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A site dedicated to Cincinnati's Over the Rhine neighborhood.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Peter Bronson Lashes Out Against Streetcars

Peter Bronson recently published an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer about his short-sited views on the Streetcars. He reported a very biased review of the Streetcar Debate hosted by the Blue Chip Young Republicans between Councilman Chris Bortz and Chris Monzel. In this article he continues to harp on the argument that there will not be enough ridership to cover the costs of the annual operations. Though this may be true based on CURRENT population studies, what they have failed to acknowledge is the fact that streetcars attract many new residents. Its obvious that once the streetcars are being built and start being used the population of OTR, Downtown, and Uptown neighborhoods are expected to increase drastically. Opponents of the plan have very conveniently overlooked this important fact.
Additionally, his article completely failed to offer any alternatives for boosting our urban core and attracting people back to the heart of the city. At best they say that "neighborhoods want more police." Sure, lets spend $185 million on the police department and see what results from that. I'm sure people will just start flocking to the neighborhood after that!
Please take the time to write Peter Bronson at pbronson@enquirer.com and let him know that his arguments are flawed and that the city of Cincinnati truly does want streetcars in its neighborhoods!

Here are some examples of the kind of ridiculous statements he made:

The title "Streetcars don't boost neighborhoods"
...Really? Do you have any proof of that? I doubt it. In fact, there's a lot of evidence out there that proves the opposite is true. Streetcars DO boost neighborhoods!

"Empty all the soup kitchens and drug rehab centers, then round up all the homeless guys, panhandlers and drug dealers, and there still won't be enough riders in Over-the-Rhine to make a streetcar break even."
...Hmm, Sounds as if this guy thinks that this is all OTR has to offer. What a shame. He hasn't opened his eyes too much.

"Most in the crowd were not aboard." REALLY!?! WOW! You sure are observant. Could that be because it was a "young republicans" sponsored event? Genius.

"Being stuck in traffic behind a glorified bus on tracks that goes 10 mph is not a way to lure people downtown."
...A glorified bus? Again, these people are not using any commonsense. How many times do I have to say this? Streetcars are not buses. They are rail transit. It has been proven over and over again that rail transit is a guaranteed way to ensure neighborhood stability, promote economic development, and attract private investment (new residents) in the area surrounding the tracks.

"I don't get it. I admire Bortz for trying to do something bold and positive. But he has a long hill to climb with that electric train set."
Of course you "don't get it." You've probably never been to a city where people actually don't depend solely on SUVs for their every transport need. Open your eyes and mind! Go to New York, Chicago, Wash. DC, Portland, even Canada, and see for yourself how well good public transit works. We'll never be Manhattan, but we can easily be a minature version of it. Our city is very unique. We have a historic neighborhood unmatched by any other in the U.S. Its still set-up for rails and is perfect for the kind of development the streetcars will bring. If you don't have an interest in urban living then stay in the suburbs and vote for McCain. You won't notice whats going on downtown anyway so why do you care?

"One of the biggest potholes was pointed out by Blue Chip Young Republicans President Jeff Capell: "How do you guarantee it's not going to be another annual welfare case like the Freedom Center?" he asked."
How is that a pothole at all? Actually its pretty easy to see that this is nothing like the Freedom Center project. The Freedom Center is a museum. It was never promised to be a way to attract new residents or boost economic development. Is that form of deductive reasoning how you make all of your decisions in life? The Freedom Center is a completely unrelated problem. Just because the council made one faulty decision with a museum doesn't mean we should just scrap all of their other projects. Besides, the banks project is now underway. It took way too long to get started, but its happening now. In a few short years our riverfront will finally be able to compete with Newport's. Its easy to see that this will all be helped along greatly by a good, reliable way to get people to and from their place of work or home to a central place for entertainment.

Its time that the people of Cincinnati stop letting stagnant, suburban, conservatives run their town.


Queer in the Cincy said...

I mean, I'm not a big fan of the idea. I think they are a bit cheezy and probably, maybe, a little too... well, expected. I don't see them as being, ultimately, very useful. As a bus rider (ha -- I love throwing this into conversation), I think I'm mildly anti-streetcar.

From a personal note, I think we should put money into hiring bus drivers who don't yell at me because I am texting.

Jason said...

Hmm, thats interesting. Could you elaborate more on why you think streetcars are "cheezy?" I have a feeling its because you think they will look like Trolley's from Mr. Rogers. Again, they will not be like that at all. They look just like subway trains, only shorter. They can sometimes have as many as 3-6 cars. The point is not to be decorative or novel. The point is to be fixed, easy to find, dependable and not driven by bus driver's who hate their job.
I see this as Cincinnati's best and only chance to secure the future of its most historic and important neighborhood while at the same time ensuring unity between its two biggest job centers. Its about the future. Please support the streetcars, I'm certain no one will regret it.

Chris S said...

Great rebuttal to Bronson there Jason. That article got me quite fuming. I was at that debate, not only did he twist commentors words, he neglected to discuss how Monzel's ridership numbers are a) wrong based on the number of hours and days of operation and b) even if not wrong, easily attainable. Each streetcar needs to only maintain 10% capacity (17 riders) in order to hit that given the frequency of the routes. Does Monzel REALLY think that 17 riders on each 3 car streetcar is not attainable? In Downtown? I mean really.

Anyhow, dunno if you saw it yet, but the support the streetcar bumper stickers are available in many fine shops in OTR and the CBD. Not to pimp my product too hard (I am not making a dime on this, just trying to recover costs), but here's the link to them on my blog here

Also, to queer in the cincy, I am a bus rider too (in fact so much so that I put together my own site to allow me to work the maps to figure out where I want to go because the metro maps are so bad link)
That said, I prefer to ride my bike. Transportation wise, you could set up very rapid pickup buses (keep in mind that a streetcar car comes ever 5 minutes) and accomplish the same ends (as far as transportation goes). But people don't invest along bus routes, they provide zero economic stimulus in terms of neighborhood development. The streetcar has many ends, and none of them are exclusive

Mandy said...

jason--does the enquirer accept letters to the editor? you really have to send them your rebuttal. i think it's smart and passionate and hugely important for the mass of undecideds and apathetics to hear what The People have to say.

jfd said...

Bronson's idea for urban revitalization is to support a suburbanite perpetrated, mega mall for the under served called Citylink. It's interesting, that he believes in the concept of, " if you build it they will come", for the unneeded capacity this, destructive and unwanted hinderance to the progress of the urban core will bring; yet when it comes to something that will attract property owners and taxpayers, the concept doesn't work. Citylink may have won the zoning battle in court; but the fight is far from over. Visit, notocitylink.com

ctm said...

Peter Bronson is a jackass. I've read 2-3 of his editorials in the past. He's a bad writer, his reasoning is pathetic and his morals are aloof... I'm not surprised that he is against the streetcars and it doesn't bother me because I ignore him 100% of the time. Same for WLW... I never listen, nor read about that station. Waste of your time/my time...

Jimmy_James said...

I strongly agree that the streetcar will be a huge boost for this city; a crucial first step to obtaining a more comprehensive light rail system. I was a little confused about this part of your rebuttal, though:

"If you don't have an interest in urban living then stay in the suburbs and vote for McCain."

Does McCain have an anti-urban agenda that I'm unaware of, or was that comment solely made because the debate was hosted by the young republicans? I'm not trying to be a jerk, it's just that I know a lot of Republicans in the city and even more Democrats in the suburbs, so I don't see the correlation. I don't know anything about McCain's stance on urbanism or rail though, and if he is an opponent of these things, I'd be interested in finding that out.

Jason said...

Yes, that comment was made solely because the debate was hosted by the young republicans. I did not mean to imply that McCain or other republicans have any particular stance on urban living or public transit. Sorry for the confusion.

Jimmy_James said...

No problem. I just hadn't heard McCain make any statements on urban living or mass transit whatsoever, and a negative attitude towards those topics would alter my view of him as a candidate. Thanks for clarifying.

Queer Cincinnati said...

Where are they going, exactly, again? And how many people will they serve? That's my question here. They're tourist items.

"Look, we're a big city, too."

They're going to run, what, from DT to Clifton and few other places? Eh. I say improve the bus system. LOL -- which is an opinion I didn't have until this conversation began.

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