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

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Streetcar Discussion a Success

The City of Cincinnati hosted a streetcar forum yesterday on UC's campus inviting experts from cities all over the country where streetcar systems are already in use and thriving. According to this article from the Enquirer, the forum was a great success.
It really sounds like the bottom line was to get started right away, waiting is a mistake.
Anyone who denies the benefits of streetcars after hearing how well they work in so many other cities would be a fool. Its obvious that none of these cities regret putting in streetcars at all. In fact, they all said that once you get one line in the next biggest debate will be "What neighborhoods will get the next expansion line first?"
Mark Mallory was there and assured everyone that Cincinnati will have streetcars.
I'm very happy for our city. The changes we have to look forward to in the upcoming years are very exciting to say the least.

I think this is my favorite quote from the article:
The panelists struggled to explain why streetcars attract more riders than buses. Johnsen cited a Tacoma, Wash. bus line that carried 175,000 people a year was replaced by a streetcar, and ridership jumped to 800,000 a year.

“It’s the magic of an urban experience that goes beyond a diesel-burning bus,” Villines said.

Its funny how opponents to the streetcar system here use the excuse "Why not just take the bus?" This is proof that buses do not appeal to people as much as fixed rail will. The best way I can think to explain this is that rail transit offers a reliable and easily predictable route. When you hop on a streetcar or subway train you actually see the route its traveling and you know that as long as you remember where those tracks are you can easily get back to where you came from. It just doesn't work that way with buses.
My hope is that the city really takes the advice of the other cities to heart and starts working on the streetcars immediately. Every year we don't have streetcars is another year we are behind the times.

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