Those of you who have been to Portland have been able to see first-hand how transformative their modern streetcar system has been. Several neighborhoods have seen massive private investment as a result of the system’s various lines, and the latest extension east across the city’s river is now causing the same impact there.
Hassalo on Eighth, a $200M mixed-use development, is the largest in the city’s history and sits right on the streetcar line. It is located in a part of town called the Lloyd District, which has long been dominated by automobile-oriented buildings.
The new project has already torn down parking garages and will replace them with a 21-story tower, a 6-story structure and a 5-story building. Those three buildings will house 657 residential units and 58,000 square feet of commercial space. The project will also retrofit 240,000 square feet of existing commercial space.
Modern streetcar systems have the ability to be game changers if done right. Cincinnati’s will be no different.
Instead of investments being focused on cars (parking garages and travel speeds), they will be focused on people and how they move about their urban environment.
We may not see a massive $200M project like this along the first phase of the Cincinnati Streetcar, but there is no doubt that a project like this will come along at some point. And that will just be the icing on the cake after all of the other private investments.
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 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.
The Portland Streetcar opened in 2001. The 2000 census figures placed the population of the Portland MSA at 1,927,881. By 2008 Portland’s population had risen to 2,207,462—an increase of 279,581. If this increase was evenly distributed over the eight years, that would be an increase of 34,948 people a year, resulting in a 2001, the year the streetcar opened, population of 1,962,829. The current population of Cincinnati’s MSA is 2,155,137 or 9.79% higher than Portland’s was when their streetcar opened.
Metro Portland Year Streetcar Opened Population: 1,962,829
Metro Cincinnati Population, Current: 2,155,137