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Thread: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

  1. #46
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by Reds/Flyers Fan View Post
    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.
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  3. #47
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    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 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!

  4. #48
    We Need Our Myths reds1869's Avatar
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by top6 View Post
    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.

  5. #49
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by paintmered View Post

    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

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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by reds1869 View Post
    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

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    We Need Our Myths reds1869's Avatar
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    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.

  8. #52
    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    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/...icAnalysis.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.
    Last edited by paintmered; 02-20-2012 at 10:58 AM.
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    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?

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    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    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.
    Last edited by paintmered; 02-20-2012 at 12:12 PM.
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  11. #55
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by paintmered View Post
    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?

  12. #56
    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    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
    What if this wasn't a rhetorical question?

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  13. #57
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    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.
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  14. #58
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    As a fun "mass transit aside'" this was the plan that was proposed as a regional transportation solution a decade back:



    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.
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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    As a fun "mass transit aside'" this was the plan that was proposed as a regional transportation solution a decade back:



    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.

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    Re: R.I.P: The Cincinnati Streetcar

    Quote Originally Posted by Spazzrico View Post
    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.
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