In the last mayoral debate before the November election, Roxanne Qualls and John Cranley brought up the Cincinnati streetcar 26 times during the hour-long televised program. While Qualls is an avid supporter of the streetcar, Cranley has based his campaign around canceling the project, claiming that it is a waste of money. Curiously, he also stated that he wants to improve Cincinnati and the city’s African American middle class by using the Atlanta economic model. Does John Cranley realize that Atlanta is currently building a streetcar that will open in their urban core in 2014?
Watch the video to find out more:
If you’ve been in Washington Park by Elm Street, you’ve seen that we started removing pavers this week.
The granite pavers have to be taken out so we can prepare the track bed for the streetcar. But don’t worry – they’ll be back! Meser/Prus/Delta will clean the pavers and put them back in Elm Street once track work is finished.
Open for business…
You can still get to Washington Park Garage from Elm Street at this time. Construction teams are also providing pedestrian crossings between Music Hall and Washington Park during this portion of construction.
What is trackwork, anyway?
Steel rails are just one part of the streetcar track. Building the track is a process. When we’re doing embedded trackwork, you’ll see us:
- digging a trench
- laying a gravel base
- creating a steel rebar framework
- laying ties & rails
- pouring the concrete track slab
Obviously, it’s a bit more complicated than that. But as a general overview, that’s what you’ll see.
These photos from Messer/Prus/Delta (taken in Atlanta) illustrate the process.
Progress this week:
- Demolition for the Maintenance & Operations Facility continued at 1910 Elm St. (east building). Soil is being stockpiled for the basement backfilling.
- Exploratory digging for utilities continued on Race Street, between 14th and Liberty streets; and started on Central Parkway between Race and Walnut streets.
- Conduit installation for traffic signals continued on Race between 14th and Green streets.
- Water main installation continued on Central Parkway between Vine and Walnut streets.
- New sewer installation continued on Elm Street by Washington Park; and started one block north, between 14th and 15th streets.
- Paver removal began along Elm Street, next to Washington Park.
- Duke Energy conducted underground gas work on Elm Street between 12th and Wade streets; and on Elm near Green Street.
- Duke Energy also conducted underground electrical work on Main Street between Fifth and Sixth streets; and on Walnut Street near Court Street.
- Notification to businesses and residents concluded on Elm Street across from Washington Park and began on Elm Street between 14th and 15th streets.
Planned for next week:
- Water main installation will continue on Walnut Street between Ninth Street and Central Parkway. Traffic will be minimally restricted at all times.
- Conduit installation for traffic signals will continue on Race Street between 13th and 15th streets. Work will start on Elm Street near Liberty Street; and on Race Street between Findlay and Henry streets. Traffic will be minimally restricted at all times.
- Exploratory digging will resume on Elm Street near Liberty Street. Traffic will be minimally restricted at all times.
- New sewer installation will continue on Elm Street between 14th and 15th street. 14th Street will be closed from Central Parkway to Race Street.
- Demolition for the Maintenance & Operations Facility will continue at 1910 Elm St. (east building). Traffic will be minimally restricted at all times.
- Paver removal will continue along Elm Street, next to Washington Park. Existing pavement and rail removal also will start along this stretch of Elm Street. Traffic will be limited to one lane. The entrance to Washington Park Garage will be maintained.
- Duke Energy will conduct underground gas work on Race Street near Findlay Street; and on Race Street between Liberty and Elder streets.
- Duke Energy will also conduct underground electrical work on Main Street between Fifth and Sixth streets; and on Walnut Street near Court Street.
- Notification to businesses and residents will continue on Elm Street between 14th and 15th streets.
By now we should all know that well-planned infrastructure projects can have a tremendously positive impact on our communities. Since phase one of the Cincinnati Streetcar system was announced, billions of dollars have been invested along the route.
Now not all of this can be attributed to the streetcar project, but some of it certainly can, and we haven’t even started laying track down yet. New residents and business owners continue to come out and tell us how the promise of the Cincinnati Streetcar is helping drive their investment in our city center.
It’s no different just 7 hours south along I-75 in Atlanta where the promise of the Atlanta BeltLine project has been driving private investment.
For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the Atlanta BeltLine project, it is a multi-modal transportation and recreation project circling Atlanta’s inner-city neighborhoods. The final product will eventually include streetcars and light rail, bike/ped trails, parks, and what local leaders hope is a slew of private mixed-use development focused around transit and walkability.
So far project leaders can only celebrate the completion of four parks, 5.5 miles of paved bike/ped paths, and 6.5 miles of unpaved “interim” paths.
But hey, don’t just take our word for it…Jim?
Guest post by Randy Simes, editor of UrbanCincy:
Cincinnati has a rich history and one that has grown into a strong, unique and powerful city through the 20th Century. From pigs and soap, to branding and design, Cincinnati has risen to the challenge of meeting the demands of the new economies. What will happen over the next century is still to be seen for what was the most important city built west of the Appalachian Mountains for many years.
In order to stay competitive in the 21st Century it has been seen that cities will have to attract the best and brightest talent. That talent is in turn being attracted to cities where social capital is grown and cultivated, but it is imperative that this talent come and stay here in Cincinnati. Part of that answer is the Cincinnati Streetcar. The Cincinnati Streetcar will introduce rail transit to Cincinnati and will make living in the center city easier for those who wish to live car-free or prefer to use other means of transportation like walking, bicycling or transit.
The best and brightest talent has been voting with their feet over the past ten years and they are heading for places like Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Denver and in the Midwest’s case, Minneapolis. These cities are working hard to create livable urban spaces that cultivate this social capital experience that is going to determine the winners and losers of the next great economic shift. The Cincinnati Streetcar is crucial in moving in that direction to stay competitive, and it will help us in other livable qualities. I want to have a better Cincinnati for not only those of us here now, but the next generation to come. Support Cincinnati’s future and support the Cincinnati Streetcar.