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Cincinnati Streetcar / Cincinnati Bell Connector News

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So weird to see it. It's real.

 

It'll be interesting to see what they sound like.  The Skoda cars are very quiet but have a subtle hi-pitched "wash" noise that they make when applying power.   

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That looks white and gold to me.

 

Weird... it looks blue and black to me.

Is this a joke? Because its the same color as that yellow container under the plastic in that same picture. The only blue I see is from the railing in the background and something blue coming from the garbage can

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That looks white and gold to me.

 

Weird... it looks blue and black to me.

Is this a joke? Because its the same color as that yellow container under the plastic in that same picture. The only blue I see is from the railing in the background and something blue coming from the garbage can

 

Yes.  It was an internet thing that went viral a few months ago.  So much so that it was on every newscast, morning show, etc. for days as well:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/28/business/a-simple-question-about-a-dress-and-the-world-weighs-in.html

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I got the joke right away FWIW.  Thanks for the laugh and kudos on making the connection.

 

I think seeking these roll down the street will go further than anything to put the kibosh on all the negativity.

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I'm not sure how this happened, but somehow the hand rail at the Findlay Market stop along Elm got totally bent over.

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I'm a bit surprised that a year after the first stations started being damaged by cars that the local media hasn't gone nuts with a story (or maybe it's in the cue and they're waiting for the perfect slow news day).  Of course the issue will be blamed on the inanimate stations, not the idiot drivers. 

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A number of the stations have been hit or scraped by cars, which has caused the streetcar team to install yellow bollards on the side of the stops that is most likely to be hit. But in the case of the photo above, I don't even know how that would happen. It looks like the car drove up onto the station and hit the handrail on the far side. Anyway, at that stop, the right lane will become a streetcar-only lane, so cars will not even get close to that stop. I hope that the streetcar only lanes are striped with thick white diagonal lines to send a clear message that cars are not supposed to be there -- especially the one on Central Parkway.

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I'm a bit surprised that a year after the first stations started being damaged by cars that the local media hasn't gone nuts with a story (or maybe it's in the cue and they're waiting for the perfect slow news day).  Of course the issue will be blamed on the inanimate stations, not the idiot drivers.

 

How do cars (even if driven by idiots) get up onto the stations to crash into the railings? The stations are raised up so high that it seems like cars shouldn't be able to jump up on top of them.

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I talked with the guys painting the building at the NE corner of Race and 12th last week and they said that after the streetcar is operational, OSHA would not allow them to paint a building near the live wire and that they would have to paint in the middle of the night.  Is that true?  They are using lifts, but seems like you could use scaffolding and still stay pretty far from the line.  Of course scaffolding is not usually used just for a paint job.

 

That has nothing to do with OSHA and everything to do with a new permit that the city is issuing to work near the wires. It sounds like their plan is to try painting in the middle of the night to avoid getting a permit.

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^ That photo looks like the work of a large delivery truck (u-haul?) backing up, since the truckbed would hover about the height of the lowest point of damage.  I think the street is one way in the other direction, but maybe someone was turned backwards for ease of unloading.

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I got the joke right away FWIW.  Thanks for the laugh and kudos on making the connection.

 

I read it while in a breakout session at a work conference and started laughing it loud. I just had to run out into the hallway. Thanks for that Jimmy_James.

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I talked with the guys painting the building at the NE corner of Race and 12th last week and they said that after the streetcar is operational, OSHA would not allow them to paint a building near the live wire and that they would have to paint in the middle of the night.  Is that true?  They are using lifts, but seems like you could use scaffolding and still stay pretty far from the line.  Of course scaffolding is not usually used just for a paint job.

 

That has nothing to do with OSHA and everything to do with a new permit that the city is issuing to work near the wires. It sounds like their plan is to try painting in the middle of the night to avoid getting a permit.

 

Can you explain the permit?  Costs?  Is it in effect now or just when the lines are energized?

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The OCS wire for the OTR loop is nearly complete!  They just made the turn from Race back to 12th last night. Haven't seen if they also completed it through to Elm.  Honestly, I find the span wires that hold the OCS to be LESS intrusive than the OCS arms. Who would have thought...

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The OCS wire for the OTR loop is nearly complete!  They just made the turn from Race back to 12th last night. Haven't seen if they also completed it through to Elm.  Honestly, I find the span wires that hold the OCS to be LESS intrusive than the OCS arms. Who would have thought...

 

I do too. Is there a reason the arms have to be silver and can't be black?

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Two things:

 

a) Do the doors open automatically or must a button be pressed?  In winter it's very nice when the door doesn't just open automatically.

 

b) Munich streetcars are getting a "countdown to departure" on the train itself when they are sitting in the end stations.  Is the plan in Cincinnati to have the trains sit at either end of the stretch? 

 

 

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Two things:

 

a) Do the doors open automatically or must a button be pressed?  In winter it's very nice when the door doesn't just open automatically.

 

b) Munich streetcars are getting a "countdown to departure" on the train itself when they are sitting in the end stations.  Is the plan in Cincinnati to have the trains sit at either end of the stretch? 

 

 

The streetcars have two modes. "Summer" and Winter."  In both modes you'll have to request a stop to get off the streetcar. In Summer the doors will all open automatically. In Winter the doors will remain closed unless you press a button on the individual door and then only that door will open.

 

Streetcars will only layover at the North end of the line if necessary. In all of our preliminary schedules we keep the streetcar running constantly and have a short operator relief at the MOF, but that is subject to the operators discretion, whoever that will end up being.

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The OCS wire for the OTR loop is nearly complete!  They just made the turn from Race back to 12th last night. Haven't seen if they also completed it through to Elm.  Honestly, I find the span wires that hold the OCS to be LESS intrusive than the OCS arms. Who would have thought...

 

 

I do too. Is there a reason the arms have to be silver and can't be black?

 

I'm guessing the reason they're not painted black is so they never have to be repainted, which would cause the streetcar to have to be shut down during that process. True, they could paint them overnight, but it's kind of hard to paint in the dark and get a good finish. I looked at some of the photos I've taken of the Portland Streetcar, and they are the same. I've never even noticed them on the many trips I've out there. I think when the finish dulls a little, they will be very unobtrusive.

 

Of interest, all the trackwork will be finished by the end of August, including a week hiatus for the All-Star Game. I think they are way ahead of schedule on the trackwork. We might be looking at an early start of streetcar service.

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So the city budget came out today in the Enquirer. I had no idea the sheer stupidity of comparing the Police/Fire budget to the streetcar budget. The former is going to end up being 27,000% larger than the latter.

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http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2015/05/13/budget-roads-cops-pension-payment/27230641/

 

The city will spend a comically small amount of money on streetcar operations, given all of the controversy surrounding it.  In 2015-16 streetcar start-up costs will consume one quarter of one percent of the city's operations budget. 

 

Let's look at that from the "I don't want to pay for it because I will never use it" argument: The average Dunnhumby worker will pay over $100 a month for police and fire, a service they will statistically never use. They will pay 43 cents a month for streetcar operations, a service they will probably use at least once a year.

 

"But you can't look at police and fire that way, their presence adds value to the city even if you're not using it."

 

And the streetcar doesn't?

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Nice building next to Barr's Loans in the 1700 block of Vine is listed at $250K:

http://www.trulia.com/property/3201616097-1734-1732-Vine-St-Cincinnati-OH-45202#photo-2

 

This was a $25k~ building 10 years ago -- obviously the wording of the listing is aimed at an investor looking to put $500k+ into rehabbing this into hi-end apartments or condos.  The streetcar has undeniably accelerated the pace of OTR's redevelopment. 

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That area is still really rough. I walk past it very regularly and the condition of the sidewalks, trash, and general loitering is a huge combination of issues to tackle. Probably 80% of storefronts and 50% of buildings in the area are vacant That's not going to be a high-end condo building for a fairly long time. I understand that the pace of redevelopment is astonishing, but this will likely be the second-to-last spot in OTR to be redeveloped (after the Mohawk area between Central Parkway and McMicken)

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That area is a cupcake compared to what it was before the Sheriff's patrols in 2006.  That was 9 years ago so pretty much nobody under 30 remembers the total lawlessness that characterized the entirety of Over-the-Rhine in the 80s and 90s.   

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Sorry if this is a stupid question, but...does the streetcar always stop/start at designated streetcar boarding locations or is it like a bus where if someone requests a stop it will stop at the nearest possible spot? I had always assumed it started and stopped at the same locations regardless if anyone was getting off or on.

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MPD is sawing through 7th street on main right now. very exciting. This weekend they will pour across 9th st & they're already laying the rebar & track bed around 8th.

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I was looking at St. Petersburg, Russia on Google Earth and happened upon these sorry streetcar stations in a Communist-era public housing suburb:

stpetersburg_zpsfmzzkqaf.jpg

 

stpetersburg2_zpst3wsparb.jpg

 

This is what doing things the absolute cheapest way looks like.  Notice how the streetcar's overhead wire is supported by cables stretching the entire width of this wide road rather than by purpose-built poles. 

 

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Witnessed someone spill on race by findlay market.  She was on a mountain bike with fat tires and hit the groove next to the track just right.  Was glad she wasn't hurt.

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^I ride bikes in Philly all the time when I go visit my kids.  Philly has streetcars on the north and west sides, but there are still rails all over the city (many unused). I think I've seen posts about this before on this thread, but it's worth repeating...you have to be be very mindful of where the tracks are and cross them at an angle; don't try riding parallel to the rail close to the rail.  Definitely this is going to take some education---"Mind the groove" maybe? (As a variation on "Mind the gap" which comes from London Transports education thing about boarding trains safely.)

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I saw someone wipe out just the other day at the tracks down at Sawyer Point. It's going to be a bit of a learning curve, perhaps especially because of the fact that our streetcar doesn't stay in a straight line at places like 14th and Race, 6th and Walnut, and probably lots of other locations.  If you're biking north-south, you will have to be very careful in these locations where the tracks shift in the lane.

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Believe me, if it's something about streetcars in North America you can count on one thing...Toronto has been there, done that!  Here's what they tell the public about bicycle safety.  And if this isn't enough if you google "toronto transit commission streetcar bicycle safety" a long report comes up that was apparently done under the direction of a civil or traffic engineer.

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Bike advocates need to tone it down with blaming cars, tracks, or whatever for why they can't go out and enjoy bicycling to wherever. 

 

This is a knucklehead move by this bicyclist...don't try to blame it on the truck!

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^Right. It appears the cyclist was riding parallel to the tracks close to the tracks, something you just don't do. I know the area this video was filmed in it's one of the areas where streetcars haven't operated for decades yet they never removed the rails.

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^Right. It appears the cyclist was riding parallel to the tracks close to the tracks, something you just don't do. I know the area this video was filmed in it's one of the areas where streetcars haven't operated for decades yet they never removed the rails.

 

There are all sorts of situations one encounters while biking where the back wheel can kick out like this.  For example, hopping up onto the sidewalk nearly in line with the curb -- you're going to wipe out if you only jump the front wheel and not the entire bike. Another is swerving on gravel or on wet pavement. This is something so basic I don't know how people don't sense it instinctively. 

 

I don't think there's any danger in riding between the streetcar tracks if you're paying attention to what is going on and are ready to hop over the tracks if something weird happens.  The problem with the current wave of bicycling popularity is that people want to have everything laid out in front of them and they want to be able to tune out and take a nap while biking down the street.  That's not what biking is. 

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Finished track passing by Government Square. Also note the new concrete bus pad at Area D.

 

17573961899_8c5de71cd2_c.jpg

 

 

Walnut & 3rd was finished earlier this month, leaving only a short gap of track that still needs to be completed.

 

17572345478_712795d758_c.jpg

 

 

 

Central Parkway has been resurfaced, although it was only for the lanes directly on either side of the track. I'm not sure if they're going to come back and repave the rest of the street later or if that's beyond the scope of the project.

 

17630214519_d5c19f6724_c.jpg

 

17630195599_009ef82e00_c.jpg

 

17628607088_eaef7a5075_c.jpg

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Taste of Cincinnati will be held this weekend. For many people who never go downtown except for big events like Taste, this will be their first time seeing the tracks in person. I wonder if this will bring a measurable uptick in the number of suburbanites complaining about the project.

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Walnut & 3rd was finished earlier this month, leaving only a short gap of track that still needs to be completed.

 

17572345478_712795d758_c.jpg

 

Concrete for this section is being poured now. All that remains on Walnut Street is build of the 5th Street stop, the OCS, and repaving.


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

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Most striking in these photos is not the streetcar construction, but the gay pride flags.  That's a ton of progress for Cincinnati.

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Hello all,

 

I've updated my Uptown Four concept to more clearly state my proposal: a high frequency (10 minutes or less headway) transit network serving the Downtown and Uptown cores of Cincinnati, made up of four new bus lines that connect to the Cincinnati Streetcar line. I've tweaked some of the lines, redone the transit center,  and renamed the concept "Cinculators." Through my research I've found it covers a significant percentage of the city's jobs (~52%) and population (~30%).  While there may be challenges implementing some portions of this plan, I think it's unique compared to the other concepts for the Uptown extension being proposed.  I would be humored if this concept was at least studied for feasibility when the Uptown extension is  finally planned in earnest… Presentation is located here:

 

http://bit.ly/1L8RCnp

 

A pic of the transit center from the presentation: (located on the south edge of remodeled University Plaza)

 

17706069189_7faa4c7a9a_c.jpg

 

I think the other most interesting options for the Uptown extension are the following: first, a full blown, grade separated light rail line.  When you think about it, any future light rail line is destined to connect Cincinnati's two centers of Downtown and Uptown, so while this seems a big mental leap to take right now, it may be the logical next step.  Second, a streetcar that actually enters UC's campus.  I think that would provide a super strong anchor (thousands of transit-oriented young people and a big jobs center) for the existing line. 


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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So they screwed up the parking lines apparently. They've started covering the lines they painted and marked for new ones about another foot or so in from the originals. It looks pretty bad. Construction is extremely complex, but this is a lack of checking a measurement. It goes against one of the first things taught when working on a construction site. Measure twice, cut once.

 

I also noticed where they painted new yellow lines on 12th and they aren't straight and there are three lines at one point.

 

It's not an attractive way to showcase a fully redone road with streetcar rails in place.

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The first pain was temporary and will wear off in a few months or be painted over. The most recent paint is permanent and is reflective.

 

But yes, they were really far off

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I was wondering why the parking lanes so wide anyway. Most cars I saw were parked against the curb with a few feet to spare within the line. I still would've liked to see a double white line rather than a single, fat white stripe to really get the point across.

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Speaking of pavement markings, does anyone know why we use two different styles of crosswalks in the city? Some are Abbey Road-style zebra crossings (parallel with traffic), and some are two white stripes (perpendicular to traffic). I remember reading about a year ago that the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices standardized on one or the other, but I can't remember which. The pattern seems to be that zebra crossing are only used at stand-alone crosswalks (like on Elm at Findlay Market), not at standard intersections, but even that's not always true. Personally I think the zebra crossing stand out a lot more and should be used everywhere.

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The official plan is to eventually have them all as zebra stripes. But it doesn't seem like that plan is being followed too closely.

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From the MUTCD:

 

When diagonal or longitudinal lines are used to mark a crosswalk, the transverse crosswalk lines may be omitted. This type of marking may be used at locations where substantial numbers of pedestrians cross without any other traffic control device, at locations where physical conditions are such that added visibility of the crosswalk is desired, or at places where a pedestrian crosswalk might not be expected.

 

The additional striping is used a lot at school crossings and where there aren't traffic signals or in general where they want to make the crosswalk more visible. 

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