In addition to providing connectivity and stimulating economic development, streetcars improve the urban environment in additional ways. Because they are electric, they don’t produce street level emissions. Diesel fumes really detract from patrons enjoying sidewalk cafes or people enjoying the parks along the route.
Same with the noise. Buses are very loud, especially when as they reach the end of their service life, while streetcars quietly glide along the rails. Think of how many times you have been walking down a street missed what someone was saying on your cell phone due to the noise of a passing bus.
If we want to attract more residents to live downtown and in Over-the-Rhine, we need to focus on improving the urban environment. The streetcars will do that more than adding more buses on a downtown loop ever could. Streetcars will bring economic development, population growth, and mobility. Buses will bring mobility, but the increased noise and emissions, along with their impermanence, will cut down on their potential to create growth and development.