John Schneider joins Scott Sloan on 700WLW to discuss streetcars

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Long-time bus rider and streetcar proponent, John Schneider, joined Scott Sloan on 700WLW AM last week to discuss the status of the Cincinnati Streetcar project, and how phase one will move forward from here.

The show aired on Thursday, June 27 and John spoke with Scott for about 20 minutes. They discussed everything from financing for the project, ongoing operations, comparisons of the project to other cities, and how the project might change the psychology of the city.

Following the conversation with John, the host then proceeded to discuss the project from a personal level and then took some calls from people with thoughts about the project. The ensuing conversation ranged from everything from the Riverfront Transit Center, stadium sales tax deal, progress in and around the center city, to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Guest Post: Why Cincinnati Needs Streetcars

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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.

Cincinnati’s Transit Ridership Lags Behind Peer Cities

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Cincinnati is the 24th largest metro area in the country. Compared to similarly sized cities, our transit ridership is much lower.  Denver, Pittsburgh, Portland, and Cleveland all have rail systems and they all have over double the transit ridership of bus-only Cincinnati.  Two things are clear, rail attracts more riders than bus systems, and cities of a similar size to Cincinnati are large enough to support rail.

Transit Ridership Chart

Note: Pittsburgh Yearly Ridership data is extrapolated from daily ridership data. Cincy USA includes both Metro and TANK.