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.

Phase one gets an additional $22.4M in funding, utility work progresses

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Streetcar Utility Relocation WorkIt’s been quite a while since we’ve last updated you on the project, but there has been a bunch of news lately and we wanted to catch you up-to-speed with what’s happening.

First off, City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee approved $17.4 million in additional funding for the project on Monday by a 5-4 vote (Sittenfeld, Smitherman, Thomas and Winburn opposed), and also approved a motion that requests Mayor Mallory’s administration to provide regular updates on phase one work, and develop a funding plan and time frame for phase two work.

While these votes don’t become final until the full City Council votes on them, which will take place tomorrow at 2pm, we expect both items to pass with the same margins as they did in committee since it is made up of the full council.

The approval of the additional $17.4 million will then trigger the allocation of an additional $5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation, courtesy of its TIGER grant program. This money would not be available if council does not approve the full $17.4 million tomorrow.

“The DOT continues to support your bold vision for economic development and enhanced transportation choices for the city of Cincinnati, and we believe that this project is a significant component of that vision,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood explained in his grant letter to the City of Cincinnati.

Construction work also is progressing.

City Manager Milton Dohoney says that Greater Cincinnati Water Works has completed all of its work in Over-the-Rhine and that Cincinnati Bell has begun moving manholes along the route. Dohoney also says that Duke Energy has finally begun electric work in the Central Business District and that Level 3 has also begun to move its lines.

Work has yet to begin on relocated utilities from Time Warner Cable and the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), but Dohoney states that agreements are being finalized with Time Warner, and the MSD is putting its work out to bid.

With regards to the vehicles themselves, city officials traveled to Spain earlier this month to “review technical specifications, engineering and safety measures for the vehicles.”

And finally, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) has entered into a contract with Transportation Resource Associates (TRA), out of Philadelphia, to “revise and refine” the existing operations and maintenance plan for the project.

A lot of work is still to come, and this is shaping up to be a year with lots of exciting benchmarks. Make sure you connect with us on Twitter at @CincyStreetcar and like us on our Facebook page to ensure you’re getting the latest information.

Rain, Rain…

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It feels like it hasn’t stopped raining all week.  It would be great to be able to hop on a streetcar to get out of the rain on your way to lunch, a meeting, or to return materials to the library.

What’s the Best Way to Get 150 UC Students Home from the Fireworks?

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We have previously examined the difficulties of large groups of UC students wanting to use public transportation to go a Bengals game.  What if the same 150 students wanted to take the bus back to UC from the fireworks?  As in the previous post, we will assume that any public transportation that comes to pick up the students will be about ¼ full (probably a low estimate as the streetcar and buses would be busy after the fireworks).

The first firework goes off at 9:05pm and the show lasts about 30 minutes.  Google estimates a 16 minute walk from Yeatman’s Cove back to Government Square, which doesn’t account for fighting the crowd.

If the students are lucky, the first group will catch the 9:50pm bus, a 17, but given the crowds that seems unlikely they will make it up to government square in time. (Even without the crowds, they would probably be late).

If the Students arrive at Government Square at around 10pm, the first bus to UC, a 17, will come at 10:20pm. Around 35 students would add to those currently on the bus and fill it to capacity.  This group would be back in their dorms studying away by 10:35pm.

The second bus, a 46, would arrive at 10:35pm, and would fill to capacity.  This group makes it home before 11pm.

The third bus, a 17, would arrive at 10:55pm, after the students had been waiting for almost an hour.

The fourth bus and the fifth bus, a 17 and 46 both arrive at 11:50pm.  This group of students will make it back after midnight.   Hopefully there aren’t many other students, who weren’t a part of this 150 that thought the fireworks were a good idea, because there is only one more bus that runs from Government Square to UC for them to catch.

After Cincinnati invests in a streetcar and it begins operations, the students would walk about 10 minutes to Main and Freedom way, wait about ten minutes (maybe less if a streetcar was approaching when they arrive), would all board the same streetcar, and return to UC.

Building the Cincinnati Streetcar will make it easier to take transit between some of our densest neighborhoods, neighborhoods where parking comes at a premium.  A Streetcar will boost transit ridership, introduce new riders to public transportation and create jobs in our center city—helping all 52 neighborhoods by growing our tax base. Make Riding Transit Easier—Build the Streetcar