Rebuilding Cincinnati’s once proud city-wide streetcar network

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Cincinnati’s great collection of neighborhoods were built off of streetcar lines.

Cincinnati boasted some 222 miles of streetcar tracks that reached all parts of the city. The area became famous for not only its inclines, that allowed streetcars to move passengers up and down the city’s steep hillsides, but also its streetcar vehicles like the Cincinnati PCC, open-air viewing cars, or double-decker streetcars.

The massive network, at its peak, moved approximately 100 million passengers a year and allowed for many of the city’s neighborhoods to grow and prosper. This network, however, was completely ripped out and dismantled by 1951 when lines servicing Clifton and Westwood were shuttered.

Current plans for Cincinnati’s modern streetcar system include lines that would connect Downtown, Over-the-Rhine, Mt. Auburn, Clifton Heights, Avondale, Corryville and potentially University Heights and Fairview. Subsequent extensions could quickly expand the network to Newport, Covington, Queensgate, Walnut Hills, Clifton, Camp Washington, Northside and the West End.

While those plans for future extensions have yet to be completed, construction is moving full steam ahead on phase one and preliminary work on phase two has already begun. Take a look at what those phase one and two lines would look like overlaid on the city’s historical streetcar network. We have lots of work to do!

Cincinnati Streetcar Network

Covington and Newport Pass Resolutions in Support of the Cincinnati Streetcar

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In March, Covington and Newport passed this joint resolution supporting the Cincinnati Streetcar and expressing a desire to extend the Streetcar into Northern Kentucky.  The text of this resolution has been reproduced here for those new to this site.

Newport, KY

The text of the joint resolution with Newport:

WHEREAS, the Cities of Covington and Newport, Commonwealth of Kentucky (Cities) recognize that a strong and economically vital center city is necessary to support a strong and economically vital region, and that the City of Cincinnati’s proposed Streetcar Plan will bring new development, economic vitality, and greater connectivity between any of the region’s exciting cultural institutions; and

WHEREAS, the Cities understand the magnitude of such an investment requires a staged phasing approach that develops and initial critical mass of ridership and development activity within the center city neighborhoods of Cincinnati, and also understands that the system anticipates future extensions into other neighborhoods including Covington and Newport, to create improved mobility and connectivity throughout the region; and

WHEREAS, the Cities recognize the role Streetcars have in encouraging and supporting the exciting, authentic, “walk able” urban neighborhoods desired by talented young professionals, and that these neighborhoods are critical to the region’s success in competition globally for these talented people, both as residents and workers; and

WHEREAS, the Cities endorse and support the Cincinnati Streetcar Plan, its anticipated goals and outcomes, and the phases approach to bringing the benefits of the Streetcar to the region’s center city communities.


Section 1: That the Cities enthusiastically approve the efforts of Cincinnati to develop and implement the Cincinnati Streetcar Plan, and offer their support toward the timely implementation of the Streetcar Plan.

Section 2: That this order/resolution shall take effect and be in full force when passed and recorded according to law.

Passed: 3/24/09

Covington, Kentucky
Covington, Kentucky

Enquirer: NKY Streetcar Poll

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The Enquirer has a poll on their website asking if streetcars connecting NKY and Cincinnati are a good investment.  A large majority of the respondents think streetcars are a good idea.

Even further South

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The Enquirer is reporting that Newport has endorsed the Cincinnati Streetcar and would like to see it extended into Kentucky.

Extending the line would be great for both Cincinnati and Newport connecting attractions like the Aquarium, Newport on the Levee, and the Ovation development as well as linking Newport to Downtown and Uptown.

Running from Newport to the Zoo the Streetcar would link almost every major attraction in the urban core.

Newport, KY
Newport, KY