Welcome to Somewhere Over the Rhine

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Redevelopment in OTR gains recognition

Check out this post I stumbled across today. Its nice to hear that the efforts to improve OTR are getting positive feedback from people outside the city already! He even agrees that the streetcars are an excellent idea!

Joe Urban Blog OTR

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Newport Endorses Cincinnati Streetcars

The Enquirer reports that the City of Newport has officially endorsed the Cincinnati Streetcar stating that it would be excellent for spurring development throughout the region as a whole. I agree. Again, think how nice it would be for folks coming from out of town or the suburbs to just park their car once and be able to enjoy all our city/region has to offer (The Zoo, Aquarium, Stadium, Restaurants, Shopping, and more) with just one simple rail line.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

MTV in Over the Rhine Confirmed: Taking The Stage

About one year ago I posted about a the possibility that MTV would be doing a reality TV series in Over the Rhine based on the SCPA. (MTV in OTR) They were filming pilots at the time, but had not confirmed whether or not the show would actually be produced. Well, apparently now it is! The new show is called "Taking the Stage" and it is scheduled to start airing on MTV March 19. Here's a link to the show's homepage: Taking the Stage

This is great news for Cincinnati and the SCPA. I'm sure all the national and even worldwide attention the show will bring will help boost Cincinnati's reputation in a positive way. MTV has already pointed out on their website that the SCPA has churned out all sorts of very successful students including Sarah Jessica Parker, Nick Lachey, actor Rocky Carroll and director Todd Luiso.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seattle Streetcar Video: This is what the streetcars can do for Cincinnati!!

This video does a nice job showing what a simple streetcar route can bring to a city in a very short period of time.
-1/2 Million riders in its 1st year of operation!
-Grocery Stores downtown (the first in decades), Residential units and businesses springing up all along the route.
-Light Rail System quickly approved and being built.

All of these things and more can happen in Cincinnati once we build the streetcar system.
In my opinion, Cincinnati will have an even greater response to the streetcars given its compact neighborhoods and vibrant historic district. I really believe Over the Rhine will explode with new development, new businesses and thousands of new residents in no time.

This video also does a nice job showing how a modern day streetcar system operates and what it looks like in operation.

A Streetcar Wedding

I heard about this couple's wedding through my wife who works with a friend of the couple. They are asking that all of their guests donate money toward the streetcar instead of buying them gifts. I think this is an awesome way of showing your support for Cincinnati's downtown. Great job guys!
Here's the Link to the Enquirer Article

Monday, March 9, 2009

Streetcar/Rail Transit History Article in Enquirer

There's a great article published in the Enquirer today about Cincinnati's rail history. The article points out the importance of investing in rail transit for economic development for current and future generations. It also points out the fact that rail transit projects have faced opposition in the past much like the opposition the current streetcar project is facing now. Much of this opposition was short sited and ignored important facts. These voices are what led to the demise of our almost completed subway system. This article does a good job explaining why we can't let these same voices destroy our chances of getting rail transit back in to the heart of the city with the Cincinnati Streetcar project. There's also a couple of nice pictures to go along with the read. Check it out!
Read for yourself here.

Also, keep an eye out for this book to be released this month about the history of the Cincinnati inclines. Its called "The Inclines of Cincinnati" and its written by Melissa Kramer, who's quoted in the article above for the research she's done on this fascinating part of Cincinnati history.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mallory Blogs on Soapbox

I wanted to share this post from Soapbox Cincinnati by Mayor Mark Mallory. Again, I'm very pleased we have a Mayor who fully understands the importance of linking our city together with rail transit. He does a nice job summarizing why Cincinnati needs the streetcar system to happen. Way to go Mallory!

"SoapBlog 1 - Cincinnati Streetcar
Mayor Mark Mallory

I want to thank Soapbox for the opportunity to be the guest columnist this week after my State of the City Address last Wednesday. It will be a great opportunity to expand on some of the key priorities that I discussed, and hopefully, get some great feedback and spark further discussion.

Let's start with the topic that got some of the loudest applause at the State of the City and has also drawn some of the harshest criticism: The Cincinnati Streetcar.

In the address, I made it clear that the Streetcar is absolutely crucial to the future of Cincinnati. Over the last few years, we have moved forward on major projects all over the city.

* The Banks is rising out of ground.
* The construction of the new Riverfront Park is underway.
* We are building a new tallest skyscraper, the Great American Building at Queen City Square.
* Over-the-Rhine is undergoing a dramatic transformation with new businesses, hundreds of new condos, a beautiful new school, and expanded park.
* And in Uptown, we are seeing lots of new development around the University and hospitals.

The Streetcar is the project that links them all together and fuels the next round of development.

Now, some have suggested that we cannot do all of these projects at once. I reject that notion. Across the country, the cities that are seen as thriving, growing, and hot, are the cities that are doing big, bold, dynamic projects. We are no different in Cincinnati. In fact, we have a history of tackling big projects that have shaped our landscape and made Cincinnati such a vibrant city.

The other criticism that is leveled at the Streetcar plan is that it diverts millions of dollars from neighborhood projects. The truth is that much of the funding for the Streetcar will come from non-city sources, including state and federal funding and private investment. That funding is only available for a big transit project such as the Streetcar. It would not be available for other projects if we do not build the Streetcar. It would simply vanish.

However, rather than divert funds from other neighborhood projects, by generating as much as $1.4 billion in investment from the first phase alone, the Streetcar will generate increased tax revenue that will be available to spend on programs and projects that will benefit every neighborhood in the city. The increased revenue will help provide more police officers and fire fighters, more money for garbage collection, more money for street repair, more money for parks and recreation, and more money for everything that makes Cincinnati a special place to live.

As I said in the State of the City, the Streetcar will have a dramatic and lasting impact on the future of Cincinnati. It will grow our local economy by spurring economic development by creating new jobs. We have a history of big projects in Cincinnati, and we need to embrace that history and chart a course for a vibrant future for our city.

Now, let me know what you think. We are always looking for feedback. Hopefully, you are a Streetcar supporter, but if not, I am looking forward to making our case and winning your support.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Soapdish: What Lies Beneath

Great article with some really awesome photos of Over the Rhine's Cosmopolitan Hall. I remember being in this building once while it was being used as "the warehouse" nightclub, and I certainly didn't have an appreciation for historic architecture at the time, but even if I had I wouldn't have seen the true hidden beauty of this massive structure. As the article points out, 3CDC currently owns this building (thankfully) and is working on finding a use for it. This is one building in OTR I would DIE to see renovated back to its original glory with some new use. Check out the article below!
Soapdish Article: What Lies Beneath

Monday, March 2, 2009

Perhaps the Dumbest Argument of the Century....

Check out this post The Beacon published today. Click Here for a laugh
These guys publish all kinds of garbage that I usually just ignore because I know its influence on people is so minimal. However, when I got a glance of the title of their post today I couldn't help but point it out. Some of what they wrote in this article should be written in stone and hung in a museum of idiotic comments.
They are actually trying to convince people that because the skywalk system failed, the streetcars are also going to fail. They try to say that the only reason fountain square now has lots of people is because that section of the skywalk was removed! What kind of backwards, insane logic do they use? These arguments are laughably stupid.
Do I even need to explain how dumb their logic is?
Just briefly,
The Skywalk system was built with the idea that it would make getting around from building to building downtown more comfortable and easy with regards to weather and traffic. This in turn was thought to be good for boosting business and encouraging people to spend more time and money downtown. (all of this happened 20-30 years ago when people were still afraid of downtown and didn't understand the importance of a healthy urban core)
However, what it ended up doing was having the opposite effect. It discouraged people from even stepping foot outside. It took people out of the urban landscape. It completely destroyed any chance of creating a walkable, liveable downtown environment that makes for a healthy urban core. So, businesses located outside the skywalk loop lost business, it actually brought fewer people downtown and before too long the skywalks weren't even being used anymore. For a long time now everyone has realized that the skywalks were a bad idea and a big mistake for the reasons pointed out above.

The whole premise of the Streetcar system and all the urban renewal that is going on downtown is to build on the principles of creating a walkable, livable, entertaining downtown where people can be engaged in the urban environment. This will cause more people to want to live and visit downtown. This in turn will attract businesses to move in where they know there will be guaranteed foot and rail traffic. The whole idea is to bring people INTO the urban environment, not move them away from it as the skywalk did. Again, for the millionth time, rail transit has been proven to do this in many other cities similar in size to Cincinnati.

The beacon is trying to convince people that because our city government made a bad decision almost 3 decades ago this somehow means that our current city government doesn't know what its doing. Come on guys, you need to try a little harder. We are living in a completely different time now and a lot has changed since then. Additionally, we've learned a lot about what works and doesn't work for making cities more desirable.
Cincinnati missed the boat on rail transit once before (by not finishing the subway in 1926). Let's not let opportunity pass us by again.

I'm absolutely tired of hearing people use backwards, poorly thought out arguments as to why we shouldn't invest in rail transit. This is by far one of the poorest attempts I've seen yet at trying to sway people away from the streetcars.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Wizard of Oz in Over the Rhine

Today I had the opportunity to visit Music Hall for a performance by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra of The Wizard of Oz. It was a really amazing experience. The movie was shown on a screen above the Orchestra while the Orchestra played the score to the entire film live. It really was amazing to hear the music in person in such a beautiful location with such excellent acoustics.
I can't believe that today was the first time I've taken advantage of Music Hall since moving to Over the Rhine. We live less than a 5 minute walk from Music Hall and after walking there today realized that we need to go to many more performances there since it is so nice and conveniently located.
I guess close proximity to Music Hall is just one more benefit of living in Over the Rhine to add to the already huge list!

Must See Streetcar Report