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View Full Version : R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar



Caveat Emperor
03-24-2011, 12:12 PM
http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110323/NEWS01/103240337/Panel-decision-clouds-streetcar-s-future?odyssey=tab|mostpopular|text|FRONTPAGE

Looks like the Cincinnati Streetcar is finally getting sidetracked for good. Good riddance. This entire project was a tremendously silly idea from the start, and a distraction from honest discussion about the mass transit solutions that are desperately needed in this city if it's to survive the next 30 years -- namely, a regional light rail that connects the I-71 / I-75 / US-50 corridors to downtown.

Redsfan320
03-24-2011, 12:16 PM
Thread shutdown due to it turning political in 3...2...1...

320

Caveat Emperor
03-24-2011, 12:21 PM
Thread shutdown due to it turning political in 3...2...1...

320

Well, with an attitude like that it will be. ;)

Boss-Hog
03-24-2011, 12:40 PM
Thread shutdown due to it turning political in 3...2...1...

320
Respectfully, comments like this aren't helpful.

westofyou
03-24-2011, 12:40 PM
http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110323/NEWS01/103240337/Panel-decision-clouds-streetcar-s-future?odyssey=tab|mostpopular|text|FRONTPAGE

Looks like the Cincinnati Streetcar is finally getting sidetracked for good. Good riddance. This entire project was a tremendously silly idea from the start, and a distraction from honest discussion about the mass transit solutions that are desperately needed in this city if it's to survive the next 30 years -- namely, a regional light rail that connects the I-71 / I-75 / US-50 corridors to downtown.

You have to get them to DT (and in the evening) before you can shuttle them around DT.

Roy Tucker
03-24-2011, 12:46 PM
Seemed a boutique item when meat and potatoes are needed.

It's a neat idea, but should come after lots of other more critical transportation infrastructure components are built.

Newport Red
03-24-2011, 12:51 PM
http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110323/NEWS01/103240337/Panel-decision-clouds-streetcar-s-future?odyssey=tab|mostpopular|text|FRONTPAGE

Looks like the Cincinnati Streetcar is finally getting sidetracked for good. Good riddance. This entire project was a tremendously silly idea from the start, and a distraction from honest discussion about the mass transit solutions that are desperately needed in this city if it's to survive the next 30 years -- namely, a regional light rail that connects the I-71 / I-75 / US-50 corridors to downtown.

I'm curious why you included the US-50 corridor. Metro's 28 route from the East End to Milford only goes to Fairfax on the weekends. It seems like the demand isn't there.

westofyou
03-24-2011, 01:00 PM
I'm curious why you included the US-50 corridor. Metro's 28 route from the East End to Milford only goes to Fairfax on the weekends. It seems like the demand isn't there.

Once you get to Fairfax you're in heaven, why would you want to go any further?

reds1869
03-24-2011, 01:03 PM
Seemed a boutique item when meat and potatoes are needed.

It's a neat idea, but should come after lots of other more critical transportation infrastructure components are built.

I agree wholeheartedly. Without light rail to connect, the street car would face an uphill fight for ridership from the outset.

One thing I miss about my time in Cleveland--scratch that, the only thing I miss about my time in Cleveland is their generally excellent rail system. I miss catching the train to Shaker Square or the ballpark, not to mention buying a $55 monthly pass that gave me unlimited transfers on both rail and bus lines. Getting to work was convenient and I loved being able to relax or do some last minute catching up on the train.

Newport Red
03-24-2011, 01:15 PM
Once you get to Fairfax you're in heaven, why would you want to go any further?

Yes, that Wendys is to die for.

westofyou
03-24-2011, 01:16 PM
Yes, that Wendys is to die for.

I remember when it opened, and it was a BIG deal!!

Caveat Emperor
03-24-2011, 01:17 PM
I agree wholeheartedly. Without light rail to connect, the street car would face an uphill fight for ridership from the outset.

One thing I miss about my time in Cleveland--scratch that, the only thing I miss about my time in Cleveland is their generally excellent rail system. I miss catching the train to Shaker Square or the ballpark, not to mention buying a $55 monthly pass that gave me unlimited transfers on both rail and bus lines. Getting to work was convenient and I loved being able to relax or do some last minute catching up on the train.

I used to take the DC Metro into Union Station every morning from West Falls Church, VA when I was in high school. I could sleep on the train, do work, or just listen to music (on my cassette tape Walkman -- to hell with you kids and your fancy iPods).

I'd gladly swap my car ride into work every day if I could be on a train to downtown every morning. In fact, I'd be willing to increase the time I spend commuting from 25 minutes to 30-40 minutes if it meant I could just veg out on the train and not worry about driving.

Caveat Emperor
03-24-2011, 01:20 PM
I'm curious why you included the US-50 corridor. Metro's 28 route from the East End to Milford only goes to Fairfax on the weekends. It seems like the demand isn't there.

Buses and Trains are apples and oranges when it comes to ridership. I know tons of people in DC who took the Metro every day who would never think of setting foot on mass transit if it meant they'd have to be on a bus.

It's 99% a perception issue -- I think buses are negatively associated as a transportation method for the poor while trains / subways are considered "more acceptable" for the middle class.

Redsfan320
03-24-2011, 01:34 PM
Respectfully, comments like this aren't helpful.

Yeah, it was just meant as a joke... but you're right, my bad.

320

SunDeck
03-24-2011, 01:38 PM
I prefer trains to buses. It's a much nicer ride, the stops are covered, often with benches. It's just a more "civilized" way to commute than buses. And I don't have anything against using buses at all- I commuted to work on the Metro in Cincinnati for years. It's not a perception I have, it's a real preference.

paintmered
03-24-2011, 01:39 PM
Seemed a boutique item when meat and potatoes are needed.

It's a neat idea, but should come after lots of other more critical transportation infrastructure components are built.

The problem is that the funding for the Cincinnati Streetcar is being shifted to lower priority projects...that aren't in Cincinnati.

This isn't saving any money, and it won't fund the police or fire departments (it never could since capital budgets cannot fund operating expenses). It's a giant middle finger to the city from Columbus.

bucksfan2
03-24-2011, 01:42 PM
This has been talked about before but I thought the 3C rail was a disaster. It was a poorly designed plan that was banking on funds to keep funneling into the program as it went further. The plan was eventually to create high speed rail but in essence it was going to start off as the traditional passenger rail that hasn't worked in America in decades.

However I was fully in favor of the Street Car. I thought it was a good idea that would work based upon its original design and would have room for growth. I thought it would have been the basis for a more complete light rail in Cincy Metro area. Unfortunately it came about when the country and city was in a recession and the continued funding would have drained a city with a current budget problem. Had this plan arisen in 2004 or around there I think it would have been a success.

KronoRed
03-24-2011, 05:10 PM
The same organizations that were foaming at the mouth over the street car will be doing the same times 10 over any light rail plan.

Anyone remember metro moves in 2002? went down in flames with some helpful individuals saying "Why not just buy everyone a car with the money instead?"

Newport Red
03-24-2011, 06:52 PM
The same organizations that were foaming at the mouth over the street car will be doing the same times 10 over any light rail plan.

Anyone remember metro moves in 2002? went down in flames with some helpful individuals saying "Why not just buy everyone a car with the money instead?"

I like it. Find a designated driver and you've got the perfect pub crawl.

RBA
03-24-2011, 07:55 PM
When I visited Cincinnati, the bus/mass transit system was a bit confusing. So I didn't use it. I have been in supposedly poorer countries where the mass transportation system was easier to use. And with a language barrier on top of that.

Chip R
03-24-2011, 11:22 PM
When I visited Cincinnati, the bus/mass transit system was a bit confusing. So I didn't use it. I have been in supposedly poorer countries where the mass transportation system was easier to use. And with a language barrier on top of that.

It's easier when you're sober. :p:

Reds Freak
03-25-2011, 12:20 AM
The Governor's new Director of ODOT is a former asphalt and highway lobbyist. Essentially, anything on rails is screwed. 200-mph bullet trains could drop from the sky tomorrow free of charge and connect every Ohio city and town and the current administration would be against it.

Let's continue to widen highways though, that's a good investment. And for folks calling for a greater regional light rail plan? Remember MetroMoves in 2002? Yep, that was voted down by Hamilton County residents. Wonder if that vote would have been different if people didn't think gas would always be $1.25 gallon back then?

Redsfaithful
03-25-2011, 05:08 AM
Ohio seems to hate it's cities and refuses to spend money on infrastructure that's not roads. I seriously wonder all the time if I should be raising my kids here, because it's not a state with much of a future.

I can't picture a scenario where Ohio becomes innovative enough to attract jobs and seriously increase population. Hopefully I'm wrong, I really want to be. I love Columbus and many things about the state.

Gas isn't going to get cheaper. If the streetcars (Columbus had plans for one also) and 3C weren't good ideas, then fair enough, but I'm not seeing anything else being offered besides spending cuts and wider roads.

bucksfan2
03-25-2011, 09:20 AM
Ohio seems to hate it's cities and refuses to spend money on infrastructure that's not roads. I seriously wonder all the time if I should be raising my kids here, because it's not a state with much of a future.

I can't picture a scenario where Ohio becomes innovative enough to attract jobs and seriously increase population. Hopefully I'm wrong, I really want to be. I love Columbus and many things about the state.

Gas isn't going to get cheaper. If the streetcars (Columbus had plans for one also) and 3C weren't good ideas, then fair enough, but I'm not seeing anything else being offered besides spending cuts and wider roads.

I don't necessarily think its this. I think its all the additional costs that will go along with building the rail and light rail. There is/was only so much money allotted for the rail infrastructure projects and each individual state/municipality would have had to fork out a lot of money they didn't have to complete the project.

I was all for the street car even though I realized that I wouldn't make good usage of it until 2-3 expansions down the road. Maybe it will be revisited if the OTR revival continues, the Banks is a success, and the Casino gets built.

Caveat Emperor
03-25-2011, 09:38 AM
Ohio seems to hate it's cities and refuses to spend money on infrastructure that's not roads. I seriously wonder all the time if I should be raising my kids here, because it's not a state with much of a future.

I can't picture a scenario where Ohio becomes innovative enough to attract jobs and seriously increase population. Hopefully I'm wrong, I really want to be. I love Columbus and many things about the state.

Where does the idea come from that Ohio "seems to hate it's cities?" As has been the ongoing discussion in another thread, Cincinnati is spending tons of money developing the banks area right now. They've added new stadiums, a new bars/dining complex, a new garage, and they're building a park.

Then, there is this story about the fantastic success 3CDC is having at renting remodeled and rehabilitated apartments in OTR:

http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/region_central_cincinnati/over_the_rhine/3cdc-rents-all-of-its-renovated-apartments-in-otr-within-3-months

I don't get where the idea is that people "hate" the cities. I think there's a very valid other side to this debate that gets overlooked -- namely that "city life" isn't for everyone. A lot of people enjoy the space and privacy that comes from the suburban lifestyle (having the yard for the kids to play in or for the dog to run in, etc.) and the relative affordability of owning property in the suburbs as opposed to the city. I think it's entirely possible (and indeed, sound policy) to run a State that caters to both types of citizens: urbanites and suburbanites. One way of life isn't inherently evil and the other way of life isn't inherently good.

And, as far as infrastructure goes -- I'd like to see them revisit the idea of light rail in Cincinnati. I'm 100% in favor of high-speed rail (high speed from day 1, mind you) connecting the major cities in Ohio. But the projects they've curbed thus far have all had serious defects to them. The 3C line was an antiquated system that was being built on the promise (wink wink) that it would be something useful (high speed rail) eventually. The Streetcar didn't really serve a transportation need in the City, and the primary purpose for building it seemed to be this speculative claim that "development" would follow along the line. To that end, there are lots of ways to encourage development that don't result in the city incurring a yearly, multi-million dollar budget expense subsidizing a streetcar.

I agree that Ohio needs to be forward thinking, but wake me when something forward thinking gets tabled and I'll be concerned then.

Sea Ray
03-25-2011, 09:55 AM
I don't get where the idea is that people "hate" the cities. I think there's a very valid other side to this debate that gets overlooked -- namely that "city life" isn't for everyone. A lot of people enjoy the space and privacy that comes from the suburban lifestyle (having the yard for the kids to play in or for the dog to run in, etc.) and the relative affordability of owning property in the suburbs as opposed to the city. I think it's entirely possible (and indeed, sound policy) to run a State that caters to both types of citizens: urbanites and suburbanites. One way of life isn't inherently evil and the other way of life isn't inherently good.



I think those reasons pale in comparison to the larger reasons why folks care to live in the suburbs and that's crime, schools and cleanliness. I'm sure you could get a lot of bang for the buck if you bought a house in Over the Rhine but who wants to live there? Clean up the crime and folks without kids will come back. Clean up the schoolsand families will return as well. What is it about places like OTR that folks don't pickup there garbage? I understand poverty and all but there's not garbage blowing around in my neighborhood and it doesn't take money to throw your fastfood bags into a garbage can.

reds1869
03-25-2011, 10:02 AM
What is it about places like OTR that folks don't pickup there garbage? I understand poverty and all but there's not garbage blowing around in my neighborhood and it doesn't take money to throw your fastfood bags into a garbage can.

You clearly haven't spent much time in OTR lately. It has changed tremendously over the past year.

Sea Ray
03-25-2011, 11:03 AM
You clearly haven't spent much time in OTR lately. It has changed tremendously over the past year.

Don't stop there. Fill me in. Is the trash not stuck on the cyclone fences? Are the drug deals not happening on the street corners? Is the Diner on Sycamore doing a great business? Would you be OK with your single daughter living there?

reds1869
03-25-2011, 12:15 PM
Don't stop there. Fill me in. Is the trash not stuck on the cyclone fences? Are the drug deals not happening on the street corners? Is the Diner on Sycamore doing a great business? Would you be OK with your single daughter living there?

The trash is for the most part non-existent. Drug deals still happen, of course, but have reduced in frequency. Businesses are booming. I have never been to Joe's Diner On Sycamore but have heard good things. The Lackman, Senate, forkheartknife--all of these establishments have opened in the recent past and are packed on a regular basis. Findlay Market is always full of customers and features some unique shops you won't find anywhere else in the city. My wife works in Over The Thine and walks by Washington Park and The Drop Inn Center every morning and evening; she has yet to have any problems and there is always a strong police presence. I could go on and on, but you get my point.

dougdirt
03-25-2011, 01:08 PM
The trash is for the most part non-existent. Drug deals still happen, of course, but have reduced in frequency. Businesses are booming. I have never been to Joe's Diner On Sycamore but have heard good things. The Lackman, Senate, forkheartknife--all of these establishments have opened in the recent past and are packed on a regular basis. Findlay Market is always full of customers and features some unique shops you won't find anywhere else in the city. My wife works in Over The Thine and walks by Washington Park and The Drop Inn Center every morning and evening; she has yet to have any problems and there is always a strong police presence. I could go on and on, but you get my point.

That says it all. In nice areas you don't notice the police presence.

westofyou
03-25-2011, 01:15 PM
That says it all. In nice areas you don't notice the police presence.

I guess you have never drove around Mariemont or Terrace Park for more than 15 minutes.

dougdirt
03-25-2011, 01:32 PM
I guess you have never drove around Mariemont or Terrace Park for more than 15 minutes.

I couldn't even tell you where Terrace Park is... but no, I haven't spent much time in Mariemont. It is 45 minutes from me and doesn't have something to offer that can't be found somewhere closer.

Caveat Emperor
03-25-2011, 01:33 PM
I guess you have never drove around Mariemont or Terrace Park for more than 15 minutes.

Sitting to issue citations on 50 doesn't really count.

westofyou
03-25-2011, 01:38 PM
Sitting to issue citations on 50 doesn't really count.

I'm talking about in the Village's, drive around for 20 minutes and report back on the number of cops you see, that follow you, that stop if you stop.

Newport Red
03-25-2011, 01:57 PM
Sitting to issue citations on 50 doesn't really count.

I've donated to Terrace Park.

westofyou
03-25-2011, 01:59 PM
I've donated to Terrace Park.

I've worn their jewelry and been to a Middle School dance in the Police building

redsmetz
03-25-2011, 02:13 PM
The Governor's new Director of ODOT is a former asphalt and highway lobbyist. Essentially, anything on rails is screwed. 200-mph bullet trains could drop from the sky tomorrow free of charge and connect every Ohio city and town and the current administration would be against it.

Let's continue to widen highways though, that's a good investment. And for folks calling for a greater regional light rail plan? Remember MetroMoves in 2002? Yep, that was voted down by Hamilton County residents. Wonder if that vote would have been different if people didn't think gas would always be $1.25 gallon back then?

At this point, I have little hope that this will change. I worked vigorously to defeat the atrociously written charter amendment meant to stop the streetcar (purposely written broadly and then lied about what it was meant to cover - and yes, it was written in such a way that any money spent on the zoo's train could have required a vote of the electorate).

Sadly we as a society refuse to recognize that there is ultimately a finite supply of oil regardless of how much that number is. Add in that we're funneling money so incredibly fast to many supplier nations that don't care for us in the least, and it's downright insane how we refuse to recognize it's in our national interest to detach ourselves from this addition to oil.

I've written tireless that my kids are among those who have made the exodus out of Cincinnati because of the lack of transportation options in this region (one's in DC, the other in Chicago). I ache at the failure of MetroMoves which would be ten years along and watch as we sink billions unquestioned in to short stretches of interstate highways just here in Cincinnati and it really is quite sad. Even sadder is we're working on racing downward here in Ohio at a pace that will be breathtaking when it's all said and done. What a shame because I love Ohio and I love Cincinnati, warts and all. But these days, we can't have a rational conversation about thinking bigger. Our ancestors who saw grand designs in the future must be rolling over in their graves.

reds1869
03-25-2011, 02:55 PM
I'm talking about in the Village's, drive around for 20 minutes and report back on the number of cops you see, that follow you, that stop if you stop.

Very, very true. I drive through both villages several times per week and see more police than residents.

Roy Tucker
03-25-2011, 04:23 PM
At this point, I have little hope that this will change. I worked vigorously to defeat the atrociously written charter amendment meant to stop the streetcar (purposely written broadly and then lied about what it was meant to cover - and yes, it was written in such a way that any money spent on the zoo's train could have required a vote of the electorate).

Sadly we as a society refuse to recognize that there is ultimately a finite supply of oil regardless of how much that number is. Add in that we're funneling money so incredibly fast to many supplier nations that don't care for us in the least, and it's downright insane how we refuse to recognize it's in our national interest to detach ourselves from this addition to oil.

I've written tireless that my kids are among those who have made the exodus out of Cincinnati because of the lack of transportation options in this region (one's in DC, the other in Chicago). I ache at the failure of MetroMoves which would be ten years along and watch as we sink billions unquestioned in to short stretches of interstate highways just here in Cincinnati and it really is quite sad. Even sadder is we're working on racing downward here in Ohio at a pace that will be breathtaking when it's all said and done. What a shame because I love Ohio and I love Cincinnati, warts and all. But these days, we can't have a rational conversation about thinking bigger. Our ancestors who saw grand designs in the future must be rolling over in their graves.

Eloquently and passionately spoken, redsmetz.

Sea Ray
03-26-2011, 10:18 AM
More good news for downtown. Looks like plans will be announced soon for a new nightclub/bar to open at the old Maisonette property on 6th St:

http://cincinnati.com/blogs/developingnow/2011/03/25/new-nightclub-coming-downtown/

This is good to see that they're developing that property

Caveat Emperor
02-18-2012, 12:59 AM
Back from the dead: http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20120217/NEWS/302170045/


OVER-THE-RHINE - — With speeches, shovels and plenty of fanfare, Cincinnati leaders Friday began the long-awaited construction of the streetcar, the controversial project alternately seen as a bold path to a brighter future or a costly mistake that reflects failure to learn from the past.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, flanked by Mayor Mark Mallory and other top city officials, took part in Friday’s groundbreaking for the $110 million, 3.8-mile streetcar line, which initially will run from Downtown’s central riverfront to Over-the-Rhine.

I gotta give credit to City Hall -- they've been pushing for this thing for years, in the face of harsh, well-organized opposition, and it's still getting built. I think it's a stupid idea still, but kudos to them for sticking to their guns I guess.

Sea Ray
02-18-2012, 12:56 PM
To those of us who aren't at ground zero for this or have had a hard time following the bouncing ball, can you fill us in on some details such as:

1) How far south will it go? Will it run all the way to the Banks?

2) Will it go to UC?

3) How many riders a day will it need in order to not be a drain on city coffers?

4) I know it runs along Vine St but where? Will it cause the permanent closure of certain lanes?

5) Sure it survived two ballot issues but as I recall, those ballot issues didn't deal directly with this project. They were more or less general issues and voting down the streetcar would have meant voting down other projects as well. Is that correct?

I hope this works out but I see very little chance that it will

redsmetz
02-18-2012, 03:11 PM
To those of us who aren't at ground zero for this or have had a hard time following the bouncing ball, can you fill us in on some details such as:

1) How far south will it go? Will it run all the way to the Banks?

2) Will it go to UC?

3) How many riders a day will it need in order to not be a drain on city coffers?

4) I know it runs along Vine St but where? Will it cause the permanent closure of certain lanes?

5) Sure it survived two ballot issues but as I recall, those ballot issues didn't deal directly with this project. They were more or less general issues and voting down the streetcar would have meant voting down other projects as well. Is that correct?

I hope this works out but I see very little chance that it will

SeaRay, these are all good questions & I have some answers for you, but no time to lay them out. I'll try to get to it today or tomorrow.

Here's some quick FAQ's that will answer some of your questions: http://www.protransit.com/FAQs/

paintmered
02-18-2012, 05:32 PM
To those of us who aren't at ground zero for this or have had a hard time following the bouncing ball, can you fill us in on some details such as:

1) How far south will it go? Will it run all the way to the Banks?


It will go all the way to the Banks on 2nd Street. When Kasich pulled state funding, the city had to revise their plan to only go as far south as 5th street at Fountain Square. Cincinnati then received a federal grant to allow them to return to the original plan on the southern end (the most recent Enquirer article I saw on this had an outdated route map). I do not know if the streetcar will run on the north or south side of 2nd. If it's on the north side, people will have to cross 2nd from GABP and the Banks to board.


2) Will it go to UC?

Not for this phase, but the plans are still in place to make it up the hill to CUF. As when Ohio pulled its portion of funding and required the (no longer) reroute on the south end, this also resulted in the removal of the extension to CUF.


3) How many riders a day will it need in order to not be a drain on city coffers?


Not sure. No form of transportation is self-supporting and the streetcar likely will not be either. But it should help drive investment and property values in the immediate area that will help to offset operating costs.


4) I know it runs along Vine St but where? Will it cause the permanent closure of certain lanes?

Perhaps during construction it will. But once built, all the lanes of traffic in existence now will remain open to vehicle traffic. The only loss of road will be at the stops, and this is limited to curb parking. To allow for handicap access, the curbs will be built out to meet the streetcar's lane of traffic and will result in a loss of a handful or so parking spots.



5) Sure it survived two ballot issues but as I recall, those ballot issues didn't deal directly with this project. They were more or less general issues and voting down the streetcar would have meant voting down other projects as well. Is that correct?

Yes. Both ballots were targeted specifically at stopping the streetcar, and the second round even had "Streetcar" in its title. But in order to achieve its goal of prohibiting the streetcar, included language inclusive of all other forms of rail on public right-of-ways. If it didn't, the city simply could have called it something other than a streetcar and continued on its merry way.


I hope this works out but I see very little chance that it will

There's risk with the project for sure. But streetcars have been quite successful nationwide and the positive momentum downtown will continue to increase the chances of its success.

Reds/Flyers Fan
02-18-2012, 05:47 PM
I was at the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday at Memorial Hall to celebrate a great day for Cincinnati. I'm very excited to see my favorite city begin this process and I have no doubt it will be great for downtown, The Banks, uptown and OTR.

Frankly, naysayers need to live in or spend considerable time in other cities where rail transit is not only a convenience, but a way of life. I lived in the Denver area for years and would routinely use the light rail to get to and from downtown/Coors Field/Avs games, etc. I have no doubt that this will be very popular for those around UC and uptown who want to shoot downtown without their cars.

Congratulations Cincinnati!

Caveat Emperor
02-18-2012, 06:59 PM
Frankly, naysayers need to live in or spend considerable time in other cities where rail transit is not only a convenience, but a way of life. I lived in the Denver area for years and would routinely use the light rail to get to and from downtown/Coors Field/Avs games, etc. I have no doubt that this will be very popular for those around UC and uptown who want to shoot downtown without their cars.

I spent close to 5 years living in Washington DC and used the subway system there extensively. It was a wonderful convenience and I genuinely wish we had something like that in Cincinnati. I voted for the regional light rail plan back in 2002 and I'd love to see the idea revisited in the near future.

However, the streetcar isn't rail transit. It's a 15-20 block / 2-mile loop that connects several downtown "attractions" that are already within walking distance of one another. You still need to drive downtown (paying for gas and parking) to use it. If you already live downtown, you can just as easily walk everywhere it takes you in roughly the same amount of time it would take to wait for a car, pay the fare, board, and ride. I've worked downtown for 6 years now, and I've yet to hear someone complain that downtown is too hard to get around. Fountain square is a 5-10 minute walk from the stadium, OTR another 5 on top of that.

Like I said, I give the Mayor credit for fighting for years to make his vision a reality -- but I can't see this as anything other than a giant waste of money.

top6
02-18-2012, 07:15 PM
To those of us who aren't at ground zero for this or have had a hard time following the bouncing ball, can you fill us in on some details such as:

1) How far south will it go? Will it run all the way to the Banks?

2) Will it go to UC?

3) How many riders a day will it need in order to not be a drain on city coffers?

4) I know it runs along Vine St but where? Will it cause the permanent closure of certain lanes?

5) Sure it survived two ballot issues but as I recall, those ballot issues didn't deal directly with this project. They were more or less general issues and voting down the streetcar would have meant voting down other projects as well. Is that correct?

I hope this works out but I see very little chance that it will

For once we are more or less on the same page. While I strongly support public transportation projects, this just seems like such a waste to me.

I live at the Banks and I work downtown and I love public transportation. I can't see myself ever using this (if I am still there in 2014, which I doubt). Possibly occasionally I would use it on a Saturday/Sunday to grab lunch and a few things at Findley market. Anywhere else downtown, I can walk to easily. If I don't use this, who will?

Seems to me the $ would have been better spent just making the buses better and more reliable.

But that said at least the city is doing something, so like you I hope it will work out or at least spur additional projects.

In other news, Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grille (http://countrybaroh.com/) opened at the Banks last week. I have been once. Not necessarily my kind of place (although you can't really go wrong with beer in mason jars), but from what I hear they have been crowded. And my guess is that a lot of people who go to Toby Keith's might not be heading downtown otherwise, so that is a great thing for the city and region.

And the Moerlein Brewery is apparently opening soon, and allegedly a Ruth's Chris and a few more places. The bottom line for this board is that there should be a whole lot more to do around the stadium before and after Reds games!

reds1869
02-19-2012, 09:12 AM
Anywhere else downtown, I can walk to easily. If I don't use this, who will?

My thoughts as well. I walk to OTR and all over Downtown from One Lytle Place all the time. If they ever extend it up to Clifton, we will be in business. Until then the only thing I will use it for is going to Findlay Market. Maybe that will be enough, maybe it won't. I hope the streetcar is a success because it is getting built; might as well throw my support behind it.

Sea Ray
02-19-2012, 11:39 PM
Not sure. No form of transportation is self-supporting and the streetcar likely will not be either. But it should help drive investment and property values in the immediate area that will help to offset operating costs.



Excellent answers and I appreciate it!

The above is the key and it's not being sold that way. In the long FAQ that Metz posted, it never said that it wouldn't be self sustaining. That will leave it open to criticism ala the Freedom Center in future yrs.

I think they need to make it clear that it won't be self sustaining and give us an idea of how much it will cost the city to operate it. After all the studies done on this they can at least give us that much. I'd like to know those figures and can live with it if it seems to make sense from a development standpoint.

I am glad to hear that it goes to the Banks. I'd heard conflicting info on that. I really want it to work and especially to help with OTR development. I'm very skeptical but now that the decision's made I hope for the best

Sea Ray
02-19-2012, 11:44 PM
My thoughts as well. I walk to OTR and all over Downtown from One Lytle Place all the time. If they ever extend it up to Clifton, we will be in business. Until then the only thing I will use it for is going to Findlay Market. Maybe that will be enough, maybe it won't. I hope the streetcar is a success because it is getting built; might as well throw my support behind it.

The only thing I can envision using it for is to get to OTR. Parking is tough there as is safety so until that area gets cleaned up I can see parking around Fountain Sq and then taking this to an OTR attraction on say Vine St, Music Hall or whatever.

BTW, I had dinner at a place in OTR on Vine on Friday and that area was looking good. Lots of little spots to eat and drink and the area was well lit and dare I say, maybe even hopping. Not to where Main St was before the riots but it's coming one block at a time

reds1869
02-20-2012, 09:49 AM
The only thing I can envision using it for is to get to OTR. Parking is tough there as is safety so until that area gets cleaned up I can see parking around Fountain Sq and then taking this to an OTR attraction on say Vine St, Music Hall or whatever.

The new parking garage in Washington Park is going to solve any parking issues OTR has, though honestly I don't think it has one. The CET garage always has ample cheap parking and is right across the street from Music Hall.

paintmered
02-20-2012, 11:50 AM
Excellent answers and I appreciate it!

The above is the key and it's not being sold that way. In the long FAQ that Metz posted, it never said that it wouldn't be self sustaining. That will leave it open to criticism ala the Freedom Center in future yrs.

I think they need to make it clear that it won't be self sustaining and give us an idea of how much it will cost the city to operate it. After all the studies done on this they can at least give us that much. I'd like to know those figures and can live with it if it seems to make sense from a development standpoint.

I am glad to hear that it goes to the Banks. I'd heard conflicting info on that. I really want it to work and especially to help with OTR development. I'm very skeptical but now that the decision's made I hope for the best

Here's the 2007 independent economic feasibility study if you're interested in more detailed answers (it includes projected operating costs):

http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/noncms/projects/streetcar/docs/EconomicAnalysis.pdf

Here's the bottom line from the study:
The proposed streetcar system is expected to bring substantial economic development benefits for both the residential and commercial sectors in Cincinnati.

And by picking points off of their graphs, it looks like the completion of the streetcar will generate an additional $500 million in property value to the area.

Sea Ray
02-20-2012, 12:49 PM
OK, so a 50 page analysis and it still doesn't give a number of how much $$ it'll need from city hall to subsidize it on a yearly basis or did I miss that? Don't you think that's an important piece of the puzzle?

paintmered
02-20-2012, 01:06 PM
OK, so a 50 page analysis and it still doesn't give a number of how much $$ it'll need from city hall to subsidize it on a yearly basis or did I miss that? Don't you think that's an important piece of the puzzle?

You'll have to dig around some of the other studies to find the projected ridership, but the annual O&M costs are $2.2 million in 2007 dollars.

Projected ridership in 2015 is 6400 daily at $.50 or 5000 at $1.00 fare.

$.50 fare covers around half the annual costs. $1.00 fare covers around 80%. This does not include the additional revenue from the increased property tax base. I'd have to think that will be greater than $1 million annually to the city given the expected $200-400 million net value generation.

I don't think you have to worry about it bankrupting City Hall.

Sea Ray
02-20-2012, 01:14 PM
You'll have to dig around some of the other studies to find the projected ridership, but the annual O&M costs are $2.2 million in 2007 dollars.

Projected ridership in 2015 is 6400 daily at $.50 or 5000 at $1.00 fare.

$.50 fare covers around half the annual costs. $1.00 fare covers around 80%. This does not include the additional revenue from the increased property tax base. I'd have to think that will be greater than $1 million annually to the city given the expected $200-400 million net value generation.

I don't think you have to worry about it bankrupting City Hall.

I don't think they'll get anywhere near 5000 riders a day. Do you?

paintmered
02-20-2012, 01:23 PM
I don't think they'll get anywhere near 5000 riders a day. Do you?

Given the rate that new residential units are being added to downtown and OTR, and the rate they're filling, I think those 2015 figures are optimistic but not absurd.

And to add a comparison for my previous post, bus fares on Metro cover only one-third of their annual O&M costs per: http://www.go-metro.com/about-metro/faqs

Caveat Emperor
02-20-2012, 02:12 PM
The issue really isn't population density downtown (at least not entirely) -- the issue is usefulness of the line. I agree that a growing OTR population will certainly increase demand for mass transit, as is the case in any growing urban center. My question is whether it will increase demand for this type of mass transit.

If it was a transit line that connected downtown with UC, Rookwood/Hyde Park, and Kenwood (with stops in between), I think the potential would be huge. You'd be funneling people into downtown while also allowing people downtown to access shopping in other parts of the area without the need for a car.

As it is, I'm struggling to think of why someone living in OTR would ride this down to the banks instead of just walking. Maybe when the weather is terrible (in which case, what are the odds people will be out and about anyway?), but otherwise...

This is one of those ideas that needed to be small in order to pass politically but needed to be bigger in order to succeed long-term.

Caveat Emperor
02-20-2012, 02:22 PM
As a fun "mass transit aside'" this was the plan that was proposed as a regional transportation solution a decade back:

http://metro-cincinnati.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/metro_moves_plan.jpg

My guess is that if they'd passed the vote to fund this, we'd have seen the majority of the system starting to go on-line over the past 3-4 years. I wonder how this would have changed the city. It could have been a huge economic boost and sped the transition downtown, or it could also have been a huge boondoggle as sales tax revenues fell during the recession.

An interesting "what if" for Cincinnati,much like the abandoned subway a century ago.

Spazzrico
02-20-2012, 03:05 PM
As a fun "mass transit aside'" this was the plan that was proposed as a regional transportation solution a decade back:

http://metro-cincinnati.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/metro_moves_plan.jpg

My guess is that if they'd passed the vote to fund this, we'd have seen the majority of the system starting to go on-line over the past 3-4 years. I wonder how this would have changed the city. It could have been a huge economic boost and sped the transition downtown, or it could also have been a huge boondoggle as sales tax revenues fell during the recession.

An interesting "what if" for Cincinnati,much like the abandoned subway a century ago.


This makes me want to cry. I was so on board back then, despite the costs, because I knew what it would mean. I still feel that no one who voted this down has the right to ***** when sitting in traffic on I-75. That's just me though.

Caveat Emperor
02-20-2012, 03:38 PM
This makes me want to cry. I was so on board back then, despite the costs, because I knew what it would mean. I still feel that no one who voted this down has the right to ***** when sitting in traffic on I-75. That's just me though.

It actually makes me laugh a little when I see it, because I have to wonder what drugs they were on if they thought Cincinnati would actually support a transit plan that radical.

Traffic in Cincinnati is a joke compared to most places, but I also have to wonder how many people would opt for rail transport into downtown if it meant an end to paying $3.50 a gallon to drive or paying to park when you got there.

I bring this particular plan up because it seems, in hindsight, like it would have dovetailed nicely with a lot of other stuff going on over the past 5 years or so -- the re-emergence of OTR, the Banks finally offering an entertainment destination, the upcoming Casino opening in early-2013, the planned expansion at Rookwood Commons in Norwood, the explosion of growth in West Cheater & Mason, etc.

I like big vision stuff. Sometimes the details don't work out when you crunch the numbers, but it shouldn't stop people from at least considering possibilities.

Sea Ray
02-20-2012, 04:26 PM
Just to refresh our memories, what was the plan to pay off the $2.3B it was going to cost for that light rail design?

Caveat Emperor
02-20-2012, 04:58 PM
Sales tax bump (I think 1%), State kick-in back when Columbus had cash, and a federal transportation grant. Plus, I think the lines running out of county would only have been extended if KY and Warren/Butler/Clermont would have contributed.

It all means the project would likely have suffered many of the same ills now befalling the Stadium (shortage of sales tax receipts). But, unlike the stadium, the rail project could at least expand at a reduced pace to keep costs in-line with tax revenues as opposed to going deeply into the red all at once.

bucksfan2
02-20-2012, 05:06 PM
It actually makes me laugh a little when I see it, because I have to wonder what drugs they were on if they thought Cincinnati would actually support a transit plan that radical.

Traffic in Cincinnati is a joke compared to most places, but I also have to wonder how many people would opt for rail transport into downtown if it meant an end to paying $3.50 a gallon to drive or paying to park when you got there.

I bring this particular plan up because it seems, in hindsight, like it would have dovetailed nicely with a lot of other stuff going on over the past 5 years or so -- the re-emergence of OTR, the Banks finally offering an entertainment destination, the upcoming Casino opening in early-2013, the planned expansion at Rookwood Commons in Norwood, the explosion of growth in West Cheater & Mason, etc.

I like big vision stuff. Sometimes the details don't work out when you crunch the numbers, but it shouldn't stop people from at least considering possibilities.

I like theory of mass transit. It sure would be nice to have a 5-10 minute walk then hop on a light rail and end up at work. I am mixed on the streetcar. Part of me says "great Cincinnati has mass transit" but the other part of me says "why build a poorly designed unfinished product that only services a small amount of people."

There are a couple of holes to your theory. First of all the planned expansion at Rookwood was a cool idea 10 years ago before the city went bankrupt and got into a long legal battle that was just resolved recently. Do they still plan on developing that area?

OTR is getting there, but it will take some more time before people in this city fully accept its re-emergence.

The streetcar only services the people who live within the direct city limits. It doesn't service the majority of the population who live in the burbs.

I think a system that uses the expressways as routes has a ton of promise but is a long time away. Its great that Mason/West Chester is developing, but I just don't see a rail line heading out that direction for a decade.

The final concern/problem that I have is people in the midwest like to drive. We like our car, we like the freedom of driving, traffic isn't all that bad, and our interstate system is pretty good. What concerns me is the Metro is underutilized as is, what is going to make light rail in this area successful?

Reds/Flyers Fan
02-20-2012, 06:28 PM
For once we are more or less on the same page. While I strongly support public transportation projects, this just seems like such a waste to me.

I live at the Banks and I work downtown and I love public transportation. I can't see myself ever using this (if I am still there in 2014, which I doubt). Possibly occasionally I would use it on a Saturday/Sunday to grab lunch and a few things at Findley market. Anywhere else downtown, I can walk to easily. If I don't use this, who will?

Seems to me the $ would have been better spent just making the buses better and more reliable.

But that said at least the city is doing something, so like you I hope it will work out or at least spur additional projects.

In other news, Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grille (http://countrybaroh.com/) opened at the Banks last week. I have been once. Not necessarily my kind of place (although you can't really go wrong with beer in mason jars), but from what I hear they have been crowded. And my guess is that a lot of people who go to Toby Keith's might not be heading downtown otherwise, so that is a great thing for the city and region.

And the Moerlein Brewery is apparently opening soon, and allegedly a Ruth's Chris and a few more places. The bottom line for this board is that there should be a whole lot more to do around the stadium before and after Reds games!

People don't/won't ride buses. This isn't just a Cincinnati thing it's a fairly common thread throughout the U.S. People don't like buses, don't view them as reliable, and don't really view them as a realistic alternative to fixed rail. There is no denying the amount of investment that follows fixed rail lines, including streetcars, in cities such as Portland, New Orleans and elsewhere. Buses, meanwhile, travel through some of the most decrepit parts of every city without so much as a dime of investment following. Point blank: Our society will not ride buses; it will ride a streetcar. And it will ride light rail, which will follow.

And don't forget, when envisioning whether you would ride the streetcar or not, that the original planned route traveled up the hill to uptown/UC/zoo. Would you walk there? Would you walk there in January? Would you walk back to The Banks after going to Festival of Lights? Answer: No. But you can blame our current joke of a governor for killing the uptown portion (for now) by stripping the $52 million in state funds already promised for the project. The city was left scrambling after that and had to scale down the project to the current Banks-to-Findlay Market line. Frankly, it's not ideal but we have to start somewhere. If we scuttled the whole thing due to the governor's petty politics, we'd NEVER see any progress. Rest assured though that the streetcar will certainly eventually extend up to the uptown/UC/zoo - and that's when its popularity and ridership will really take off. Whether you're living at The Banks when that happens or not is beside the point - somebody will be living there and they'll be glad to have the streetcar. In fact, they'll just take it for granted.

redsmetz
02-20-2012, 08:26 PM
People don't/won't ride buses. This isn't just a Cincinnati thing it's a fairly common thread throughout the U.S. People don't like buses, don't view them as reliable, and don't really view them as a realistic alternative to fixed rail. There is no denying the amount of investment that follows fixed rail lines, including streetcars, in cities such as Portland, New Orleans and elsewhere. Buses, meanwhile, travel through some of the most decrepit parts of every city without so much as a dime of investment following. Point blank: Our society will not ride buses; it will ride a streetcar. And it will ride light rail, which will follow.

And don't forget, when envisioning whether you would ride the streetcar or not, that the original planned route traveled up the hill to uptown/UC/zoo. Would you walk there? Would you walk there in January? Would you walk back to The Banks after going to Festival of Lights? Answer: No. But you can blame our current joke of a governor for killing the uptown portion (for now) by stripping the $52 million in state funds already promised for the project. The city was left scrambling after that and had to scale down the project to the current Banks-to-Findlay Market line. Frankly, it's not ideal but we have to start somewhere. If we scuttled the whole thing due to the governor's petty politics, we'd NEVER see any progress. Rest assured though that the streetcar will certainly eventually extend up to the uptown/UC/zoo - and that's when its popularity and ridership will really take off. Whether you're living at The Banks when that happens or not is beside the point - somebody will be living there and they'll be glad to have the streetcar. In fact, they'll just take it for granted.

Just a point of clarification - the $52M was actually federal money to be passed through the state. The streetcar project received the highest score from the state Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) for these funds, among numerous projects in the state. TRAC was established in 1997 to take some of the politics out of the equation. Where did that $52M of federal money go? To lower ranked road projects.

http://www.urbancincy.com/2011/03/new-provision-to-ohio-budget-represents-unprecedented-attack-on-cincinnati-streetcar/

Caveman Techie
02-21-2012, 04:24 PM
This makes me want to cry. I was so on board back then, despite the costs, because I knew what it would mean. I still feel that no one who voted this down has the right to ***** when sitting in traffic on I-75. That's just me though.

I'm right there with you, this rail system would have been awesome. Everytime I hear someone complaining about gas prices I ask them how they voted on the light rail system. If their answer is they voted against it, I tell them they have no right to complain about gas prices then.