washington park

Over-The-Rhine Rail Dog Parade

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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.

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Community of 75+ Bikes the Streetcar Route

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Over 75 people turned out for a 3.6-mile bike ride along the Cincinnati Streetcar route held last week. Margy and Mel Ride Bikes, a community group of leisure bicyclers, organized the ridealong tour which started at Findlay Market. Social media and word-of-mouth attracted the large number of participants, who ranged from streetcar supporters to those who knew little about the route and were curious to see where it would go.

Led by Sarah Perrino, City of Cincinnati Transportation Designer, and Chris Eilerman, Streetcar Project Manager, the tour showcased an up-close look at the construction progress and discussed the milestones for completion. Cyclists rang their bells at each of the stops to indicate where the streetcar will pick up future passengers. Queen City Bike was also on hand to provide safety demonstrations on how to ride carefully during construction, and how to ride a bike on a street with rails in the ground. Traveling the entire loop took around 90 minutes.

Cincinnati’s streetcars will have room to hold six bicycles per vehicle, which can easily be wheeled on board with curb-level boarding. In contrast, a METRO bus only holds two bicycles per vehicle, which must be hoisted and secured on the exterior rack without any assistance from the bus driver. Children’s bikes are too small to fit in the rack, and bikes are not permitted inside the bus. If the rack is full, you must wait for another bus.

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Departing from Findlay Market, bicyclers traveled north along Elm Street, passing the Maintenance and Operations Facility construction on Henry Street, then rode south on Race Street through Over-the-Rhine. Crossing Central Parkway, the route continues south into the Central Business District on Walnut Street, looping around at The Banks and back north on Main Street. Returning to Over-the-Rhine, the tour rode along 12th Street to Elm Street, then back to Findlay Market. Afterwards, the cyclists convened at Rhinegeist, a brewery that opened on the route this summer inside the historic Christian Moerlein Brewery.

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What’s that Giant Hole?

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You may have noticed some giant holes surrounded by wooden fencing appearing along the streetcar route. This is part of the utility relocation and improvement work being conducted by Duke Energy.

Recently, two of these giant holes were created near Washington Park on Race Street and 12th Street as Duke upgraded its power transformers. In a suburban neighborhood, these transformers are what you’d typically see up on poles, but in the city, they are buried underneath the street. Many of the old transformers in Over-the-Rhine are in need of modernization as they have been insulated with asbestos. Transformer upgrades are one of many utility improvements made possible by funding from the streetcar construction contract.

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Streetcar Workers serenaded with “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad”

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A second grade class from School For Creative & Performing Arts surprised workers at the 12th and Elm Street construction site, warming their hearts with a song. A crew of 20 from Prus Construction and Delta Railroad had spent the cold, drizzly day setting forms in preparation to pour concrete when the students arrived. Marching in single file, each with a handmade paper engineer’s hat, the train of children stationed themselves in front of the work site.

Complete with choreographed dance moves and a train whistle blown on cue, the students cheerfully sang “I’ve Been Workin’ On The Railroad” to the construction workers. The crew looked on in awe, some whipping out their cell phones to capture a video of the moment. Afterwards, the children delivered a handmade card to one of the crew members. It read “Thank you to all the hard workers,” and was signed by the class.