followed the Max line.

SunDeck
06-15-2007, 12:16 PM
A few thoughts from a complete outsider:

4) A city has to believe in itself and it sounds like that's the chief problem facing Cincinnati.

I think it's more like self loathing, but you're on to something. I always got the impression that everyone outside Cincinnati hates the city and thinks it's managed by a bunch of bozos. That's how it looked from the border between Delhi and Price Hill, anyway.

vaticanplum
06-15-2007, 12:26 PM
Well then I've been cool since 1996.

Back then I had a friend who was an aide to Todd Portune, and I told him then that The Banks would never happen. Despite his insistance that I was daft, I've been right every single day for the past 11 years and he hasn't.

Like Yahtzee said, the leadership of this city fails to inspire any confidence, because they utterly lack any semblance of vision or initiative. Newport, OTOH, used to be a laughingstock. Today it's nothing less than a godsend.

When the AIG funding pulled out a couple of weeks ago, the news was all the rage. The funding was matched pretty quickly and the contract is about to be signed and I've heard much less about that. I don't think the Banks is exactly like all previous projects, nor do I think the time and circumstances surrounding it are either.

I think everybody is justified in doubting the city's ability to get stuff done due to past experience. I just hope it doesn't make people sedentary with future experiences, never letting anything get done because they expect it not to. Call it reverse Pollyanna syndrome, or How I Feel About the Democratic Party.

paintmered
06-15-2007, 12:40 PM
I think it's more like self loathing, but you're on to something. I always got the impression that everyone outside Cincinnati hates the city and thinks it's managed by a bunch of bozos. That's how it looked from the border between Delhi and Price Hill, anyway.

I have the impression that everyone inside the city hates this city and outside the city, Cincinnati has a decent reputation.

SunDeck
06-15-2007, 12:46 PM
I have the impression that everyone inside the city hates this city and outside the city, Cincinnati has a decent reputation.

Excellent point, so maybe it is self loathing.

pedro
06-15-2007, 12:47 PM
The way people feel in Cincinnati feel about the city seems to me to be somewhat like how one might feel about a sibling of whom they're not terribly fond. It's ok for them to say something bad about them, but if an "outsider" were to say the same thing it is not looked at too kindly. Personally I have found people in Cincinnati to be as sensitive about their cities image as any place I've ever been.

westofyou
06-15-2007, 12:51 PM
I have the impression that everyone inside the city hates this city and outside the city, Cincinnati has a decent reputation.

That downtown is a jewel waiting to be uncovered, if folks wouldn't buy into suburban living is the only living worth living.

paintmered
06-15-2007, 12:59 PM
That downtown is a jewel waiting to be uncovered, if folks wouldn't buy into suburban living is the only living worth living.

I think that's changing. There is a mini-population boom downtown. The population is still quite low, but it has nearly doubled since the beginning of the decade. Streetcars will enable residential projects to be built with less risk. Right now, each unit requires two parking spots at an enormous cost. If the streetcar system can cut it even half, projects once cost-prohibitive are now no-brainers.

I know the local young professional crowd is very excited about the potential of downtown, and to a greater extent, OTR. I would be all over it, except my career is taking me away from Cincinnati. But then again, I'm an outsider who wasn't born with the idea that Cincinnati sucks.

Ltlabner
06-15-2007, 01:30 PM
I have the impression that everyone inside the city hates this city and outside the city, Cincinnati has a decent reputation.

I wouldn't say everybody in Cincy hates it. I think it's more an expression of frustration that Cincy, dispite it's glaring flaws, is actually an awesome city. It's a really big small city with a lot to offer people in terms of sports, arts, museums, universities, culture, musical acts, jobs, decent areas to live, etc. But the complete and utter lack of leadership on the county and city level has squandered opportunities that Newport has been able to capitalize on. Folks should be talking about Cincy like they talk about Austun, TX yet because of the bafoonery of the last 20+ years the city/metro area has been swiming in circles.

Plenty of people grow up in the Cincy area and never leave. Part of that, IMO, is because they know Cincy could be something fantastic.

The other part of the frustration is the undealt with crime problem that is best left for either a different thread or the peanut gallery.

To me, Cincy metro offers the best of many worlds. If the county/city could find their way out of a wet paper bag we could have a vibrant downtown where young professional types live and people from the burbs love to come and spend time/money. There's a host of suburbs of many socio-economic levels and with different "feals". And there's some "country" or rural settings within 30 or 45 minutes of downtown that offer the privacy and land some desire.

DoogMinAmo
06-15-2007, 01:33 PM
That downtown is a jewel waiting to be uncovered, if folks wouldn't buy into suburban living is the only living worth living.

I travel alot, and even recently was in Portland. The truth of the matter is, Cincinnati is ridiculously lucky to have Over-the-Rhine, as well as its arts and major sports franchises. The city is currently making a slow turn for the better, and it can be attributed to many things: new Fountain Square, private investment/ development, new arts buildings, moving of the Art Academy, and a strong desire by the goverment, even if just verbally, to 'right the ship.'

The way I see it, and I think this harkens back to what LtlAbner just said, the following projects will not save the city alone, but together might bring about a whirlwind of development, activity, and change:

1. development on the proposed Nordstrom site - Eagle Realty is currently proposing an affordable condo tower with a parking garage and retail, which would be a much better use of the site than a mega box retailer.

2. development of the Banks - this is the city's doorstep and image, as well as its largest recent failure, get it right and perceptions will change, and people wil stay in Ohio after reds and Bengals games. The proposed riverfront park is gorgeous, and would only augment the above. In fact, this alone, to me, would place Kentucky back in the envious stage, from being envied.

3. implementation of a streetcar and incline lines - they recall the city's history, bridge neighborhoods, and spur development. Inclines could traverse Mt. Adams and Clifton hills, and connect well with the proposed streetcar lines. The value of this streetcar system can be debated, but it has seemed to be a positive influence in almost any recent application.

Pedro, the MAX is different than the streetcar system, in that the former is about massive movement of people from different regions, while the latter is a neighborhood travel system, almost like a moving sidewalk. The MAX's effects may be debated, but the street car, as far as I know, has been almost single-handedly responsible for the redevelopment of the Pearl District, a still ongoing development.

4. Construction of a downtown market store - sorely needed by those there now, and the largest detractor keeping those who want to go there from moving. An urban Target has been rumored recently, which would alos be great. But a grocery is necessary.

More can and should be done, but essentially, would happen based on the momentum of the above mentiond moves.

Yachtzee
06-15-2007, 01:54 PM
The way people feel in Cincinnati feel about the city seems to me to be somewhat like how one might feel about a sibling of whom they're not terribly fond. It's ok for them to say something bad about them, but if an "outsider" were to say the same thing it is not looked at too kindly. Personally I have found people in Cincinnati to be as sensitive about their cities image as any place I've ever been.

Have you ever been to Cleveland? Drew Carey can make jokes about Cleveland because he's one of their own. If anyone else does it, Clevelanders throw a fit.

pedro
06-15-2007, 01:59 PM
Pedro, the MAX is different than the streetcar system, in that the former is about massive movement of people from different regions, while the latter is a neighborhood travel system, almost like a moving sidewalk. The MAX's effects may be debated, but the street car, as far as I know, has been almost single-handedly responsible for the redevelopment of the Pearl District, a still ongoing development.

I understand what you are saying re: the differences in the types of systems and I would certainly agree that the streetcars have a been boon to downtown Portland. However, I wouldn't attribute that much of the Pearl's resurgence to the streetcar line. It has helped but that area was destined for re-development either way and most of the people who go to the pearl still drive there. Either way, I think Streetcars are a great thing for most cities and I am in favor of them.

pedro
06-15-2007, 02:00 PM
Have you ever been to Cleveland? Drew Carey can make jokes about Cleveland because he's one of their own. If anyone else does it, Clevelanders throw a fit.

very true.

Chip R
06-15-2007, 02:29 PM
Maybe if they actually do get streetcars here they can do a revival of the musical, "Oh, Streetcar!" ;)

westofyou
06-15-2007, 03:59 PM
Maybe if they actually do get streetcars here they can do a revival of the musical, "Oh, Streetcar!" ;)

http://img377.imageshack.us/img377/9607/b020jb.jpg

STELLLAAAA! STELLLAAAA!
Can't you hear me yella!
You're puttin' me through Hella!
Stella... STELLLAAAA!

CrackerJack
06-15-2007, 04:45 PM
I live on the river in Newport (historic district) and love it - the problem with living downtown here, is simply, the lack of good school systems. The atmosphere, ambience, restaurants, history and convenience to entertainment and cultural activities is far beyond anything the stale, cultureless Cincy burbs could ever offer (been there, done that, ugh).

If we have a child - no way am I sending him/her to a Catholic school (for various reasons including economics) nor am I putting them through the Newport city school system, or anything in the City Of Cincinnati.

The reason why families move into the burbs, are the bad schools here - plain and simple. We'll have to follow suit when we do (Southgate/Ft. Thomas/Wilder/Alexandria most likely).

Obviously the target market for urban living are young professionals pre-children, but of course then you get a lot of turnover and renters.

pedro
06-15-2007, 04:49 PM
I live on the river in Newport (historic district) and love it - the problem with living downtown here, is simply, the lack of good school systems. The atmosphere, ambience, restaurants, history and convenience to entertainment and cultural activities is far beyond anything the stale, cultureless Cincy burbs could ever offer (been there, done that, ugh).

If we have a child - no way am I sending him/her to a Catholic school (for various reasons including economics) nor am I putting them through the Newport city school system, or anything in the City Of Cincinnati.

The reason why families move into the burbs, are the bad schools here - plain and simple. We'll have to follow suit when we do (Southgate/Ft. Thomas/Wilder/Alexandria most likely).

Obviously the target market for urban living are young professionals pre-children, but of course then you get a lot of turnover and renters.

this is very similar to the situation in Atlanta and to a lesser extent Portland.

SunDeck
06-15-2007, 05:20 PM
I live on the river in Newport (historic district) and love it - the problem with living downtown here, is simply, the lack of good school systems. The atmosphere, ambience, restaurants, history and convenience to entertainment and cultural activities is far beyond anything the stale, cultureless Cincy burbs could ever offer (been there, done that, ugh).

If we have a child - no way am I sending him/her to a Catholic school (for various reasons including economics) nor am I putting them through the Newport city school system, or anything in the City Of Cincinnati.

The reason why families move into the burbs, are the bad schools here - plain and simple. We'll have to follow suit when we do (Southgate/Ft. Thomas/Wilder/Alexandria most likely).

Obviously the target market for urban living are young professionals pre-children, but of course then you get a lot of turnover and renters.

This is why we moved to Bloomington, Indiana. We didn't want to move to the suburbs of Cincinnati- we had lived in Westwood and were facing the same choice, paying for St. Catherine's (where my grandfather went!) or living in fear that our kids wouldn't get into a magnet or Montessori school. I don't know what the solution to the school problem is, but I wasn't going to wait around to find out. It saddened us- we believe in public schools, but we're not putting our kids in a substandard one.

M2
06-16-2007, 12:53 AM
I live on the river in Newport (historic district) and love it - the problem with living downtown here, is simply, the lack of good school systems. The atmosphere, ambience, restaurants, history and convenience to entertainment and cultural activities is far beyond anything the stale, cultureless Cincy burbs could ever offer (been there, done that, ugh).

If we have a child - no way am I sending him/her to a Catholic school (for various reasons including economics) nor am I putting them through the Newport city school system, or anything in the City Of Cincinnati.

The reason why families move into the burbs, are the bad schools here - plain and simple. We'll have to follow suit when we do (Southgate/Ft. Thomas/Wilder/Alexandria most likely).

Obviously the target market for urban living are young professionals pre-children, but of course then you get a lot of turnover and renters.

An idea I once saw floated was that cities should de-centralize their school districts. American cities don't do schools well. Beyond that, the school systems are so large with so many competing interests that the crisis spots act like an anchor on the areas that could be thriving.

While it's a bit Darwinian, it strikes me as a proper application of realpolitik. I don't know the cultural geography of Cincinnati, but I'll guess there's some sections of the city that have been gentrified and could within a decade probably put together a public school system to match what you find out in the suburbs.

I don't technically live in Boston. If you look at a map of the city, it looks someone ripped a chunk out of its western section. That chunk is called Brookline and it's a separate town that never got assimilated into the Borg that is the rest of the city. In fact it might be the most populous town in the United States. We share public transit lines, water lines and sewer lines iwth Boston. Yet the town government is completely separate and the school system is top notch. Brookline's actually got better access to downtown Boston than a lot of areas that are technically part of Boston. It's the best of both worlds. If the city of Boston broke apart its school system into more manageable autonomous districts, within a decade you'd probably find good-to-excellent school systems throughout most of the city. In fact, you'd probably find a lot of young families clamoring to get into the city.

Public education is a competitive field. Municipalities that do it well thrive. Those that don't suffer. I've lost count of how many people I've heard say they'd love to raise their kids in a city, but that the shoody school system is a deal breaker. These are exactly the kind of families cities need to compete for and win.

Yachtzee
06-16-2007, 11:49 AM
An idea I once saw floated was that cities should de-centralize their school districts. American cities don't do schools well. Beyond that, the school systems are so large with so many competing interests that the crisis spots act like an anchor on the areas that could be thriving.

While it's a bit Darwinian, it strikes me as a proper application of realpolitik. I don't know the cultural geography of Cincinnati, but I'll guess there's some sections of the city that have been gentrified and could within a decade probably put together a public school system to match what you find out in the suburbs.

I don't technically live in Boston. If you look at a map of the city, it looks someone ripped a chunk out of its western section. That chunk is called Brookline and it's a separate town that never got assimilated into the Borg that is the rest of the city. In fact it might be the most populous town in the United States. We share public transit lines, water lines and sewer lines iwth Boston. Yet the town government is completely separate and the school system is top notch. Brookline's actually got better access to downtown Boston than a lot of areas that are technically part of Boston. It's the best of both worlds. If the city of Boston broke apart its school system into more manageable autonomous districts, within a decade you'd probably find good-to-excellent school systems throughout most of the city. In fact, you'd probably find a lot of young families clamoring to get into the city.

Public education is a competitive field. Municipalities that do it well thrive. Those that don't suffer. I've lost count of how many people I've heard say they'd love to raise their kids in a city, but that the shoody school system is a deal breaker. These are exactly the kind of families cities need to compete for and win.


I think decentralization is a good idea for public schools of major cities. Another idea I've always contemplated is following a German model of dividing school systems according to aptitude. I know it will never fly here because people will call it elitist or racist, but I like the idea of splitting public high schools into technical or trade schools and college prep schools. Not everyone needs to or wants to go college, and public schools should recognize that. Instead of trying to churn out kids through a curriculum designed to get everyone to the basic college entry level, they should provide kids with different school choices based on what they want to after school.

Here's how it would work:

In 6th or 7th grade, kids would be tested and counseled to determine whether they would be better suited for the trade school or the college prep school and assigned accordingly. Assignments would be done not only on aptitude, but also on interest. Kids who have no interest in college shouldn't be forced into the college prep program. Likewise, kids who have a strong interest in college but test a little on the low side could be given a provisional shot at the college prep program to see if they improve.

Once the kids have been assigned, they'll continue to have the same curriculum for the first few years. If a kid changes his or her mind and wants to move to the other program, they're free to move if they meet the requirements.

In 9th or 10th grade, the curricula diverge. The trade schools will continue to offer basic classes - Math, English, Science, Social Studies, will progressively take classes intended to help them get a career right out of school. They may even apply for apprenticeships or practical work experience. Some schools do this already with vocational programs, but from what I saw it was always limited to auto mechanics, cosmetologists and secretarial work. The trade schools could be expanded to include kids who want to work in computer networking and programming, the hospitality industry (cooking, hotels, restaurants), travel and tourism, business management, the list goes on. There is no reason why kids couldn't do out of high school what people assume one needs a college degree to do. And they could still go on to get advanced degrees. But those degrees would have different requirements than they do now.

The college prep program will have the same core courses, but supplement their curriculum with so-called "Liberal Education Requirements" that most people take their first or second year of college (Philosophy, Logic, Art History, Rhetoric, etc.). They'd get most of these LER requirements out of the way so that they can spend actual college time working on finding and pursuing their major. It's kind of like the Advanced Placement program they have now. I don't know if they've changed it, but when I was in school AP classes were geared more toward math and sciences. I would gear them toward the Liberal Education classes. Nothing is more frustrating to a college senior than having to sit through some a 3-credit sociology class with 500 students in the school auditorium just to get their last LER credit.

pedro
06-16-2007, 11:54 AM
I've always felt that public school funding should be allocated equally amongst schools regardless of local tax base. The current system only stands to perpetuate poverty and inequality IMO.

Yachtzee
06-16-2007, 02:01 PM
I've always felt that public school funding should be allocated equally amongst schools regardless of local tax base. The current system only stands to perpetuate poverty and inequality IMO.

But people with money are always going to seek to give their kids a better education. Whether you use property taxes or other methods of funding, it's very hard to tell people in one community, "No, you can't spend more money to educate your kids than the people in the neighboring town." Change the way schools are funded and the wealthy communities are always going to find ways to give more and I don't think there is a way you can tell them they can't. I'm sure there are better ways to help fund poor school systems than property taxes, but I don't think truly equal funding can be achieved.

pedro
06-16-2007, 02:08 PM
But people with money are always going to seek to give their kids a better education. Whether you use property taxes or other methods of funding, it's very hard to tell people in one community, "No, you can't spend more money to educate your kids than the people in the neighboring town." Change the way schools are funded and the wealthy communities are always going to find ways to give more and I don't think there is a way you can tell them they can't. I'm sure there are better ways to help fund poor school systems than property taxes, but I don't think truly equal funding can be achieved.

I think those are good points but it seems there has to be some sort of happy median. Right now it's too top heavy in the wrong direction IMO. At some point people need to realize that giving access to a quality education to every child will benefit society as a whole in the long run. If the only purpose of funding education were to provide for our own children then why should I have to fund schools at all? After all, I don't have any kids, why should I have to help pay to send someone else's kid to school?

SunDeck
06-17-2007, 02:35 PM
But people with money are always going to seek to give their kids a better education. Whether you use property taxes or other methods of funding, it's very hard to tell people in one community, "No, you can't spend more money to educate your kids than the people in the neighboring town." Change the way schools are funded and the wealthy communities are always going to find ways to give more and I don't think there is a way you can tell them they can't. I'm sure there are better ways to help fund poor school systems than property taxes, but I don't think truly equal funding can be achieved.

I can see people saying, "I pay these high property taxes and I want that money to go to the schools my kids attend." On the other hand, Walnut Hills is an example where private fund raising can be used to improve a school, so if people want to pay more they certainly can.
I like funding schools, libraries, townships and counties through property taxes because it is progressive (those with higher abilities to pay contribute more taxes), yet it does leave the poor districts painfully short when the money stays local. Maybe a way to rectify that is to establish a state minimum for the dollars per student that needs to be funded to every school. Once that is satisfied, the rich districts get to keep what's left. The question, of course is will there be any money left for those rich districts? My gut tells me that a lot of money dissappears down the toilet in those large, city systems.

Yachtzee
06-17-2007, 03:21 PM
I can see people saying, "I pay these high property taxes and I want that money to go to the schools my kids attend." On the other hand, Walnut Hills is an example where private fund raising can be used to improve a school, so if people want to pay more they certainly can.
I like funding schools, libraries, townships and counties through property taxes because it is progressive (those with higher abilities to pay contribute more taxes), yet it does leave the poor districts painfully short when the money stays local. Maybe a way to rectify that is to establish a state minimum for the dollars per student that needs to be funded to every school. Once that is satisfied, the rich districts get to keep what's left. The question, of course is will there be any money left for those rich districts? My gut tells me that a lot of money dissappears down the toilet in those large, city systems.

Yeah, I think the goal should be "raising the water level to lift all boats," rather than trying to create some sort of equal distribution of funds. Personally I think that a lot of money in public schools, rich and poor, is wasted because schools use the money on administration and tech expenditures rather than the one area that would result in the most improvement, more teachers. You can walk into schools with all kinds of fancy computer equipment that looks nice on TV, but really doesn't help kids if they're still packing them into class rooms with 25-30 kids a class. Of course computers don't need health benefits. I think that if they really want to improve the education of poor students, I would try to find a way to encourage schools to hire more teachers before they go on a spending spree at Dell.

SunDeck
06-17-2007, 03:33 PM
Roger that- but I'm guessing the guvmint loves buying computers more than paying teachers.

Because computers make our kids smarter.

Yachtzee
06-17-2007, 03:53 PM
Roger that- but I'm guessing the guvmint loves buying computers more than paying teachers.

Because computers make our kids smarter.

That's what I gather the philosophy of our school district is. Having taught computer programming, I think anyone could teach themselves not only how to use a computer, but how to program one as well, if they just had a solid education in logic, language, and math, none of which requires a computer to learn. But give kids a computer without that background education and only a few will be able to do more than just play games, do email and chat.

DoogMinAmo
06-18-2007, 02:58 PM
Regarding the education front:

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070615/NEWS0102/706150391/1077/COL02

Seems like specialization has already started, and the truly bad and underperforming schools are being targeted.

Also, what is everyone's thought on this editorial:

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070618/EDIT0202/706180319/1090



BANKS PROJECT NEEDS NEW NAME, FOCUS

In regard to the Banks, or the Riverfront District as I like to call it: First, when it's actually started, and completed, it needs a new name. The Banks name by itself just upsets people right now. And they need to not worry as much about condos, there are plenty of condos and apartments to live in the downtown area, or will be in the not-so-distant future.

The riverfront project should focus more on entertainment and shopping. Allow a quality mass transit system to move people from the middle or outskirts of downtown and surrounding areas to the riverfront. There will be new condos that haven't even been started yet. Not to mention Over-the-Rhine starting to become more livable. Retail + Entertainment + Mass Transit = a great city!

Mark Altherr
Delhi Township


A new name would be a welcome idea, considering the above mentioned immediate negative reaction to the "banks" term. Disagree about the lack of mixed use, though. That is one of the main reasons the Flats in Cleveland failed, and will be a big rerason the Levee has no staying power as well. If the Banks ever does happen, unfortunately, I don't know if the Levee could sustain the hit.

Yachtzee
06-18-2007, 04:33 PM
Regarding the education front:

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070615/NEWS0102/706150391/1077/COL02

Seems like specialization has already started, and the truly bad and underperforming schools are being targeted.

Also, what is everyone's thought on this editorial:

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070618/EDIT0202/706180319/1090



A new name would be a welcome idea, considering the above mentioned immediate negative reaction to the "banks" term. Disagree about the lack of mixed use, though. That is one of the main reasons the Flats in Cleveland failed, and will be a big rerason the Levee has no staying power as well. If the Banks ever does happen, unfortunately, I don't know if the Levee could sustain the hit.

I think your point about the Flats is a pretty good one. Part of the problem with the Flats is that people were only going down there when something else was going on, but with no one living in the area, the place would be dead during the week if there wasn't something else going on to bring people downtown.

If done right, the Riverfront should be the crown jewel of development in the area, on both sides of the river. When I visit Cincinnati, all I can think of is how beautiful the area around the river looks. If I were a young professional given the choice between living in a condo in West Chester or Mason or a place in a new development near the river, I'd choose to live down by the river. But you have to give me a place to live and a place to buy my groceries. I can't imagine how great it would be to get home from work and just walk down the street or catch a bus/streetcar to the ballpark for a game and then head out to a pub after the game without having to drive.

Chip R
06-18-2007, 05:07 PM
If done right, the Riverfront should be the crown jewel of development in the area, on both sides of the river. When I visit Cincinnati, all I can think of is how beautiful the area around the river looks. If I were a young professional given the choice between living in a condo in West Chester or Mason or a place in a new development near the river, I'd choose to live down by the river. But you have to give me a place to live and a place to buy my groceries. I can't imagine how great it would be to get home from work and just walk down the street or catch a bus/streetcar to the ballpark for a game and then head out to a pub after the game without having to drive.


That would be ideal. But the place to live and other amenities would have to be key. It can't be just a bunch of bars and shops and parking garages and a little green space and expect people to go down there when there isn't something going on down there. Most people live in an area where there is access to things they use. There needs to be places like Kroger, Wal Mart, a dry cleaners, auto repair, convenience stores, Skyline, etc. a short distance away.

The advantages the people here have is that they can learn from the mistakes of other cities who have done something similar. Like you said, in order for these places to thrive, there needs to people going there.

DoogMinAmo
10-15-2007, 10:18 PM
Seems like it could really happen... Good for Cincinnati.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071015/NEWS01/310150043



Streetcar plan cheered
BY MARGARET A. MCGURK | MMCGURK@ENQUIRER.COM
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Cincinnati will unveil plans Tuesday on how to pay for a four-mile, $100 million downtown streetcar line that advocates believe will contribute $2 billion to the city’s economy and transform Over-the-Rhine.

The plan’s cheerleaders include politicians, transit activists and urban developers.

So far, it seems to have no enemies, although that could change when the city explains where it will get the money to fund the plan.


• Tell us: Are streetcars a good idea?


City Council’s economic development committee holds a public hearing Tuesday at 1 p.m. at City Hall, and expects city officials to present financing details. While planners have kept a tight lid on those details, the plan is expected to rely heavily on bonds that will be repaid with tax income generated by new development along the streetcar line.

The streetcar plan aims to create an Over-the-Rhine neighborhood where downtown workers can live without owning cars, and where visitors can leave their cars in outlying lots and ride streetcars to riverfront events.

If the city’s projections are correct, the line would also kick-start redevelopment worth almost $2 billion in investments, rising property values and growth in property tax collections.

The program could return vacant buildings to use for as many as 1,574 homes, and convert some of the 97 acres of downtown parking lots to commercial space. “That is a heck of a lot of parking space” for a city this size, said city architect Michael Moore.

In later phases, the streetcars could be extended to reach the University of Cincinnati and nearby hospitals, backers say.

The plan’s model is Portland, Ore., where officials report more than 7,200 new homes and 4.6 million square feet of new commercial development along a 7.2-mile-long streetcar line since it opened in 2001.

The push for streetcars comes five years after Hamilton Conty voters emphatically rejected a $2.3 billion light-rail system.

“We really tried to pick a lay-up here,” said John Schneider, head of the Alliance for Regional Transit. “We were shooting outside the three-point circle in 2002.”

First, streetcar supporters decided to focus on the city – where voters favored the 2002 light rail proposal by 2-to-1 while it was defeated by a similar margin countywide. local support was key. The countywide total vote in ’02 was 2-to-1 against light rail, but the central city vote was 2-to-1 in favor. Second, the plan was kept simple and relatively inexpensive – “confining it to flat land, no rivers, no bridges, no tunnels.”

So far, the strategy seems to be working. Pro-streetcar groups turned out in force for the two open houses where details were on exhibit, and no organized opposition has arisen.

The smooth sailing for the plan, however, may be due in part to the absence so far of a specific plan to cover the $100 million cost.

The non-profit development group Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC) owns substantial real estate around Washington Park, which would presumably be more attractive to developers with streetcars.

Yet Darrick Dansby, who oversees Over-the-Rhine real estate development for the 3CDC, said the group has taken no position yet on the plan.

“It’s a great concept,” he said, “but we are waiting until we see the formal financial plan.”

Opposition to the 2002 light-rail plan was strong among political conservatives. So far, that’s not true for the streetcar plan.

Paul Weyrich, head of the conservative think-tank Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, argues that streetcar and light rail systems reflect conservative values.

More than 10 years ago, he and co-author William S. Lind wrote, “The dominance of the automobile is not a free-market outcome, but the result of massive government intervention on behalf of the automobile. That intervention came at the expense of privately owned, privately funded, tax-paying public transit systems.”

Today, Weyrich said, transit systems support economic growth, if properly planned and managed. “You have got to go where people want to go,” he said. “Some of these systems don’t go anywhere.”

Southwestern Ohio Regional Transit Authority board member Stephan Louis, who lobbied against the 2002 light rail plan, said he has not taken any position on the streetcars, which he considers unrelated to the existing bus system.

“We don’t see ourselves competing or challenging or going after the business that is proposed for this economic development plan using the streetcar,” he said.

Operating costs for streetcars are about the same as bus lines, said Jim Graebner, chairman of the Streetcar and Heritage Trolley Subcommittee of the American Public Transit Association.

However, he said, “That ‘about’ covers a lot of things.” Among them is maintenance, which is much lower for electric cars compared to diesel buses, he said.

“Streetcars definitely have a longer life span,” Graebner said. “The typical streetcar is designed to last between 20 and 30 years. Buses have about a 12-year life.” He said cars built in the 1950s have been restored and are running today. “They’ll keep going as long as you keep replacing parts.”

Along with moderate operating costs, streetcars have other advantages, supporters say. For instance, their tracks are relatively quick and easy to install, and the city already owns the right-of-way on the streets where they will run.

Expanding the line uphill to the Corryville/University Heights area could cost more because of the geography, but how much is unclear.

“The problem is now we don’t have any really good … ridership data, engineering data, population data, suggesting what route is best.”

vaticanplum
10-15-2007, 10:56 PM
People really seem to get a kick out of that free green Friday streetcar that tools around downtown to take old ladies shopping and the like. It runs for exactly three hours a week, but hey, baby steps.

DoogMinAmo
10-16-2007, 08:43 PM
And now the follow up... It was passed unanimously and to applause by city council. next step? Funding.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071016/NEWS01/310160029


Streetcar plan stays on track
BY MARGARET A. MCGURK | MMCGURK@ENQUIRER.COM
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Undaunted by a $102 million price tag, five Cincinnati City Council members Tuesday voted to push forward with plans for a streetcar line from Freedom Way downtown to McMicken Avenue in Over-the-Rhine.

City Manager Milton Dohoney and City Architect Michael Moore told the economic development committee the system could be operating by December 2010.

The proposed line would run north on Main to 12th Street, west to Elm, north to McMicken, east to Race, south to Central Parkway, east to Walnut and then south to Freedom Way.


Dohoney won a round of applause from onlookers crowded into the hearing with his fervent appeal for streetcars in spite of the city’s immediate budget crunch. “We need to seize the momentum when we have it, and we have it now,” he said.

He said the plan calls for “sacrifices” in the form of deferred capital improvements.
Committee member Roxanne Qualls praised the plan but asked for details on what work will have to wait because of the streetcars.

Fellow committee members Cecil Thomas, Jeff Berding, David Crowley and chairman Chris Bortz all spoke in glowing terms about the plan’s potential to boost the city’s economy.

“We need to do some reprogramming in order to achieve this big project, this big vision.” Bortz said after the meeting. “If we continue to cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, the city will continue to decline.”

DoogMinAmo
10-16-2007, 09:26 PM
Now this... a lot of dangerous maybes(TIFS and grant from a broke state of Ohio) and private dollars(31 million!) make it seem risky and less likely.
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071016/NEWS01/310160033/1092/COL02



Streetcar $$: Not just city's
BY MARGARET A. MCGURK | MMCGURK@ENQUIRER.COM
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The city of Cincinnati would contribute $36 million toward building a $102 million streetcar system connecting downtown to Over-the-Rhine, under a financial plan unveiled today at City Hall.

But for the streetcar plan to become a reality, the proposal also calls for $61 million in funding from sources other than the city.

Under the proposal, the city put up $25 million from its capital fund. It also would use $11 million from its sale of the Blue Ash Airport to pay for the street car project. Cincinnati sold the airport this year to the city of Blue Ash for $37.5 million.


• Tell us: Do you favor streetcar proposal?


Bonds paid for with taxes from new development in the area near the streetcar line would cover $25 million. Finally, the plan would call for $20 million from undefined "public/private partnerships” and $11 million from unidentified "private contributors” and a $10 million potential grant from the state of Ohio.

City Manager Milton Dahoney told City Council’s economic development committee that planners will give more details on the financing plan with a month. In the meantime, he urged to endorse the plan. “We need to seize the moment,” he said.