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Cincinnati Streetcar / Cincinnati Bell Connector News

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I hope the democrats on council choose the cheaper option. This would still satisfy atu because the non-sorta workers will still become part of the union right? This would also show them as willing to compromise to save the city money, while cranley will look like an idiot touting the most expensive option.

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The city budget to $800,000 is an average salary to $40. Dull yet opinionated and entitled Americans fret over absolute numbers with weak grasp of scale or context. That said, pushing through the union contract is a political loser. I once again agree with Amy Murray.

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Crazy that people complain about $800,000 and Council votes 9-0 for that stupid Cincy State bridge.

 

How important is Cincinnati State to the city?  Important enough to build that stupid bridge to keep them in the city?  I have no idea of number of enrollment or employees, or the financial impact.  Anyone know?

 

They could always move out to one of the townships like many hospitals have done.

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The city budget to $800,000 is an average salary to $40. Dull yet opinionated and entitled Americans fret over absolute numbers with weak grasp of scale or context.

 

I've said for years that numbers are useless without other numbers to compare them to.

 

One thing I've learned in business is that numbers can make people more emotional than almost anything else.

 

 

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Forgo that bridge and build an extension of the Streetcar up Central to Cincinnati state then up to clifton. Kill two birds with one stone. ;) I can see new high rises along Central along I-75 if that happens.

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Forgo that bridge and build an extension of the Streetcar up Central to Cincinnati state then up to clifton. Kill two birds with one stone. ;) I can see new high rises along Central along I-75 if that happens.

 

or leverage the subway tunnel cost with that federal matching grant we could get and run the vehicles through the tunnel to cincy state. make waterworks move that damn pipe

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Forgo that bridge and build an extension of the Streetcar up Central to Cincinnati state then up to clifton. Kill two birds with one stone. ;) I can see new high rises along Central along I-75 if that happens.

 

or leverage the subway tunnel cost with that federal matching grant we could get and run the vehicles through the tunnel to cincy state. make waterworks move that damn pipe

 

Very curious to see what, if anything, could happen to relocation costs for those pipes if Cincy wins the case vs Duke.

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Forgo that bridge and build an extension of the Streetcar up Central to Cincinnati state then up to clifton. Kill two birds with one stone. ;) I can see new high rises along Central along I-75 if that happens.

 

^ That's a really good idea. Dunno about the high-rises, but Central Parkway is a diamond in the rough. Ludlow would be a challenge but terrific if you could make it work.

 

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Forgo that bridge and build an extension of the Streetcar up Central to Cincinnati state then up to clifton. Kill two birds with one stone. ;) I can see new high rises along Central along I-75 if that happens.

 

or leverage the subway tunnel cost with that federal matching grant we could get and run the vehicles through the tunnel to cincy state. make waterworks move that damn pipe

 

Scenarios exist where putting streetcars in the subway and extending the line up to Northside would cost the city relatively little, i.e. the total cost from the city's perspective might be in the neighborhood of what the city has committed to the current streetcar project, but for twice the route miles.  The maintenance facility obviously already exists in addition to the subway tunnel.  Also it will be very cheap to build the surface portion of the line from the subway portals to Cincinnati State since the old right-of-way is mostly intact and will require zero utility relocation. 

 

The hairy spot is getting to Northside, since rebuilding the Ludlow Viaduct deck to accommodate rail would be very expensive.  Cranley could kill two birds with one stone by putting rail on the proposed Elmore St. Viaduct, but don't look to Cranley to concede anything in the name of the public good.   

 

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I'd love to run the track in the tunnels, because subways are cool. But if rail did run on the surface of Central Parkway, you could move the bike lane over to the wide sidewalk area between Central Parkway and I-75, and dedicate transit only lanes on the Parkway for streetcar and buses.  At least for a portion of the route. (I'm assuming if you got the $ for light rail you have the $ to redo the sidewalk into a wide bike path.)

 

I am a huge bike lane supporter... just kicking around ideas is all.  I read somewhere where if you could put in all the complete street stuff that's possible onto one street it would become too wide for pedestrians. 


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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EXCLUSIVE: Cranley issues new streetcar veto threat, likely clearing way for operator decision

Chris Wetterich - Cincinnati Business Courier

 

The political fog over how much it will cost to operate the streetcar started to clear on Tuesday after Mayor John Cranley pledged to veto any ordinance that instructs the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority to hire a private company and its employees to operate the streetcar.

 

The so-called turnkey option, at a $4 million cost, is the only option sent by SORTA to the city that falls within the maximum $4.2 million, first-year streetcar budget approved by council.

 

But even with the mayor’s veto threat, it appears the turnkey option will be the one the streetcar operates under during its first year in operation starting in September 2016.

 

“That would be my prediction,” Cranley told the Business Courier when asked how he sees the endgame to a long political debate.

 

Cont


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

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^ According to the Business Courier article, operating the streetcar under the management plan within the $4.2 million budget would require a 30% reduction in service.  That is insane...

 

"Cranley's plan is to appropriate only $4.2 million to do the job. That means service has to be cut by at least a 30 percent, SORTA officials said, a scenario CEO Dwight Ferrell said will lead to a “death spiral” of the project."

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Council won't even end up making their own decision, SORTA will decide on the turn key approach for 4.0 million per year.  Cranley vetoes any non union operator, but vetoes spending more than 4.2 million.  Kind of strange.

 

Also, this will allow the streetcar to operate under budget and free from political harm.  Kind of crazy.  I saw the general fund revenue budget is expected to increase like $18 million for 2016 and another $12 million on top of that the next year, so $30 million in 2 years, but $700k for this makes people go nuts.  All in perspective, which most people can't comprehend or care to look at.

 

If you saw the Enquirer article on the budget changes the Dems are proposing, everyone's comment is something a long the lines of "These democrats will turn Cincinnati into Detroit".  But for some reason people fail to grasp that they aren't adding items into the budget, they are moving things around.  I guess I am lucky my mother taught me the Hooked on Phonics program...........

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See, here I thought reading the BC headline that Cranely was going to veto the more expensive option. But no, he's going to veto the cheaper option so he can force cutbacks to the service in hopes that it makes the project fail.

 

Can you be arrested for failing as mayor to perform in a fiduciary capacity?

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It sounds to me like the mayor or council aren't going to be able to force SORTA to choose one particular option. So SORTA will likely choose the cheaper option which allows us to keep the desired frequency. What's the problem?

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See, here I thought reading the BC headline that Cranely was going to veto the more expensive option. But no, he's going to veto the cheaper option so he can force cutbacks to the service in hopes that it makes the project fail.

 

Can you be arrested for failing as mayor to perform in a fiduciary capacity?

 

And how, why does the mayor have such a yearning to see this fail when he basically called a truce after he was defeated by council and agreed to make it a success?

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See, here I thought reading the BC headline that Cranely was going to veto the more expensive option. But no, he's going to veto the cheaper option so he can force cutbacks to the service in hopes that it makes the project fail.

 

Can you be arrested for failing as mayor to perform in a fiduciary capacity?

 

And how, why does the mayor have such a yearning to see this fail when he basically called a truce after he was defeated by council and agreed to make it a success?

 

He's a giant sack of ****.  I mean seriously there is no other good explination of it.  I can't believe ANYONE would defend this scumbag.

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Cranley's MO is triangulation.  He plays everyone against each other and he appears reasonable ie: he supports the union but also is a budget hawk.  What is so hilarious is that Smitherman and Winburn are so stubborn, they refuse to even vote on the issue!  So Council will be deadlocked and SORTA end up making the decision without Council direction.  Which actually is fine by me.

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It sounds to me like the mayor or council aren't going to be able to force SORTA to choose one particular option. So SORTA will likely choose the cheaper option which allows us to keep the desired frequency. What's the problem?

 

The problem is that we have to be nice to the Unions too.

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But the new employees (excluding management) will be unionized in either scenario. They just will be governmental employees under one option and privately employed in the other.

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Yea this is political grandstanding bullshit at its finest. Why can't elected officials look at a number and pick the smaller one considering the outcome is similar instead of wasting time? Who cares what ATU thinks is it really that big of a deal?

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^I believe, though I'm not certain, that the $700,000 difference is basically the amount that would be contributed to the state pension fund by the new employees under the management option.  More people paying into the pension fund is a good thing.  It's crazy that anyone is complaining about the $700,000 at all.  This is municipal budget peanuts, going to actual individual workers as deferred comp that will be spent and taxed as income as soon as they get it, consequently going back into the economy.  It's like a tax abatement for people instead of properties.

 

It's ridiculous that there is arbitrary $4.2 million ceiling on these expenses that is just accepted as gospel for some reason.

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Yea this is political grandstanding bullshit at its finest. Why can't elected officials look at a number and pick the smaller one considering the outcome is similar instead of wasting time? Who cares what ATU thinks is it really that big of a deal?

 

The politicians who sell their souls for the Union donations.

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^ it's more complicated than that. A lot of the extra cost comes from the union's work rules.

 

Sounds like a pretty decent way to spend $700,000.  It's funny how this is being presented as a politicians selling out to a corporation (i.e., the union) but the 9-0 vote for the bridge to Cincinnati State that costs millions of dollars isn't, even though it is intended to benefit one corporation, Cincinnati State.

 

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122012/century-foundation-study-how-unions-increase-wages

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I'm no traffic engineer but this seems like missed cost savings. Why does a two lane street need three stoplights? Especially if the third light needs its own pole with giant arm and doesn't actually hang over a lane. Feels unnecessary...


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

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Yeah, I have noticed that some of the newly installed arms have three traffic signals while others only have two. I'm sure there is some logic behind it, either based on the classification of the roads or the traffic volumes of those intersections.

 

I will admit that these new arms on Second Street look pretty silly with the traffic lights rising above the arms. They should've gone with the same style traffic signals as the CBD.

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10 days without a single streetcar post?  Is everyone on vacation?

 

I was wondering the same thing (although I am on vacation in Portland soooo).

 

Saw a story about Cranley maybe budging on the operating budget a little to get union workers?

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I think at this point the streetcar is almost finished with construction so there aren't many more updates in that regard and not much real news has happened. Though as OllyTransit pointed out there was an article yesterday saying Cranley might budge and give up another $2 million over ten years to cover the difference which is really good news. That's pretty major for Cranley.

 

Other than that though trackwork has only a handful of blocks left to go, wire hanging is done in OTR and the first train is getting closer to its delivery date.

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Track construction is moving in two directions downtown. One crew is heading south from OTR and has made it down to 6th. Another crew is moving north from The Banks and has made it to 4th. So essentially there are only two blocks of track left to install. Some of that is special track where the streetcar changes lanes on Main. Also, they are almost finished repaving Walnut.

 

Main Street crew moving south (June 5):

18896929159_098132d115_b.jpg

 

Main Street crossing Third (June 13):

18895469508_b9c685403d_b.jpg

 

Moving north on Main (June 13):

19083130945_8a38a65b2b_b.jpg

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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.

 

Here you can see the temporary lines (left) and permanent lines (right). As you can see, there is still plenty of room for cars to park within these narrower lanes.

 

18895283300_eaf18128a7_b.jpg

 

19077336472_7d6bf45a3f_b.jpg

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I assume the goal is to have trackwork finished by the ASG so traffic isn't impacted by closed lanes?

 

I doubt it's going to be completely done before the All Star Game. They're crossing 6th this weekend but still have two more intersections to cross (each requiring a weekend closure) and a lane change to install. They might be able to clear the construction equipment out of downtown for the All Star Game though. I assume they will be prohibited from doing any construction the week of the 13th.

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10 days without a single streetcar post?  Is everyone on vacation?

 

I was wondering the same thing (although I am on vacation in Portland soooo).

 

Saw a story about Cranley maybe budging on the operating budget a little to get union workers?

 

Is this related to the difference between using SORTA and the private company? Maybe I don't understand all the details (very likely) but I'm not sure why the city should pay extra just to have union workers. Also, I didn't think those workers had any streetcar experience whereas the cheaper company did. To me it seemed like a no-brainer and a great time for streetcar supporters to say that we do care about spending....Sorry if this is dredging up stuff already discussed.

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In either scenario, SORTA is going to hire a private company to operate (manage) the streetcar. The only difference is whether that private company uses SORTA employees (more expensive) or their own private employees (less expensive). At this point, there are not enough votes for City Council to force either of those options on SORTA, so it will be up to them to decide.

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^^I sent an email to the Dems saying that full hours is more important than using the union employees, though both are preferred.

 

I agree it would make the Dems look more level headed if they pursued the turn key option instead of union. But if Cranley is willing to pay more for the union employees, I'm cool with that.

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When people say 'temporary' are they painted with a paint that will fade quicker than normal? Because the "blacked out" lines on Race look bad.

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My understanding is that they will be union workers either way. The cost difference is due to pensions if the employees are hired directly, rather than through a private contractor, where they would presumably have a 401k instead, like the rest of us non-government employees.

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My understanding is that they will be union workers either way. The cost difference is due to pensions if the employees are hired directly, rather than through a private contractor, where they would presumably have a 401k instead, like the rest of us non-government employees.

 

It's also the current SORTA rules that make it more expensive. Apparently the union wouldn't make concessions on non-salary items that would have brought the cost down.

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Track construction is moving in two directions downtown. One crew is heading south from OTR and has made it down to 6th. Another crew is moving north from The Banks and has made it to 4th. So essentially there are only two blocks of track left to install. Some of that is special track where the streetcar changes lanes on Main. Also, they are almost finished repaving Walnut.

 

 

Great pics! I tweeted the flickr link and one of the photos via @allaboardohio :)


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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In either scenario, SORTA is going to hire a private company to operate (manage) the streetcar. The only difference is whether that private company uses SORTA employees (more expensive) or their own private employees (less expensive). At this point, there are not enough votes for City Council to force either of those options on SORTA, so it will be up to them to decide.

 

Thanks. Seems to me the turnkey would be the right choice here.

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I assume the goal is to have trackwork finished by the ASG so traffic isn't impacted by closed lanes?

 

I doubt it's going to be completely done before the All Star Game. They're crossing 6th this weekend but still have two more intersections to cross (each requiring a weekend closure) and a lane change to install. They might be able to clear the construction equipment out of downtown for the All Star Game though. I assume they will be prohibited from doing any construction the week of the 13th.

 

Schedule

6th & Main: Jun 26-29

ASG stop: Jul 9-15

5th & Main: Jul 24-27

2nd & Main curve: Aug 7-17

4th & Main: Aug 28-31


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

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From the Business Courier last night: New deal pending on streetcar operations?

 

To the Enquirer this morning: SORTA: $2M not enough to hire union to run streetcar

 

There was to be a 1:00 p.m. - Major Transportation & Regional Cooperation Committee meeting today but now the City Council website says it is CANCELLED.


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

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In either scenario, SORTA is going to hire a private company to operate (manage) the streetcar. The only difference is whether that private company uses SORTA employees (more expensive) or their own private employees (less expensive). At this point, there are not enough votes for City Council to force either of those options on SORTA, so it will be up to them to decide.

 

Thanks. Seems to me the turnkey would be the right choice here.

 

The turnkey option is clearly the better option. It's just politics getting in the way. The turnkey option allows for the workers to unionize, so they're both union contracts. The difference is that with the management option, ATU operators for Metro will get to keep their seniority and heightened pay, which is well earned and deserved, by not a reflection on their skills as a streetcar operator. This is why it's the more expensive option. They will need to be trained (at another added expense) on how to drive a streetcar. The turnkey option will hire trained streetcar operators to start the system and will allow for any Metro drivers who want to drive the streetcar to get certified and apply. They will lose their seniority, by that's only fair when you leave one job and go to another where you need to be trained. As streetcar operators they will be allowed to unionize and get all of the same benefits as Metro employees.

 

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