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Cincinnati Streetcar / Cincinnati Bell Connector News

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Sorry to confuse the conversation. I don't think the current problem is with the GPS technology, it's with the radio link that connects the streetcars, the MOF, and the real time arrival signs. It either needs to be hard-wired or changed to LTE/4G.

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The problem is also that the CAD/AVL software used for the streetcar was value engineered out. Instead, the streetcar was scheduled and built into the existing CAD/AVL system used by Metro buses. It "works" but is fundamentally designed differently. The streetcar really needs to be headway based and not schedule based. Right now the streetcar is pinging a location every 2-3 minutes and is comparing that location against the closest schedule point. If that ping hits closer to a station in the opposite direction, or if the streetcar gets delayed beyond the typical headway, or if the calculation happens too close to an end of line, the CAD/AVL system just reverts to the scheduled time. This just creates more confusion than anything for riders at stations.

 

Taestell is right about the accuracy of pings in the CBD though. Buses struggle with pings in the CBD every day, but routes are scheduled to ride through Government Square, making the only EOLs outside of downtown, so when the bus pings get a little off in the CBD the CAD/AVL system just uses the previous pings from outside downtown and calculates outbound times accordingly.

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Another mechanical issue on this relatively new system. I hate to say it, but I think the streetcar is sinking, and fast. It seems to be completely overrun with issues from all sides. The city drug its feet forever on conducting a traffic study, thus preventing signal prioritization to even be seriously considered. The real time arrival is totally broken and worthless. Streetcars continue to get blocked by vehicles and snared by traffic and an excessive number of stops. Now mechanical failures are preventing them from running in cold weather, the back-up batteries aren't working, and apparently some of the on-board heaters aren't either. Combine these issues with a confusing and circuitous route, and it's no surprise at all that ridership has failed to come close to expectations.

 

Cold Weather Mechanical Issues Continue to Dog Cincinnati Streetcar

 

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/01/09/cold-weather-mechanical-issues-continue-to-dog.html

 

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You're not wrong in you assessment of the problems, but I disagree with your conclusion that "the streetcar is sinking, and fast." All of those projects are easily fixable by a future administration, or hopefully the current one if council can overrule the mayor. The solutions don't require investing a ton of money, they just require changing our priorities.

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^ Yeah, perhaps I was a bit too alarmist after originally reading the article. But given the lack of political will to fix the streetcar, these problems might not get fixed for some time. If operations continue how they have been for the next 4 years (or whenever Cranley is gone/council makeup changes), will the streetcar be able to be saved? How much time passes before people deem it a failure and as something that doesn't warrant investing any more money in?

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Fixes which might be possible under the current city council:

- implement a new traffic signal timing plan for the CBD which gives more green light time to buses and streetcars on Main and Walnut

- implement signal priority for Metro Plus and streetcar (would likely be vetoed by the mayor if we didn't have 6 votes)

- add more service during special events like Taste and Oktoberfest

 

Fixes which probably can't happen until we have a mayor who doesn't want the streetcar to fail:

- analyze operating hours and adjust or extend "peak" hours to better align with peak ridership

- add more service on weekends, when system is used the most heavily (probably need 4 streetcars in service every weekend during the summer months)

- add more transit-only lanes along the route

- come up with an actual solution to mechanical problems with streetcars and real-time arrival signs

- get the police and fire departments to stop blocking the track except when it's an actual emergency

- ticket and immediately tow vehicles that park on the tracks, and work with businesses like Rhinegeist to move their valet and Uber pick-up spots to not block the streetcar

- put back the marketing and fare inspector budgets that Kevin Flynn axed

- focus on new partnerships with businesses along the route, perhaps work with the county to make Reds and Bengals tickets double as streetcar tickets

 

As far as perception goes, here's the way I think about it. The hardcore anti-streetcar people will always hate it, no sense worrying about them. The people we need to win over are the people who say things like, "the streetcar is too slow" or "doesn't come often enough". I think if we can fix the problems, we'll win those people over. Additionally, the biggest potential for new ridership is new residential development along the route, which has been slow so far. If the streetcar is working properly when projects like Liberty & Elm open up, a lot of those residents are going to be daily riders.

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The Cinci streetcar isn't real ''transit'' given its  low weekday/higher weekend ridership and its very limited route.  It doesn't tie into other mass transit lines or extend beyond a very limited area, which will result in very limited use. 

 

I just read and realized Detroit's streetcar is up and running; it may have better potential given its route and connections with Amtrak, the People Mover, and Wayne State for example.

 

When is a Cinci streetcar extension expected?  The original line has to be developed into a system-like network to get ridership #s akin to real mass transit.  It sounds like a weekend novelty thing thus far.

 

Still not understanding the idea of a stand-alone/one-way/short-run streetcar and generally the new rage for streetcars across the country.  Anyway, I've never been to Cinci but expect to go there this spring.  I want to see the streetcar first-hand.

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That is a great list/assessment. I honestly think all of the political bullshit has been/gotten in the way all along. If the city wants it to be a success it could be a glowing success.  I will quote again my friends who at the time lived in Chicago who i took on the streetcar when they visited. They literally said "this thing is really nice. If the El in Chicago was this nice we would go back to riding it". We literally have fought tooth and nail to have a great amenity and it is being made a"failure" by those who don't want to accept it as something nice and worthwhile. Meanwhile in other news our taxes are being raised to pay for the western hills viaduct and is anyone questioning that?  Fuck our city government and their hypocrisy!

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The Cinci streetcar isn't real ''transit'' given its  low weekday/higher weekend ridership and its very limited route.  It doesn't tie into other mass transit lines or extend beyond a very limited area, which will result in very limited use. 

 

I just read and realized Detroit's streetcar is up and running; it may have better potential given its route and connections with Amtrak, the People Mover, and Wayne State for example.

 

When is a Cinci streetcar extension expected?  The original line has to be developed into a system-like network to get ridership #s akin to real mass transit.  It sounds like a weekend novelty thing thus far.

 

Still not understanding the idea of a stand-alone/one-way/short-run streetcar and generally the new rage for streetcars across the country.  Anyway, I've never been to Cinci but expect to go there this spring.  I want to see the streetcar first-hand.

 

You’re right that it doesn’t serve the purpose of ‘real’ light rail, in that it’s distance is limited and it operates at grade, and in mixed traffic. I do think, however, that the basin of Cincinnati is large enough and has enough points of interest to warrant a connector/circulator. I could be off here, but it seems like the distance (pole to pole) would maybe be comparable to Public Square to Ohio City?  If it operated in dedicated transit-only lanes, had fewer stops, and got signal preemption, it would get more use. I also think if it took a more straight line approach of either up and down Vine or maybe up Vine and down Race, it would be better utilized. 

 

But ultimately, a pedestrian circulator only works if there are pedestrians to circulate. There is a large base of workers in the CBD, but they don’t really have much of a need to travel throughout the basin during work hours. Most people don’t have time to catch a streetcar and take it up to 12 and Vine or Findlay Market for lunch. OTR has a decent and growing population, and as the northern part continues to repopulate, I do think that will be a traffic generator for the streetcar. But without having a strong transit system feeding into the streetcar, I think it’s utility is going to be limited.

 

A mass transit system that has one or two stations in the CBD creates optimal conditions for pedestrian circulators. You get dropped off in the center of town, but your destination is on the periphery of the city center- it makes perfect sense to jump on the streetcar to complete the journey. But if you have a car, and you can park relatively cheaply and close to your destination, why use the streetcar? If you’re used to taking the bus, you can normally find alternate routes to get to the same places the streetcar goes. I don’t really remember hearing this brought up in all the discussion leading up to the streetcar, oddly enough. Untold delegations of Cincinnatians went out to Portland to witness the magic of the streetcar, and no one raised the point that they had regional light rail running through their downtown, and that maybe that was a big driver of their streetcar’s success? I know I’m being a bit of a downer about the streetcar now, but it’s because I’m bummed this thing isn’t working out, and it’s clear that the system has some pretty major flaws. After how much the community fought to get rail transit in some form back in operation in Cincinnati, it sucks that it’s kind of a dud.

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The Cinci streetcar isn't real ''transit'' given its  low weekday/higher weekend ridership and its very limited route.  It doesn't tie into other mass transit lines or extend beyond a very limited area, which will result in very limited use. 

 

I just read and realized Detroit's streetcar is up and running; it may have better potential given its route and connections with Amtrak, the People Mover, and Wayne State for example.

 

When is a Cinci streetcar extension expected?  The original line has to be developed into a system-like network to get ridership #s akin to real mass transit.  It sounds like a weekend novelty thing thus far.

 

Still not understanding the idea of a stand-alone/one-way/short-run streetcar and generally the new rage for streetcars across the country.  Anyway, I've never been to Cinci but expect to go there this spring.  I want to see the streetcar first-hand.

 

You’re right that it doesn’t serve the purpose of ‘real’ light rail, in that it’s distance is limited and it operates at grade, and in mixed traffic. I do think, however, that the basin of Cincinnati is large enough and has enough points of interest to warrant a connector/circulator. I could be off here, but it seems like the distance (pole to pole) would maybe be comparable to Public Square to Ohio City?  If it operated in dedicated transit-only lanes, had fewer stops, and got signal preemption, it would get more use. I also think if it took a more straight line approach of either up and down Vine or maybe up Vine and down Race, it would be better utilized. 

 

But ultimately, a pedestrian circulator only works if there are pedestrians to circulate. There is a large base of workers in the CBD, but they don’t really have much of a need to travel throughout the basin during work hours. Most people don’t have time to catch a streetcar and take it up to 12 and Vine or Findlay Market for lunch. OTR has a decent and growing population, and as the northern part continues to repopulate, I do think that will be a traffic generator for the streetcar. But without having a strong transit system feeding into the streetcar, I think it’s utility is going to be limited.

 

A mass transit system that has one or two stations in the CBD creates optimal conditions for pedestrian circulators. You get dropped off in the center of town, but your destination is on the periphery of the city center- it makes perfect sense to jump on the streetcar to complete the journey. But if you have a car, and you can park relatively cheaply and close to your destination, why use the streetcar? If you’re used to taking the bus, you can normally find alternate routes to get to the same places the streetcar goes. I don’t really remember hearing this brought up in all the discussion leading up to the streetcar, oddly enough. Untold delegations of Cincinnatians went out to Portland to witness the magic of the streetcar, and no one raised the point that they had regional light rail running through their downtown, and that maybe that was a big driver of their streetcar’s success? I know I’m being a bit of a downer about the streetcar now, but it’s because I’m bummed this thing isn’t working out, and it’s clear that the system has some pretty major flaws. After how much the community fought to get rail transit in some form back in operation in Cincinnati, it sucks that it’s kind of a dud.

 

I understand the bus drop-off to circulate pedestrians in a CBD but isn't Cinci's bus use rather lackluster and, how many people on a weekday commute into Over-the-Rhine for example?  As you know, the bedrock of any transit system are the daily commuters, supplemented by occasional riders like the Cinci streetcar seems to be seeing on weekends only.

 

Also, your point related to current bus riders changing up their bus route raises another transit issue: commuters don't like transfers if they can be avoided, especially in not so great transit cities like Cinci.  This relates back to my original post about extension plans for the Bell Connector; it's a must to really get ridership going down there.

 

Sounds like the Cinci delegation in Portland looked ''dreamy-eyed'' at its streetcar line and, like you stated, never thought that perhaps it looks great 'cuz its part of a much larger light-rail network.  Regardless, even though Portland is supposed to be transit-dreamland, its transit use isn't exactly stellar.  I've used Portland's light-rail system; it's a better rider outside the downtown area where it tends to be much slower.

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Kansas City is the most successful new streetcar system with over 5,000 daily rides and over 10,000 every Saturday, sometimes almost 20,000.  There is no regional light rail there.

 

http://kcstreetcar.org/ridership/

 

The main difference is that the city supports it.  Cranley/Smitherman need a whipping boy.  Everything can be blamed on the streetcar.  The property tax increase this week?  The streetcar's fault.   

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The property tax increase this week?  The streetcar's fault.   

 

We increased the property tax rate to pay for the new Western Hills Viaduct and Smitherman literally blamed it on the streetcar. The irony is that the Western Hills Viaduct is about a $300 million project, about twice the cost of the entire streetcar project.

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Kansas City is the most successful new streetcar system with over 5,000 daily rides and over 10,000 every Saturday, sometimes almost 20,000.  There is no regional light rail there.

 

http://kcstreetcar.org/ridership/

 

The main difference is that the city supports it.  Cranley/Smitherman need a whipping boy.  Everything can be blamed on the streetcar.  The property tax increase this week?  The streetcar's fault. 

 

The KC streetcar must be routed better and, in fact, steps are underway in KC to seek Fed $$ to expand its streetcar lines.  In other words, the streetcar runs where lots of people need or want it to run.  That's why I mentioned that Detroit may see better ridership given its Woodward Avenue run, with stops like Wayne State University.

 

Wasn't KC compared to Cinci as how to create and run a new streetcar while Cinci was used as the poster-city of how not to build a streetcar?  I don't recall the political drama being mentioned as a factor.

 

I see there has been lots of local political drama in Cinci about the streetcar; but how would that effect ridership?  I mean, if it's something people need and want to use, they would, regardless of whether the mayor or whoever likes the streetcar. In other words, the streetcar is there, use or not.

 

The Hamilton County voters are in the suburbs.  What use do they have, other than the occasional weekend ride, for a short-run streetcar that has seen lots of negative local and national coverage.  The initial streetcar line in Cinci must be expanded.  Regardless, it sounds like a bad situation with lots of drama.

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Isn't KC streetcar free to ride?

 

Great question.  I knew the KC was initially free to ride and just checking its website, I don't see any mention of the fare $ to ride it.  It very well still be free to ride and may perhaps always be free.

 

Washington DC opened its streetcar; again with a long-stretch of time with free rides in order to build ridership.  I recall seeing an extension of this ''free rides'' time-frame as well.  DC's streetcar complaints related to it being ''slow''.

 

Isn't Cinci's only a buck ($1.00) to ride?  That shouldn't tank ridership.

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OC17, the KC streetcar is supported by a .25% sales tax in the streetcar zone.  The same thing can't be done here because there was already a special downtown tax that supported Downtown Cincinnati, Inc. and 3CDC.  Ohio law prohibits two special taxes on the same land. 

 

Also OC17, reserve your judgement of the system until you've physically set foot in the city.  As has been mentioned here repeatedly, 99% of the technical issues with the streetcar could be quickly and easily resolved if a supportive administration was in power.  Instead, they are making the streetcar fail on purpose. 

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On a somewhat related note, Cleveland and Columbus both have free downtown circulator routes. Is there a particular reason SORTA is unable to fund a similar circulator, either the streetcar or a bus route? If I had to guess, I'd assume it's a similar setup to KC with the special downtown sales tax funding these routes.


“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

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Any idea that the Cincinnati streetcar doesn't go to places where people want to go is complete nonsense. People coming into town and staying at our OTR Airbnb have consistently made comments that appreciate the streetcar:

 

"I would buy day passes on the City Connector streetcar to get around. I did not rent a car and did not miss it."

"We were able to leave the car parked and take the streetcar or walk everywhere we wanted to go."

"This apartment was right across from a streetcar stop. Upon arriving, we used public transit for the majority of our stay."

 

How many times does the point need to be made that the streetcar has connected OTR and downtown and made them essentially the same, especially for visitors to downtown (including from Cincy suburbs). Is that valuable? My gosh, that is a fundamental role of transportation systems.

 

Just fix the freaking real-time arrival and tracking systems, the fare collection system, and help balance the north/south traffic patterns with the existing emphasis on east/west. The route itself, and the vehicles, are sound.

 

 

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Kansas City is the most successful new streetcar system with over 5,000 daily rides and over 10,000 every Saturday, sometimes almost 20,000.  There is no regional light rail there.

 

http://kcstreetcar.org/ridership/

 

The main difference is that the city supports it.  Cranley/Smitherman need a whipping boy.  Everything can be blamed on the streetcar.  The property tax increase this week?  The streetcar's fault. 

 

I see there has been lots of political drama in Cinci about the streetcar; but how would that effect ridership?  I mean, if it's something people need and want to use, they would, regardless of whether the mayor or whoever likes the streetcar. In other words, the streetcar is there, use or not.

 

The Hamilton County voters are in the suburbs.  What use do they have, other than the occasional weekend ride, for a short-run streetcar that has seen lots of negative local and national coverage.  The initial streetcar line in Cinci must be expanded.  Regardless, it sounds like a bad situation with lots of drama.

 

The 'political drama' is partly responsible for the abbreviated route. The streetcar was originally supposed to go up the hill to the Clifton Heights area, which would have been huge for ridership, as it would have picked up the university and its adjacent retail district, as well as the hospitals and zoo, depending on the final routing. Kasich took back more than $50 million of state funding that the streetcar project had been awarded, thus causing the line to be reduced to what it is now. Since that time, the mayor and council have been hostile towards the streetcar, and at one point, it looked like the mayor was going to pull the plug on the project all together, even as tracks were being laid. He would have, too, had it not been for a herculean effort from streetcar supporters. While Cranley ultimately allowed the streetcar to be built, he has not supported it or worked to figure out ways to make it more successful. He has pushed back against running more trains to increase frequency during big events, delayed conducting a traffic study that would allow for signal preemption or prioritization so the streetcar would get caught at fewer lights, failed to aggressively enforce towing and ticketing cars and trucks that block the tracks, and more. He and his cronies at city hall and the Enquirer have used the streetcar as a wedge issue, and have blamed it for everything under the sun. I don't know if this constant bemoaning has affected ridership, but it has definitely tarnished the streetcar in the eyes of some.

 

I think you are confusing the point of the streetcar a bit, though. No one is claiming that urban streetcars serve the same functions as light rail or subways or buses. They are not meant to cover long distances or primarily serve commuters. Rather, they are meant to circulate people throughout dense urban areas, essentially serving as pedestrian accelerators or extenders. In an ideal world, Cincinnati would have a regional rail system that hits a couple downtown stops, and then the streetcar disperses them throughout the greater core area. In this sense, Cleveland would probably benefit from a streetcar connecting the waterfront line with Tower City. Then again, the waterfront line has pathetic ridership, and the Red Line has pretty minimal ridership too, so maybe it wouldn't work so well there, either. But in theory, at least, that should be a recipe for success.

 

I don't really understand what you're getting at in regard to Hamilton County voters. The streetcar was 100% funded by the City (and federal grants), so the point that it does little to serve suburbanites is moot. There is a movement underway to restructure and expand the bus network throughout the County, including the installation of several BRT lines. One would hope that if this effort is successful and transit use increases, it will subsequently help the streetcar. In addition, as OTR develops more and more, that will help increase ridership for the streetcar, too. There are also some developments underway in the CBD, such as a ~17 story apartment tower with Downtown's first true, large Kroger store that is right on the line, and new apartments near the southern pole of the streetcar. Combine these developments and efforts with some relatively simple (if not politically simple) fixes mentioned up thread, and I think the streetcar will be a real resource for Cincinnati's urban core. I'm disappointed because it has stumbled out of the gate, but I don't think it's doomed to be a failure.

 

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OC17, the KC streetcar is supported by a .25% sales tax in the streetcar zone.  The same thing can't be done here because there was already a special downtown tax that supported Downtown Cincinnati, Inc. and 3CDC.  Ohio law prohibits two special taxes on the same land. 

 

Also OC17, reserve your judgement of the system until you've physically set foot in the city.  As has been mentioned here repeatedly, 99% of the technical issues with the streetcar could be quickly and easily resolved if a supportive administration was in power.  Instead, they are making the streetcar fail on purpose.

 

There are lots of people that step foot in Cinci that don't use the streetcar so that point is misplaced. 

 

I'll keep in mind that this is all a local political conspiracy to destroy the streetcar; otherwise it would be seeing KC levels of ridership.  Perhaps that tax/zone issue etc should have been factored in before this line was built.  Sounds like short-sighted overall planning with not overly optimistic chances of expanding the initial line. 

 

I use mass transit all the time in a few cities and have an interest in other cities transit systems, including this new wave of streetcars; the ones that are ''working'' and the one that isn't.  It sounds like no other points are allowed to be discussed here that veer off the political conspiracy talking point. It's obviously a touchy issue on this forum.

 

Hope it works out.

 

 

 

 

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There are lots of people that step foot in Cinci that don't use the streetcar so that point is misplaced. 

 

Yeah you're just trolling now.  I've never driven a car in New York City.  Those bridges and tunnels must be unnecessary. 

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There are lots of people that step foot in Cinci that don't use the streetcar so that point is misplaced. 

 

Yeah you're just trolling now.  I've never driven a car in New York City.  Those bridges and tunnels must be unnecessary.

 

Whatever.  Trolling?  What a cop out.  So you can't explain the reasoning why someone not in Cinci isn't allowed to discuss this streetcar line and come up with an another misplaced analogy to NYC.  There's negative national news on the Cinci Bell Connector.  Sorry.

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OC17, the KC streetcar is supported by a .25% sales tax in the streetcar zone.  The same thing can't be done here because there was already a special downtown tax that supported Downtown Cincinnati, Inc. and 3CDC.  Ohio law prohibits two special taxes on the same land. 

 

Also OC17, reserve your judgement of the system until you've physically set foot in the city.  As has been mentioned here repeatedly, 99% of the technical issues with the streetcar could be quickly and easily resolved if a supportive administration was in power.  Instead, they are making the streetcar fail on purpose.

 

There are lots of people that step foot in Cinci that don't use the streetcar so that point is misplaced. 

 

I'll keep in mind that this is all a local political conspiracy to destroy the streetcar; otherwise it would be seeing KC levels of ridership.  Perhaps that tax/zone issue etc should have been factored in before this line was built.  Sounds like short-sighted overall planning with not overly optimistic chances of expanding the initial line. 

 

I use mass transit all the time in a few cities and have an interest in other cities transit systems, including this new wave of streetcars; the ones that are ''working'' and the one that isn't.  It sounds like no other points are allowed to be discussed here that veer off the political conspiracy talking point. It's obviously a touchy issue on this forum.

 

Hope it works out.

 

Why are you being hostile? You come into a thread that is over 1000 pages long, bad mouthing something you have no clue about, and rather than being told to do a little research and then ask your questions, people are actually calmly explaining things to you and trying to have a discussion. If you're not straight up trying to troll, then why are you acting like a jerk?

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I see there has been lots of local political drama in Cinci about the streetcar; but how would that effect ridership?  I mean, if it's something people need and want to use, they would, regardless of whether the mayor or whoever likes the streetcar. In other words, the streetcar is there, use or not.

 

To answer your question, the political drama has resulted in very basic problems not being fixed. Until those basic problems are fixed, ridership will suffer. For example, I almost never ride the streetcar within the CBD because it's very slow and stops at almost every traffic light. If the City of Cincinnati was willing to re-time the traffic lights to give longer green lights on Main and Walnut -- as Detroit and Kansas City have done -- I would ride it way more often in the CBD. The political drama has a direct impact on the low weekday ridership.

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For the vernacular: it's Cincy not Cinci. Preferably, Cincinnati. Occasionally, The Nati. Cinti if you are a postal worker. And never Cincinnat-ah.

 

The streetcar is like a plant. You can buy this amazing plant, but if you don't water it, give it good soil, and let it have sunshine, it will die. Cranley and his administration have placed our plant in the closet with no water to see what will happen. And then if it dies they will say "See! it was always a bad plant". Hopefully our plant is some sort of cactus.

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Kansas City is the most successful new streetcar system with over 5,000 daily rides and over 10,000 every Saturday, sometimes almost 20,000.  There is no regional light rail there.

 

http://kcstreetcar.org/ridership/

 

The main difference is that the city supports it.  Cranley/Smitherman need a whipping boy.  Everything can be blamed on the streetcar.  The property tax increase this week?  The streetcar's fault. 

 

I see there has been lots of political drama in Cinci about the streetcar; but how would that effect ridership?  I mean, if it's something people need and want to use, they would, regardless of whether the mayor or whoever likes the streetcar. In other words, the streetcar is there, use or not.

 

The Hamilton County voters are in the suburbs.  What use do they have, other than the occasional weekend ride, for a short-run streetcar that has seen lots of negative local and national coverage.  The initial streetcar line in Cinci must be expanded.  Regardless, it sounds like a bad situation with lots of drama.

 

The 'political drama' is partly responsible for the abbreviated route. The streetcar was originally supposed to go up the hill to the Clifton Heights area, which would have been huge for ridership, as it would have picked up the university and its adjacent retail district, as well as the hospitals and zoo, depending on the final routing. Kasich took back more than $50 million of state funding that the streetcar project had been awarded, thus causing the line to be reduced to what it is now. Since that time, the mayor and council have been hostile towards the streetcar, and at one point, it looked like the mayor was going to pull the plug on the project all together, even as tracks were being laid. He would have, too, had it not been for a herculean effort from streetcar supporters. While Cranley ultimately allowed the streetcar to be built, he has not supported it or worked to figure out ways to make it more successful. He has pushed back against running more trains to increase frequency during big events, delayed conducting a traffic study that would allow for signal preemption or prioritization so the streetcar would get caught at fewer lights, failed to aggressively enforce towing and ticketing cars and trucks that block the tracks, and more. He and his cronies at city hall and the Enquirer have used the streetcar as a wedge issue, and have blamed it for everything under the sun. I don't know if this constant bemoaning has affected ridership, but it has definitely tarnished the streetcar in the eyes of some.

 

I think you are confusing the point of the streetcar a bit, though. No one is claiming that urban streetcars serve the same functions as light rail or subways or buses. They are not meant to cover long distances or primarily serve commuters. Rather, they are meant to circulate people throughout dense urban areas, essentially serving as pedestrian accelerators or extenders. In an ideal world, Cincinnati would have a regional rail system that hits a couple downtown stops, and then the streetcar disperses them throughout the greater core area. In this sense, Cleveland would probably benefit from a streetcar connecting the waterfront line with Tower City. Then again, the waterfront line has pathetic ridership, and the Red Line has pretty minimal ridership too, so maybe it wouldn't work so well there, either. But in theory, at least, that should be a recipe for success.

 

I don't really understand what you're getting at in regard to Hamilton County voters. The streetcar was 100% funded by the City (and federal grants), so the point that it does little to serve suburbanites is moot. There is a movement underway to restructure and expand the bus network throughout the County, including the installation of several BRT lines. One would hope that if this effort is successful and transit use increases, it will subsequently help the streetcar. In addition, as OTR develops more and more, that will help increase ridership for the streetcar, too. There are also some developments underway in the CBD, such as a ~17 story apartment tower with Downtown's first true, large Kroger store that is right on the line, and new apartments near the southern pole of the streetcar. Combine these developments and efforts with some relatively simple (if not politically simple) fixes mentioned up thread, and I think the streetcar will be a real resource for Cincinnati's urban core. I'm disappointed because it has stumbled out of the gate, but I don't think it's doomed to be a failure.

 

Cleveland's Waterfront Line is not routed well; not sure why you suggest a streetcar connection from the WFL to Tower City given that the WFL runs through Tower City.  I get that a streetcar isn't going to run out to Cinci's airport, it just needs to extend as originally planned.  But, as you state, continued development in OTR etc will provide the line's ridership boost.

 

As to the Hamilton County voter point, a poster stated that the Hamilton County tax increase was being blamed on the streetcar.  That's all.

 

The real transit issue facing cities like Cinci and Cleveland is sprawl with stagnant to negative population growth.  Neither city is as dense as it was; Cleveland is more of a transit legacy city given its light-rail is over 100 years old and the heavy rail (Red Line) dates back to the '50s. It needs to create employment centers along its rail lines again.  More so than people living directly on the lines that may or may not need to use it for commuting and would otherwise be occasional riders going to a downtown event, Ohio City, or the Airport.

 

Cinci faces the sprawl issue as well so it needs to create lots of jobs downtown to get people on buses or future rail lines in the outlying areas that transfer to the streetcar.  Transit riders don't like transfers, unless of course using transit is or becomes more convenient than driving, followed by being less expensive than driving.  Future Cinci rail lines should get businesses to locate on or adjacent to them in order to keep a balanced and successful ridership numbers.

 

Sprawly medium sized metros face serious mass transit challenges.

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OC17, the KC streetcar is supported by a .25% sales tax in the streetcar zone.  The same thing can't be done here because there was already a special downtown tax that supported Downtown Cincinnati, Inc. and 3CDC.  Ohio law prohibits two special taxes on the same land. 

 

Also OC17, reserve your judgement of the system until you've physically set foot in the city.  As has been mentioned here repeatedly, 99% of the technical issues with the streetcar could be quickly and easily resolved if a supportive administration was in power.  Instead, they are making the streetcar fail on purpose.

 

There are lots of people that step foot in Cinci that don't use the streetcar so that point is misplaced. 

 

I'll keep in mind that this is all a local political conspiracy to destroy the streetcar; otherwise it would be seeing KC levels of ridership.  Perhaps that tax/zone issue etc should have been factored in before this line was built.  Sounds like short-sighted overall planning with not overly optimistic chances of expanding the initial line. 

 

I use mass transit all the time in a few cities and have an interest in other cities transit systems, including this new wave of streetcars; the ones that are ''working'' and the one that isn't.  It sounds like no other points are allowed to be discussed here that veer off the political conspiracy talking point. It's obviously a touchy issue on this forum.

 

Hope it works out.

 

Why are you being hostile? You come into a thread that is over 1000 pages long, bad mouthing something you have no clue about, and rather than being told to do a little research and then ask your questions, people are actually calmly explaining things to you and trying to have a discussion. If you're not straight up trying to troll, then why are you acting like a jerk?

 

Hostile?  Bad-mouthing?  Just delving into a topic that's been bad-mouthed on in the national press etc. and responding to someone that told me I can't have an opinion 'cuz I haven't stepped foot in Cinci.  But off-script discussions are always shut down generally in our society-culture today and these forums are no exception.

 

Given that you've trolled before, I can see why you suspect a lot of posters of trolling (that actually aren't), along with a certain other major rail proponent in these forums.

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For the vernacular: it's Cincy not Cinci. Preferably, Cincinnati. Occasionally, The Nati. Cinti if you are a postal worker. And never Cincinnat-ah.

 

The streetcar is like a plant. You can buy this amazing plant, but if you don't water it, give it good soil, and let it have sunshine, it will die. Cranley and his administration have placed our plant in the closet with no water to see what will happen. And then if it dies they will say "See! it was always a bad plant". Hopefully our plant is some sort of cactus.

 

I prefer Cinci though.  Probably 'cuz Cincinnati ends with an ''i''.

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For the vernacular: it's Cincy not Cinci. Preferably, Cincinnati. Occasionally, The Nati. Cinti if you are a postal worker. And never Cincinnat-ah.

 

The streetcar is like a plant. You can buy this amazing plant, but if you don't water it, give it good soil, and let it have sunshine, it will die. Cranley and his administration have placed our plant in the closet with no water to see what will happen. And then if it dies they will say "See! it was always a bad plant". Hopefully our plant is some sort of cactus.

 

I prefer Cinci though.  Probably 'cuz Cincinnati ends with an ''i''.

 

Would you also say Indi?

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There are lots of people that step foot in Cinci that don't use the streetcar so that point is misplaced. 

 

Yeah you're just trolling now.  I've never driven a car in New York City.  Those bridges and tunnels must be unnecessary.

 

Whatever.  Trolling?  What a cop out.  So you can't explain the reasoning why someone not in Cinci isn't allowed to discuss this streetcar line and come up with another misplaced analogy to NYC.  There's negative national news on the Cinci Bell Connector.  Sorry.

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For the vernacular: it's Cincy not Cinci. Preferably, Cincinnati. Occasionally, The Nati. Cinti if you are a postal worker. And never Cincinnat-ah.

 

The streetcar is like a plant. You can buy this amazing plant, but if you don't water it, give it good soil, and let it have sunshine, it will die. Cranley and his administration have placed our plant in the closet with no water to see what will happen. And then if it dies they will say "See! it was always a bad plant". Hopefully our plant is some sort of cactus.

 

Used to this in old beer can collections; could be part of the ''i'' thing for me and using Cinci.

 

http://breweriana.com/img/product/large/Cinci_Lager_Beer_54aee3d6ac031.jpg

 

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Pretty much no one in Cincinnati spells it "Cinci". A few times you can find it spelled that way (especially around the early 1900s), but a vast majority today use "Cincy". You can say whatever you want, but don't be surprised when people call you out for not knowing anything about the city when you type "Cinci". When in doubt, do what the locals do.

 

Or die on this hill for all I care. Most of us are just trying to help you out.

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For the vernacular: it's Cincy not Cinci. Preferably, Cincinnati. Occasionally, The Nati. Cinti if you are a postal worker. And never Cincinnat-ah.

 

The streetcar is like a plant. You can buy this amazing plant, but if you don't water it, give it good soil, and let it have sunshine, it will die. Cranley and his administration have placed our plant in the closet with no water to see what will happen. And then if it dies they will say "See! it was always a bad plant". Hopefully our plant is some sort of cactus.

 

Used to this in old beer can collections; could be part of the ''i'' thing for me and using Cinci.

 

http://breweriana.com/img/product/large/Cinci_Lager_Beer_54aee3d6ac031.jpg

 

 

Haha that's cool. I've never heard of that Canadian Beer. It can be added to the list of beers that aren't officially related to Cincinnati like Natty Light.

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Pretty much no one in Cincinnati spells it "Cinci". A few times you can find it spelled that way (especially around the early 1900s), but a vast majority today use "Cincy". You can say whatever you want, but don't be surprised when people call you out for not knowing anything about the city when you type "Cinci". When in doubt, do what the locals do.

 

Or die on this hill for all I care. Most of us are just trying to help you out.

 

This all so ridiculous.  Oh, jeez, thanks for helping me out here...lol

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For the vernacular: it's Cincy not Cinci. Preferably, Cincinnati. Occasionally, The Nati. Cinti if you are a postal worker. And never Cincinnat-ah.

 

The streetcar is like a plant. You can buy this amazing plant, but if you don't water it, give it good soil, and let it have sunshine, it will die. Cranley and his administration have placed our plant in the closet with no water to see what will happen. And then if it dies they will say "See! it was always a bad plant". Hopefully our plant is some sort of cactus.

 

Used to this in old beer can collections; could be part of the ''i'' thing for me and using Cinci.

 

http://breweriana.com/img/product/large/Cinci_Lager_Beer_54aee3d6ac031.jpg

 

 

Haha that's cool. I've never heard of that Canadian Beer. It can be added to the list of beers that aren't officially related to Cincinnati like Natty Light.

 

It is a cool can.

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Pretty much no one in Cincinnati spells it "Cinci". A few times you can find it spelled that way (especially around the early 1900s), but a vast majority today use "Cincy". You can say whatever you want, but don't be surprised when people call you out for not knowing anything about the city when you type "Cinci". When in doubt, do what the locals do.

 

Or die on this hill for all I care. Most of us are just trying to help you out.

 

This all so ridiculous.  Oh, jeez, thanks for helping me out here...lol

 

Yeah go to a NYC forum and tell them they need to spell it "The Big Appel".  Tell LA they're the "City of Angles". 

 

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Pretty much no one in Cincinnati spells it "Cinci". A few times you can find it spelled that way (especially around the early 1900s), but a vast majority today use "Cincy". You can say whatever you want, but don't be surprised when people call you out for not knowing anything about the city when you type "Cinci". When in doubt, do what the locals do.

 

Or die on this hill for all I care. Most of us are just trying to help you out.

 

This all so ridiculous.  Oh, jeez, thanks for helping me out here...lol

 

Yeah go to a NYC forum and tell them they need to spell it "The Big Appel".  Tell LA they're the "City of Angles".

 

The new King of Bad Analogies.

 

Big Apple is spelled Big Apple.  Cincinnati ends in an ''i'', not a ''y''.  LA and City of the Angels? So off the wall.

 

Didn't the nuns teach you phonics?  Why the need for a ''sometimes vowel y'' when you already have a vowel, like ''i''?

 

It really speaks volumes when a discussion of Cinci's streetcar defaults to nonsense about using ''Cinci'' or "Cincy'' as if that has any relation to the topic.  Guess anything is in play if someone goes off script though. 

 

Btw, didn't state that Cinci needs to use Cinci and not Cincy.  But you read what you need to read.  I use it; deal with it.

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The biggest problem with the streetcar for commuters (or workday lunches) is that it's not reliable. Which has nothing to do with the size or shape of the route. If people could park in a lot and reliably catch a streetcar to their office, we'd see if it catches on with commuters. But currently, for all the reasons listed above, it's simply not reliable when time matters. So it's primarily useful when time doesn't matter as much, i.e. good-weather weekends.

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I use the streetcar sometimes for commuting especially when it's cold or rainy out.  There are all too often still issues with reliability as well as issues with arrival time displays to the level that I don't count on it as a commuting option.  Luckily, my work schedule is a little flexible, so it isn't a big deal if I'm ten minutes late on occasion.  However, it's still annoying being forced to walk in bad weather because I have no idea when/if a streetcar will come by.


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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I always find it to be extremely reliable within OTR. I often board at 12th & Main and take it to Findlay Market or Rhinegeist, and then back. But if I'm heading to The Banks or Fountain Square, it's less useful due to the current issues. If we had the political will to give it more green lights downtown, I would use it more often for those trips. Again, these are very simple changes that other modern streetcar systems made within the first few weeks of opening. Cincinnati's has been open for almost 15 months and we have not made these adjustments yet.

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I really don't mind the streetcar being a bit slow in the CBD if I knew when/if it was arriving.  As it is I'm fighting close to zero degree temperatures or getting soaked in the rain because I don't want to just stand at a station hoping that a streetcar will arrive.


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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I really don't mind the streetcar being a bit slow in the CBD if I knew when/if it was arriving.  As it is I'm fighting close to zero degree temperatures or getting soaked in the rain because I don't want to just stand at a station hoping that a streetcar will arrive.

 

Since the beginning, the streetcars have run 3/peak 2/off-peak.  And since the beginning that should have been increased to 4/peak and 3/off-peak.  12-15 minute waits are too long.  Nobody who has options waits that long. 

 

Between running more streetcars and getting teh green light priority we could get frequency down to 5-6 minutes during peak periods.  That's how often the streetcars run in places like Toronto and Boston. 

 

 

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Also all of OC17's concerns have been addressed about 50 times in this thread already.

 

Sorry, just haven't been able to read up on a 1,003 page streetcar thread.

 

Close the thread then if it's controversial for anyone to enter the discussion yet the thread continues to update...constantly.  This streetcar thread may be the longest of all the Cinci threads.

 

What I have been enlightened on though is that the lackluster use and national bad press on ''how not to start a streetcar'' is strictly due to political conspiracies and sabotage.

 

 

 

 

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Former city council member, mayor, and congressman Tom Luken has passed away at age 92. People who have followed the streetcar debate for the past decade may remember Luken as the man who once claimed, at a COAST press conference, that the streetcar project would end up costing the city "2 or 3 billion dollars when Parsons Brinkerhoff is done with it" (the actual cost ended up being around $145 million).

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Also all of OC17's concerns have been addressed about 50 times in this thread already.

 

Sorry, just haven't been able to read up on a 1,003 page streetcar thread.

 

Close the thread then if it's controversial for anyone to enter the discussion yet the thread continues to update...constantly.  This streetcar thread may be the longest of all the Cinci threads.

 

What I have been enlightened on though is that the lackluster use and national bad press on ''how not to start a streetcar'' is strictly due to political conspiracies and sabotage.

 

 

This thread is THE largest thread on this site. It's going nowhere.

 

As for the other things. Many of the people commenting on these threads have lived through the planning, advocacy, political drama and referendums of the streetcar for years. They are trying to help you. Attacking them and pointless back and forth about your city spelling preferences do not help and may inspire the admins to action.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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