Death by Streetcar?
Recently WCPO Channel 9 aired an I-Team investigation entitled “Streetcar will cause accidents & deaths”; a scare story to rack up ratings for February Sweeps. Viewers immediately took to social media to express their outrage of the biased and irresponsible journalism that Cincinnati’s Streetcar project has been subject to for almost 7 years. Referencing incidents with Houston’s MetroRail and the TriMet Light Rail in Portland, Oregon, the four minute exposé misled viewers to believe that streetcars were responsible for traffic collisions and subsequent deaths. Accident numbers overshadowed the facts, which is that motorists and pedestrians were at fault for 96% of all streetcar related incidents. In short, that means that people who failed to yield caused collisions with the streetcar.
Unfortunately, the way WCPO presented their story made it sound like the mere existence of rail in a city was an imminent death trap for citizens. They even produced a fear-mongering chart to list out all the death statistics, which totaled around 300 nationwide over the past 20 years, or 15 annual fatalities.
Here’s how streetcar related incidents compare to other accidents:
Streetcars Are Safer Than…
Snowplows – Ohio State Transportation officials have recorded 80 crashes in the 2013-14 winter
Cows – Cattle kill 22 humans a year
Vending Machines – 38 deaths by people rocking/tilting the machine
Lightning – 23 deaths in 2013
Televisions – 41 fatalities due to TVs falling over in 2012
Helicopters – 420 deaths in 2012, which means you’re 28 times more likely to be killed by Chopper 9, WCPO’s news helicopter, than by the Cincinnati Streetcar
Over-The-Rhine Rail Dog Parade
Due to recent cold and icy weather, the long-time holiday tradition of the Mount Adams Reindog Parade was canceled this year after trying to reschedule it twice. Fortunately, this weekend brought clear skies, warmer temperatures, and a burst of creativity. The Over-The-Rhine Kennel Club held an impromptu dog parade along the streetcar route, from Washington Park along 12th Street and ending at Neon’s, a pet-friendly bar. Participants were encouraged to dress up their pups in costume, as was the tradition with the Reindog Parade, and embark from the Washington Park dog park Sunday afternoon. Dozens attended the event with their furry companions clad in holiday cheer and checked out the construction progress along the route.
Crown Building Opens Along Streetcar Route
Nearly two years after acquisition, Kim Starbuck and Charles Erickson revealed their newly revived property across the street from Findlay Market. The Crown Building, which was scooped up by the pair in 2011, revealed itself to the community just days after construction resumed along the streetcar route. Track welding had ceased directly in front of the building, leaving a giant hole and makeshift footbridge along Elm Street.
A mixed-use development, The Crown will have a restaurant on the ground floor, commercial space on the second floor, and four residential apartments above. The storefront uses an innovative operable window system, the first of its kind certified by an Historic Tax Credit project.The project has also achieved LEED Silver Certification. This landmark building with a breathtaking view of Findlay Market is still looking for tenants who want to take advantage of the benefits of living near a prime streetcar stop. With the route underway, this will be the first of many new renovations of abandoned buildings north of Liberty Street.
Streetcar Update: December 20, 2013
Yesterday, Cincinnati City Council voted to restart streetcar construction after a three week pause to audit the project. Here’s what’s coming up over the next two weeks:
Thursday, Dec. 26
- Rail delivery on Elm Street (Findlay to McMicken). Elm Street will be closed from 11am-4pm.
Friday, Dec. 27 & Saturday, Dec. 28
- Rail installation resumes north of Findlay Market
Monday, Dec. 30
- Rebar installation resumes on Elm Street, north of Findlay Market.
- Building wood forms for trackwork resumes north of Findlay Market, with concrete placement expected Jan. 2-3.
- Work resumes on traffic signals and poles for overhead power.
- Water main work resumes on Walnut & Main streets.
Thursday, Jan. 2
- Excavation for trackwork resumes at Findlay & Elm streets.