August 31, 2009
Opponents of public transportation are claiming that supporting the streetcar is an act of snobbery. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Streetcars will bring more and better public transportation to Cincinnati and serve a route where 48.2% of the population lives in households without an automobile. There is nothing snobbish about advocating for more and better quality transportation for the Citizens of Cincinnati.
Streetcars attract more riders than buses because they provide a higher quality of service. Streetcars cost more up front than buses because they provide higher quality transportation; you get what you pay for. For operational costs they spread the driver’s salary over 150+ people instead of 30 or 40. And, properly maintained, they last forever.
Dinner at Jean-Ro Bistro costs more than a cheese coney; Christian Moerlein costs more than Natural Light—you get what you pay for. Bearcat Football tickets cost more than the Bengals… okay well maybe not everything works this way, but most things do.
Would anyone ever suggest that choosing to take higher quality roads is snobbery?
- “Don’t be a snob, take the Reading Rd. all the way to Mason instead of I-71.”
- “Don’t be a snob, take 2nd Street instead of Fort Washington Way.”
- “Don’t be a snob, use the Brent Spence Bridge until it falls into the river instead of replacing it.”
- “Don’t be a snob, drive slower instead of filling in those potholes.”
- “Don’t be a snob, buy a car without air conditioning.”
- “Don’t be a snob, fly only in propeller-driven airplanes instead of jets.”
Of course not.
The low floors and wide open layout of the Modern Streetcar makes it easy for parents with strollers to use
adapted from an earlier post
August 25, 2009
If you would like to show your support for the Cincinnati Streetcar in a video being produced by CincyStreetcar.com, please email your name, neighborhood and contact info to: email@example.com.
August 24, 2009
- Cincinnati City Council has adopted a plan to construct the Cincinnati Streetcar between the Banks, Clifton and Avondale, and there are plans to extend other lines to Price Hill, Northside, Hyde Park, the East End, and Mount Lookout. Covington and Newport, which both support the project, could easily connect to the Cincinnati Streetcar. Utility relocation could begin late this year, and the streetcar could be operating by the spring of 2012.
- Streetcars travel silently and smoothly on state-of-the-art welded track. You board at curb-level without steps – sort of like a moving sidewalk. The cabins have large windows and unlimited headroom. You can bring your bike or scooter on board. Electric motors generate no local pollution and enable the vehicle to accelerate quickly. Streetcars block traffic less than buses do, and hardly any downtown parking spaces will be lost on account of the streetcar. The wires are barely visible, and they don’t spark. The Cincinnati Streetcar is a relatively small consumer of electric power, and people traveling by streetcar rather than driving will cut their greenhouse gas emissions in half.
- Suspend the notion that streetcars are a wasteful subsidy for Yuppies. Streetcars are serious transportation that will enable Cincinnatians to live easily in our dense urban neighborhoods. Streetcars are car-competitive, meaning people will use them instead of driving. With people walking more and waiting at streetcars stops, our sidewalks will feel safer, and retailers can count on having real customers rather than begging for government handouts. Downtown and Uptown visitors will be able to park once and visit numerous destinations on the line.
- The Value Proposition: We need to repopulate our city. We need more jobs for Cincinnatians, many of whom now leave the city to find employment. We need to keep our young people here and attract newcomers by providing better opportunities. When Cincinnati last had streetcars, many people worked closer to home and could buy things in their own neighborhoods. They walked more, and they were healthier. Of the 172,000 Cincinnatians we’ve lost since 1950, fully 20% of them moved from Downtown and Over-the-Rhine alone, and these are just two of ten or so neighborhoods to be served in Phase One of the streetcar project. The streetcar will encourage people who work at UC or one of the hospitals to live in Avondale, Clifton and Mt. Auburn, some of them walking to work and reducing highway congestion and pollution. Who is not in favor of that?
- Since Cincinnati must build parking garages for new developments in places like Downtown or Uptown, it has trouble competing with the suburbs. Because this parking is so expensive to construct, city homes tend to be smaller, and they cost more. There streetcar will mean less of this parking needs to be built. Some of the 92 acres of downtown Cincinnati now devoted to surface parking can be converted to more profitable use.
- Cincinnatians spend 20% of their take-home on local transportation, more than residents of almost any city in America. This is because we have few car-competitive choices. Over time, this will only get worse as fuel prices rise. The Cincinnati Streetcar is an alternative to driving everywhere!
- Few people dispute that development follows the tracks, just as property investment follows highway interchanges and airports. Economists determined that for every dollar spent to build and operate the streetcar over the next thirty-five years, almost three dollars of present economic value will be generated. This is an astonishing rate of return for any kind of project, public or private. Highways seldom have this rate-of-return. We’re doing this for the long run — no electric railway that has opened since 1945 has ever gone out of business.
- Because property near the streetcar line will become more valuable, it will yield more property tax revenue for schools than before. People who work and live in the new and renovated buildings along the streetcar line will start paying city earnings taxes to fund police, parks, and other public services in our city’s bedroom communities like Westwood, College Hill and Mount Washington. The streetcar will make money for the city.
- Property owners on the streetcar line will benefit from the investment, and so they will pay a large share of the cost to build and operate the Cincinnati Streetcar. The city of Cincinnati has pledged not to use general tax funds to build and operate the streetcar. Although fares and overall policies will be set by city council, the Cincinnati Streetcar will be designed, built and operated by a private company that is expert in those tasks.
August 24, 2009
Q: Can the City of Cincinnati use Capital Funds to pay for city employee’s salaries?
Lea Eriksen, City Budget Director
A: The sources of funding for the City’s General Capital budget include a dedicated portion of City’s Income Tax (0.15% of the 2.1%), a dedicated portion of the City’s Property Tax (5.36 millions out of 9.89 mills), and lease payments from the City owned Southern Railway. All of these sources are restricted by City Charter and/or State Law to be used for “permanent improvement” purposes. A permanent improvement is defined as an asset with a useful life of at least five years and a value of at least $10,000. The City can not by Law use the funds from the General Capital budget to pay for operating expenses such as Police Officer salaries.
August 19, 2009
CAAST has a quick summary of some frequently asked questions about the streetcar: Addressing Common Streetcar Questions and Concerns.
August 18, 2009
Findlay Market now has Tuesday afternoon Farmers Markets from 3-6pm running through October. The Cincinnati Streetcar, connecting Uptown, Downtown and the Riverfront, would make it easier and more convenient for the thousands of residents and employees to swing by the market on a nice afternoon and support the local business at the Market.
Producers at the Tuesday Farmers Market include:
- Atwood Village Farms
- Lobenstein Farm
- Ewbanks Vegetables
- Scott Family Farms
- Breezy Acres Farms
- Greenwell Plant Farm
- West Fork Produce
- High Haven Farms
- Bags by Bobbie
- Northside Botanicals
- Sandra Kay’s Home-Style Sauces
- Mama Made It Kettle Corn
- And all of the Regular Market Vendors
August 18, 2009
From Casey Coston’s article in Soapbox on Findlay Market:
It is important to note that the Market is not just for weekends, as most of the vendors are open during the week, and there is also a Tuesday farmer’s market. One of the key complaints voiced by some vendors is about getting more foot traffic during the week, a challenging prospect at best or at least until the streetcar rolls into town.
Read the rest here.
Note: Mr. Coston incorrectly identifies Phase 1 of the streetcar terminating in Over-the-Rhine, in reality the first phase of the streetcar will run all the way to Uptown and connect the University of Cincinnati with Downtown and the Rivefront.
From Laura’s Carbon Footprint:
If you were placing bets, would you bet on Cincy? Not as an insider who knows the game, but as a casual gambler who looks at the odds and the flashy silks, or who maybe always picks the gray horse.
I, as an optimist and an insider, am betting on Cincy. I am hopeful that the Cincinnati Streetcar will happen as planned. I believe the Cincinnati bicycling community is on the right track making Cincinnati streets safer for everyone. I can’t wait for the Ohio River Trail to be complete. And, I love – and ride – Metro.
Some would argue that Cincinnati is great as it is, and I would agree. But, as someone who’s very insightful told me the other day, “it’s not where we are right now that bothers me; it’s where we’re going.”
Findlay Market: Image by S. Beseler
August 17, 2009
From Conservatives and Mass Transit: Is it Time for a New Look? by Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind:
“Cultural conservatives have yet another reason to be interested in mass transit: its role in helping foster a sense of community.
Community is of significant value to most cultural conservatives, for very good reason. Without it, there are few mechanisms to uphold morals and maintain standards of behavior. Traditionally, when most people were part of a community, they behaved for fear of community sanctions. But where there is no community, community sanctions cannot exist. If you do not know your neighbor, why should he care if you disapprove of his misbehavior?
Historically, transit helped foster community, just as the automobile helps undermine it. The reason is that when most people took transit, they normally walked from their homes to the bus or streetcar stop. Other people from the neighborhood were doing the same, and as they walked and at the car stop they met face to face. Since commuters tend to be creatures of habit they saw many of the same people each day. They met, talked, and got to know each other. They found a shared interest in the well-being of the neighborhood. Transit itself was part of that well-being; people had a common interest in seeing that it offered good service. Often, shops and maybe a bar or cafe opened near the stop, and a mini-community developed around it. All these influences helped a neighborhood become a community.
In contrast, the automobile works to isolate neighbors. Today, the average commuter gets in his car in his garage, turns on the heat or air conditioning and radio, hits the bar on the garage door opener and sallies forth. He does not see any neighbors; at most he sees their cars. There is no meeting, no communication. Each driver is isolated in his car, which does nothing to build a sense of community. Indeed, it works against it.”
Next Page »