Month: February 2009

Mayor Mallory strongly supports Streetcars in the State of the City

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Cincinnati Mayor MalloryFrom Mayor Mallory’s 2009 State of the City Address:

“Another crucial component of GO Cincinnati calls for the development of a Streetcar system and Streetcars will have a dramatic and lasting impact on the future of Cincinnati. It will spur economic development, creating new jobs and growing our local economy. And in its first phase, it will connect uptown and downtown, our two primary employment centers.

Now, we have done our homework and the benefits of a Streetcar system are clear. Tampa developed a Streetcar in 2002 and they have seen $450 million dollars in new development, and another $450 million dollars in development is underway. In Charlotte, developers have invested $1 billion dollars since their Streetcar system was installed. And in Seattle, $1.4 billion dollars in new real estate investment has been made along their Streetcar route.

Those results are no coincidence. When a city puts rails in the ground, economic growth follows. The exact same thing will happen right here in Cincinnati. We expect to see at least $1.4 billion dollars in economic impact in the first phase, alone. And that will give us additional resources to put to use in our neighborhoods all across the city.

The benefits of the Streetcar system are too significant to allow the naysayers to derail our efforts. The facts are clear. Streetcars must be a part of Cincinnati’s future and we will fight to make it happen.”

“A Streetcar to Nowhere”

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I see people make this comment a lot on the Enquirer’s website. It is kind of remarkable that some people would call a route that connects Downtown and Uptown, the region’s two largest employment centers “nowhere”, especially when it serves the following destinations within a few blocks of the line:

· The Banks Project

· The new Central Riverfront Park

· The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

· The new Tallest Building at Queen City Square

· The Red’s Stadium

· The Bengal’s Stadium

· US Bank Arena

· The Taft Museum

· The Taft Theatre

· The Convention Center

· Fountain Square

· The Contemporary Arts Center

· The Aronoff Center

· The Weston Art Gallery

· New Stage Collective

· Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

· Know Theatre

· Ensemble Theatre

· The Emery Theatre

· Macy’s Department Store

· Sak’s Fifth Avenue

· The Carew Tower

· Tower Place Mall

· The busiest library in the country

· Hamilton County Courthouse

· Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals

· Federal Courthouse

· Music Hall

· Memorial Hall

· Washington Park

· Piatt Park

· Inwood Park

· Classen Park

· Findlay Market

· The Over-the-Rhine Brewery District

· Main Street business district

· Vine Street business district

· Clifton Heights business district

· Short Vine business district

· Bogart’s

· The Over the Rhine Gateway Quarter

· Antonelli College

· The Cincinnati Art Academy

· The School for the Creative and Performing Arts

· The University of Cincinnati

· Nippert Stadium

· Fifth Third Arena

· Marge Schott Field

· The University of Cincinnati Medical Campus

· University Hospital

· The EPA

· Seven Hotels, and

· The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Not only in the United States…

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…do streetcars shape development. From Cities in Full:

Toronto area developers are more attracted to rail routes than to bus routes, according to a transit official: “Our developers tell us we can’t get them to develop an area with private capital along a bus route that could be taken out tomorrow.  They want to see tracks.”

-Belmont, Steve, Cities in Full (Chicago: Planners Press, 2002) p. 243

79% of Utah Residents Want More Rail

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Utah Light RailThat’s right, Utah.  According to a recent University of Utah survey, 79% of Utahns said continued funding for rail projects either is very important or somewhat important.

Although skeptical at first, Utahns, after experiencing rail firsthand have become incredibly supportive.

It’s no surprise to Wasatch Front Regional Council Director Chuck Chappell, who said nine-plus years of riding the rails have convinced once-skeptical Utahns that they need transportation choices.

‘There’s huge support for that on the part of the council and now, apparently, the public,” he said. “I think it’s [because of] experience with congestion on the highways and the need for alternatives in the peak periods’.”

Public Transportation isn’t a partisan issue.  John McCain won Utah by his second largest margin in the most recent presidential election (Wyoming was first),  but this heavily Republican state is incredibly supportive about expanding rail.