Month: January 2010
When the Cincinnati Streetcar was first proposed in 2007, our urban core and its prospects for the future looked very different from how they look. In 2007 construction had still not begun on the Banks, Fountain Square had only been recently been renovated, the Carew Tower was our tallest building, the Gateway Quarter was in its first phase, rail service consisted of one train per night departing for Chicago at 3am, and the only nearby casinos were floating on a river in Indiana.
Times have changed.
Vertical construction has begun on the Banks and hundreds of new residents will be living there when the streetcar opens in 2012.
Fountain Square and the Backstage District have new restaurants and business. Virtually every day of the year you can find people on the Square, the city’s living room, at an event, ice skating, or just enjoying the day.
Queen City Square II has been topped off and is the largest LEED certified building in the region.
The Gateway Quarter is in its fourth phase, bringing new small business and hundreds of residents to vacant buildings in Over-the-Rhine and helping preserve the irreplaceable architecture of the neighborhood.
Passenger rail service will commence in 2012 connecting Cincinnati to Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati. If the trains roll into Union Terminal, a short extension of the streetcar will allow travelers to access Uptown and Downtown without ever needing a car.
And a new casino will be built on Broadway Commons, just two blocks away from the line.
There has been tremendous progress in our urban core over the past three years and more will continue in the future. Building the streetcar will connect all of these investment, create new development along the line, and attract new residents for our urban core.
The streetcar will improve Cincinnati not just for our generation, but for the generations of Cincinnatians who will follow us. In the 19th century, we built the Cincinnati Southern Railway which to this day contributes around $20 million per year to our city’s budget.
The past few years have seen a confluence of positive developments that have set Cincinnati on the right track. After years of stagnation we are moving forward, and the Cincinnati Streetcar is another step in the right direction.
Now’s the time to build the streetcar.
Now’s the time to tie together all of the new development in Uptown and Downtown.
Now’s the time to make Cincinnati a better place to live.
Support Cincinnati—Build the Streetcar.
This blog has previously pointed out many similarities between Cincinnati and Portland. Another similarity is the size of the buildings in their downtown. This chart compares each city’s the twenty tallest buildings:
For those who have never been to Portland, it isn’t a massive metropolis. It is a city about the same size as Cincinnati, and it is able to support a great public transportation system. Support Public Transportation–Build the Streetcar.
The Cincinnati Streetcar will be great for people who already ride the bus because it will improve mobility and connectivity and add another transportation option to the urban core.
Metro operates a hub and spoke system where virtually every route runs downtown to Government Square. There are, however, three cross-town routes, the Rts. 31, 41 and 51 and two functional cross-town routes, the Rts. 1 and 28/50 (not labeled as cross-town routes, but they provide east to west service without a transfer).
The Cincinnati Streetcar will connect with 80% of the cross-town routes in the Metro system as well as circulators like the Rt. 85 Parking Meeter and the Southbank Shuttle. The map below shows the connections between the Cincinnati Streetcar and Metro’s cross-town bus routes.
The Streetcar can also help people have a shorter wait for their connections to a cross-town bus. If someone was at Findlay Market and wanted to transfer to an eastbound Rt. 31 bus at Vine and McMillan, without the streetcar the average wait time throughout the day will be 9 minutes. With the streetcar, the average wait time drops to 6 minutes. Similar time savings would be expected with transfers to the Rt. 51 cross-town and other routes in the system.
The easier it is for people to use public transportation, the more people will use it—reducing pollution and congestion for everyone, even people who have never stepped foot on a bus or a streetcar. The Cincinnati Streetcar will provide more connections for Metro riders, encourage more people to use public transportation and improve the efficiency of our existing transit system. Support Metro—Build the Streetcar.
Notes: Vine and McMillan was selected as the transfer point as Rts. 31, 46, and 78 all have the same time point at that location. Simultaneous connections were presumed to be missed on both bus and streetcar. Streetcar frequency was taken from the Streetcar Feasibility Study. Average wait times were rounded to the nearest minute.
Cincinnati City Council approved $775,000 for environmental studies and preliminary engineering work on the Cincinnati Streetcar project that will run from the riverfront, through Downtown and Over-the-Rhine, and go up the hill to the Uptown neighborhoods surrounding the University of Cincinnati.
The approval of the $775,000 allows for the City to move forward with the proposed Cincinnati Streetcar and maintain its spot in the contest for state and federal transportation dollars that are necessary in order to make the project happen.