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thomasbw

Cincinnati Streetcar / Cincinnati Bell Connector News

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1 hour ago, thomasbw said:

Gotta fix Phase 1 first

 

Fortunately, we could fix it in three months if City Council actually, you know, decided it wanted to have a successful streetcar system and adopted other city's best practices. 

 

 

 

That's why I said end of second term. I think he'll focus on fixing Phase I during his first term.

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1 hour ago, Brutus_buckeye said:

 

Sittenfeld will face a challenge from the left and he will run to the center like Cranley in the race. 

 

He's very popular with the left. I don't see anybody making a serious challenge.

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19 minutes ago, DEPACincy said:

That's why I said end of second term. I think he'll focus on fixing Phase I during his first term.

 

I do think that a Sittenfeld administration would do a much better job of running the streetcar and fixing the basic operational problems that persist. However it will be really interesting to see how much of an issue the streetcar will be during the campaign. Will Sittenfeld openly talk about wanting to fix the streetcar while he's running, given that it's still a somewhat controversial issue? Will we see some wacky candidates running against him who pledge to shut it down once they're in office?

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12 minutes ago, taestell said:

 

I do think that a Sittenfeld administration would do a much better job of running the streetcar and fixing the basic operational problems that persist. However it will be really interesting to see how much of an issue the streetcar will be during the campaign. Will Sittenfeld openly talk about wanting to fix the streetcar while he's running, given that it's still a somewhat controversial issue? Will we see some wacky candidates running against him who pledge to shut it down once they're in office?

 

Is it controversial still? Maybe in Clermont County or Kenwood, but among actual city residents there seems to be the following opinions:

 

1. It doesn't really go anywhere but it's nice to have. 

 

2. It doesn't really go anywhere but I wish they'd extend it so it would. 

 

3. It has spurred development, but it's not really that useful for transportation. 

 

4. Eh. I don't really think about it much. 

 

There doesn't seem to be a huge resistance within city limits. And points 1 through 3 above would be fixed by making it run faster and more frequent and eventually expanding it. 

 

I don't think PG will make it a centerpiece of his campaign, but when asked about it, if he says "I'm going to improve the frequency and travel times so it's more useful and then we can look into making it go uptown" I don't think anyone will view that as negative.

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1 hour ago, Brutus_buckeye said:

Sittenfeld will likely win. I dont think we will see construction up Vine to Taft though.

 

Sittenfeld will face a challenge from the left and he will run to the center like Cranley in the race. 

 

I think he is a solid enough arguer to stand his ground on his positions without shifting to center. He's endorsed Warren and I hope he would do like Warren and get more populist as he meets more people in the city and understands their positions on the streetcar. I think, overwhelmingly, people believe the streetcar will be a great piece of transportation once it goes to uptown and would anticipate him pushing for a study... hopefully the Main Street Tunnel to Christ Hospital option that John Schneider and Jules Rosen have been championing.

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44 minutes ago, DEPACincy said:

 

He's very popular with the left. I don't see anybody making a serious challenge.

Possibly Richardson. I have no insider knowledge on that one.

 

Given the way the city is, nobody can be him from the right. He may be popular with the left now, but also has a lot of big money interest in the city behind him and that could expose him on the left flank.  He obviously wont be as anti as Cranley on the streetcar but I dont think he will be Mallory on the matter either because he needs to keep his big money donors happy. 

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I don't think his big money donors don't care about the streetcar either way. They care about getting property tax breaks, financial assistance, relocation assistance, income tax breaks, free parking, etc.

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35 minutes ago, DEPACincy said:

2. It doesn't really go anywhere but I wish they'd extend it so it would. 

Working downtown this is the one I hear the most. "why didn't they build it up to UC" is the number one complaint, now granted half of those same people probably voted for Kasich and wouldn't like the price tag if it was proposed again, but their gut reaction is that it should go up the hill until 700WLW or the enquirer tells them otherwise.

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39 minutes ago, Brutus_buckeye said:

Possibly Richardson. I have no insider knowledge on that one.

 

He's still working out of his 2017 campaign headquarters on Ludlow.  

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11 minutes ago, ucgrady said:

Working downtown this is the one I hear the most. "why didn't they build it up to UC" is the number one complaint, now granted half of those same people probably voted for Kasich and wouldn't like the price tag if it was proposed again, but their gut reaction is that it should go up the hill until 700WLW or the enquirer tells them otherwise.

 

I hear this the most too. Now, granted, my social sphere is not really representative. Most of the people I hang out with are transplants and many of them came from cities with working transit. They can't wrap their mind around the idea that we would purposely sabotage this asset. 

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58 minutes ago, DEPACincy said:

 

Is it controversial still? Maybe in Clermont County or Kenwood, but among actual city residents there seems to be the following opinions:

 

1. It doesn't really go anywhere but it's nice to have. 

 

2. It doesn't really go anywhere but I wish they'd extend it so it would. 

 

3. It has spurred development, but it's not really that useful for transportation. 

 

4. Eh. I don't really think about it much. 

 

There doesn't seem to be a huge resistance within city limits. And points 1 through 3 above would be fixed by making it run faster and more frequent and eventually expanding it. 

 

I don't think PG will make it a centerpiece of his campaign, but when asked about it, if he says "I'm going to improve the frequency and travel times so it's more useful and then we can look into making it go uptown" I don't think anyone will view that as negative.

 

I have noticed that a lot of people who were anti-streetcar because they thought it would lead to gentrification/displacement in the core or because they wanted the money to be spent on improving bus service instead (which is not something that actually could have happened, but anyway...) have moved on and no longer badmouth the streetcar. They just want to problems to be fixed so it works right...and maybe want to extend it.

 

Many of the people who were fairly "moderate" on the issue, who may have opposed the streetcar when it was proposed, don't really have a strong opinion about it. Most of these people would be supportive of just fixing the problems and might be open to conversations about expansion.

 

However we still have a sizable percentage of city residents who still think that the streetcar is the spawn of Satan and is draining the city budget, causing the city to lay off police officers and firefighters in droves and causing the Central Parkway retaining walls to collapse. Of course, this is completely false, but if you listen to Bill Cunningham enough, you start to believe what he says. I don't know how big this segment is, but these are the people that are going to come out of the woodwork and furiously oppose PG if he says a word about improving the streetcar during his campaign.

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23 minutes ago, ucgrady said:

Working downtown this is the one I hear the most. "why didn't they build it up to UC" is the number one complaint, now granted half of those same people probably voted for Kasich and wouldn't like the price tag if it was proposed again, but their gut reaction is that it should go up the hill until 700WLW or the enquirer tells them otherwise.

Personally, I would like to see it go across the bridge to Covington and Newport. 

 

It may be more tedious with two states and 3 cities involved, but I imagine construction would be cheaper without going up the hill. Also, the width of the roads in the Clifton area and the constant changing terrain would make it difficult for the streetcar to maneuver. I also think that going across the river would really connect those neighborhoods together and make a more cohesive downtown transportation system. It would make it worht riding if you can take it to 1) GABP, The Banks and PBS, 2) Downtown Library, 3) Ftn Sq, 4) Kroger, 5) OTR, 6) Music Hall

7) Wash Park, 8 ) Rhinegeist 9) Findlay Market, 10)FCC Stadium 11) Main Strauss, 12) Newport on the LEvee 13) Covington Convention Center and River Center, 14) Downtown Covington, 15) Downtown Newport.

 

If you can add 2-3 miles that direction, it can really tie the two regions together. Bigger challenge is getting NKY to get behind it.

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47 minutes ago, taestell said:

However we still have a sizable percentage of city residents who still think that the streetcar is the spawn of Satan...I don't know how big this segment is, but these are the people that are going to come out of the woodwork...

 

That's basically all the outer neighborhoods.  Sayler Park, Riverside, West Price Hill, Westwood, Mt. Airy, College Hill, Winton Place, Carthage, Hartwell, Bond Hill, Roselawn, Pleasant Ridge, Kennedy Heights, Madisonville, Mt. Lookout, Mt. Washington, California. 

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1 hour ago, taestell said:

However we still have a sizable percentage of city residents who still think that the streetcar is the spawn of Satan and is draining the city budget, causing the city to lay off police officers and firefighters in droves and causing the Central Parkway retaining walls to collapse. Of course, this is completely false, but if you listen to Bill Cunningham enough, you start to believe what he says. I don't know how big this segment is, but these are the people that are going to come out of the woodwork and furiously oppose PG if he says a word about improving the streetcar during his campaign.

 

Sizable? I don't really think so. Bill Cunningham's audience does not live in the City of Cincinnati. They live in Eastgate, West Chester, Lebanon, Alexandria, Florence, Brown County, etc.

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22 minutes ago, jjakucyk said:

 

That's basically all the outer neighborhoods.  Sayler Park, Riverside, West Price Hill, Westwood, Mt. Airy, College Hill, Winton Place, Carthage, Hartwell, Bond Hill, Roselawn, Pleasant Ridge, Kennedy Heights, Madisonville, Mt. Lookout, Mt. Washington, California. 

 

The demographics in a lot of those places have changed. The Census Block Group that includes Elder HS is now 45% nonwhite. Westwood is becoming very diverse, with a mix of people of color and college-educated whites. Almost all of those places are getting more blue in elections. More and more people are moving in who are supportive of expanding transit options, even if it doesn't benefit them directly on a daily basis. 

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2 hours ago, Brutus_buckeye said:

Personally, I would like to see it go across the bridge to Covington and Newport. 

 

It should first be expanded into a "lower case h" shape, with the current Elm/Race tracks extended due south to The Banks.  This is essentially what the first plan was back in 2007-08, before the route was shifted to the tetris-looking shape it has now.  So all streetcars would run on Race/Elm north of 12th St., but half (or one fewer) would run on this existing route and half would run on the new tracks.  

 

The new tracks that I described would cost a lot less than the existing system since there would be a lot less track, they'd need 3 new streetcars (but preferably 4), and there would be no need to build a maintenance facility.  So it would be a $50-60 million project.  

 

 

map.png

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2 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

It should first be expanded into a "lower case h" shape, with the current Elm/Race tracks extended due south to The Banks.  This is essentially what the first plan was back in 2007-08, before the route was shifted to the tetris-looking shape it has now.  So all streetcars would run on Race/Elm north of 12th St., but half (or one fewer) would run on this existing route and half would run on the new tracks.  

 

The new tracks that I described would cost a lot less than the existing system since there would be a lot less track, they'd need 3 new streetcars (but preferably 4), and there would be no need to build a maintenance facility.  So it would be a $50-60 million project.  

 

 

map.png

what about adding a spur to the casino and to Union Terminal/FCC stadium? It would act as a circulator taking people from large parking lots to the center of town. 

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They would need to do one of three things to make this happen if the lower case h was considered:

1) Turn at 3rd Street, which is a westbound street, thus not actually going into The Banks.

2) Go past 2nd Street, and turning at Freedom Way to reach Elm.
3) Create a physically separated left lane on 2nd Street, which would be reserved for streetcars, and have a physical barrier protecting it from runaway cars speeding on 2nd.

 

1 seems like the obvious choice. It would be the cheapest, and wouldn't require drastic street changes.

2 would be a nightmare on Bengals game days or concerts at PBS. I'm all for acommodating the streetcar during events, but that part of Elm is such a mess. It would have to be really well planned out, which I have no confidence in the city to do.

3 is interesting to me. It would physically shrink the highway feel of 2nd Street by reducing the number of lanes by at least 1. It would be scary if anyway tried to run through a physical barrier, though. It would also require a little more advanced signal timing to make sure you aren't holding the streetcar for too long.

 

#1 would probably the the option taken, but #3 would increase connectivity to The Banks by allowing people to feel closer to the development. 3rd Street still feels far even if it isn't that far (See FWW caps).

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15 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

It should first be expanded into a "lower case h" shape, with the current Elm/Race tracks extended due south to The Banks.  This is essentially what the first plan was back in 2007-08, before the route was shifted to the tetris-looking shape it has now.  So all streetcars would run on Race/Elm north of 12th St., but half (or one fewer) would run on this existing route and half would run on the new tracks.  

 

The new tracks that I described would cost a lot less than the existing system since there would be a lot less track, they'd need 3 new streetcars (but preferably 4), and there would be no need to build a maintenance facility.  So it would be a $50-60 million project.  

 

 

map.png

What is the benefit of the lower case h? Is it solely to get it to go across the river? I can get that, but why not just get the buy in to take it across the river from the start. At this point, you really dont gain anything by taking it down to PBS other than maybe some convention center riders

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34 minutes ago, Brutus_buckeye said:

what about adding a spur to the casino and to Union Terminal/FCC stadium? It would act as a circulator taking people from large parking lots to the center of town. 

 

Stay tuned.

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3 minutes ago, DEPACincy said:

 

Stay tuned.

For all the talk about KC's setup for their streetcar, I believe the set up of Cincinnati's, while not overly efficient now, provides much more opportunity to grow the lines in the future 

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18 minutes ago, Brutus_buckeye said:

For all the talk about KC's setup for their streetcar, I believe the set up of Cincinnati's, while not overly efficient now, provides much more opportunity to grow the lines in the future 


disagree with this. Look up country club plaza in KC. It’s a straight shot south down Main Street from their existing line. Softball on a tee for them to connect to that 

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1 hour ago, thebillshark said:


disagree with this. Look up country club plaza in KC. It’s a straight shot south down Main Street from their existing line. Softball on a tee for them to connect to that 

 

They are already working on this:

 

 

The red red part is moving forward, the purple part is still being debated.  (And furthermore, I do agree with @Brutus_buckeye ‘s original point that the Cincinnati streetcar does have more potential than KC’s. But there is no  question that KC’s has been way more successful.  And it started the conversations that led to KC making ALL public transit free to ride. Just tremendous all around, and in the Show-Me state no less.)

 

AD10F4FE-F605-4808-88F4-6A23FCC70D1D.thumb.jpeg.6a53472f546ac0d9cbfe2b81447b92df.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Boomerang_Brian said:

...the Cincinnati streetcar does have more potential than KC’s. But there is no question that KC’s has been way more successful.

 

That's Cincinnati in a nutshell, squandered potential. 

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5 hours ago, Brutus_buckeye said:

What is the benefit of the lower case h? Is it solely to get it to go across the river? I can get that, but why not just get the buy in to take it across the river from the start. At this point, you really dont gain anything by taking it down to PBS other than maybe some convention center riders

 

Unfortunately it's a little unclear as to what the plan is for the music venue.  It is likely going to complicate the construction of a Race-Madison bridge, which would profoundly improve things for TANK and enable the streetcar to cross directly to Covington.

 

The ideal way for such a bridge to work would be for it to mimic what Dixie Terminal did before it was shut down in the late 90s.  That means the bridge structure would begin at 4th & Race and continue at that elevation across FWW and above Race St. south of Second St.  If it's a transit-only bridge there could be an elevated station either at or between Freedom Way and Second St. 

 

memi_zpsroadc5in.png

 

Elm-Race + new Ohio River Bridge sets the streetcar up for the fastest Covington>UC alignment possible should a tunnel be dug between McMicken St. and Clifton Ave. 

 

There are also a few other issues:

-if the convention center is expanded across Elm St. it would force both tracks onto Race

-unless one track is made to dip under the convention center

-or both tracks are placed on Elm St. with a dip and "subway" station beneath the convention center expansion

-although putting both tracks on Elm adds track should the thing turn over to Race St. to cross the bridge

-and a bridge aligned with Elm St. rather than Race St. provides less of an advantage to TANK than does Race/Madison as compared to its current preposterous sidetrack over to the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge. 

 

 

Edited by jmecklenborg
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^ Why not just a loop from the Banks to Taylor Southgate, over the bridge, go past Ovation, cross over to Covington and loop back over the Suspension Bridge to connect back to the Banks? 

 

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2 hours ago, Brutus_buckeye said:

Just go to Newport first over Taylor Southgate and then connect to Covington later. 

 

Newport already has a modern bridge that handles TANK well.  The Campbell County TANK routes are logical and about as efficient as they could be short of signal prioritization for TANK buses at either end of the bridge.   The situation for Boone and Kenton County TANK buses is ridiculous. People forget that when Rivercenter I & II were built in the early 1990s, funds had been appropriated by Ohio and Kentucky to build the Race-Madison Bridge.  The TANK transit center was built in the 10-story parking garage for this reason.  Then around 1995 the rug was pulled out from under TANK - the Race-Madison bridge money was shifted upstream to the "new" (now 20 year-old) Maysville bridge.  Building a transit-only bridge at Race/Madison gives transit a big advantage over private car travel and ride share.  It's as good as we can do without digging a real subway line with a tunnel under the river.

 

Even if a bridge is not part of the plan, I'm confident that building a new "spur" on Race, Elm, or split between each is the smartest thing we could do with $50 million.  There would be roughly 2x as many streetcars on the OTR section, so the service would be very visible, even during off-peak hours.  There is also the opportunity to build a new downtown alignment "correctly", with protected ROW where needed and signal prioritization from the get-go.    

 

I don't think that extending the line with a spur to the West End (i.e. Ezzard Charles) makes a ton of sense under current conditions.  Frankly I think the Central Parkway section of the line should be removed and be replaced with double tracking on 12th.  To reach Ezzard Charles, the double-tracked line would simply continue west on 12th then turn north either on Central Parkway or Central Ave.  

 

I'll argue 'till the end that the separation of the tracks between Central Parkway and 12th helped undermine Phase 1.  It makes what should be a very simple system hard for people to understand.  And basically nobody at 12th and Vine walks south to the Central Parkway station to then ride the streetcar downtown. 

 

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1 minute ago, jmecklenborg said:

I'll argue 'till the end that the separation of the tracks between Central Parkway and 12th helped undermine Phase 1.  It makes what should be a very simple system hard for people to understand.  And basically nobody at 12th and Vine walks south to the Central Parkway station to then ride the streetcar downtown. 

 

 

Also, the right turn the streetcars make from Central Parkway southward onto Walnut is maybe the dumbest thing the streetcars have to do.  If both tracks had been placed on 12th, the streetcars could have crossed Central Parkway in a civilized manner. 

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7 hours ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

Also, the right turn the streetcars make from Central Parkway southward onto Walnut is maybe the dumbest thing the streetcars have to do.  If both tracks had been placed on 12th, the streetcars could have crossed Central Parkway in a civilized manner. 

What was the motivation for running it like they did, with westbound on 12th and eastbound on Central Parkway?

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30 minutes ago, jwulsin said:

What was the motivation for running it like they did, with westbound on 12th and eastbound on Central Parkway?

 

As John Schneider explained to me, moving the northbound (Brewery District-bound?) track up to 12th allowed us to put a streetcar stop right in the heart of the action at 12th & Vine. I think it was a good choice as that is a fairly popular stop, and the fact that Gateway Quarter visitors see the streetcar passing by helps increase awareness of the system. I think it would be a worse system if both tracks were on Central Parkway and Gateway Quarter visitors had to walk south to the Central Parkway median to board.

 

Putting the tracks on 12th also gives us a crossing at 12th & Race which conveniently splits the system into an OTR loop and CBD loop in case the entire system cannot operate for some reason. Without this crossing, we would have needed to add a crossover track somewhere else in the system that would be used for these situations.

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I moved posts about future bus/rail bridges and tunnels to the Cincinnati: General Transit thread. Please keep this thread focused on the current streetcar system. Discussion of Phase 2 is fine, but any conversations about light rail or buses belong in other threads.

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12 hours ago, jmecklenborg said:

 

Also, the right turn the streetcars make from Central Parkway southward onto Walnut is maybe the dumbest thing the streetcars have to do.  If both tracks had been placed on 12th, the streetcars could have crossed Central Parkway in a civilized manner. 

 

Agreed on the Central Parkway alignment. If you're in the CBD and heading towards all the stuff on Main St, taking the streetcar is a great option. But if you're heading back... you have to go way out of your way to catch a Southbound car. Then you have to hope that car is going to show up in a reasonable amount of time. 

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13 hours ago, jmecklenborg said:

Also, the right turn the streetcars make from Central Parkway southward onto Walnut is maybe the dumbest thing the streetcars have to do.  If both tracks had been placed on 12th, the streetcars could have crossed Central Parkway in a civilized manner. 

 

As far as I know, there was never any conversation about placing both directions on 12th Street. The original plan was to place both directions on Central Parkway, and then they decided to move northbound to 12th Street for the reason I explained above.

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10 minutes ago, taestell said:

 

As far as I know, there was never any conversation about placing both directions on 12th Street. The original plan was to place both directions on Central Parkway, and then they decided to move northbound to 12th Street for the reason I explained above.

 

The only good thing to come out of the current configuration was the cool spark the streetcar throws off every time it goes through the junction.  

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3 hours ago, thomasbw said:

This would have been an easy fix for Central P arkway 

STREERCAR.png

 

I like it.  If a second line is built south on Elm & Race, this small change could be made at the same time.  The existing track south on Race to CP would of course still be used and the existing track eastward to Walnut could be kept as a bypass for those occasions when 13th gets blocked.   

 

 

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Creating new intersections with existing track has to be very expensive and time consuming. Entirely new rails have to be put in place. It would probably shut down the streetcar for a significant amount of time. I don't think the 13th alignment is necessary, honestly. I think it's too late for that alignment. We also have two stations built that would now be useless majority of the time. It's throwing money away IMO.

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It takes about a month to build all-new special trackwork as grandiose as a new grand junction, but a simple switch is a lot shorter, maybe a week.  

 

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1 hour ago, ryanlammi said:

Creating new intersections with existing track has to be very expensive and time consuming. Entirely new rails have to be put in place. It would probably shut down the streetcar for a significant amount of time. I don't think the 13th alignment is necessary, honestly. I think it's too late for that alignment. We also have two stations built that would now be useless majority of the time. It's throwing money away IMO.

I was just monday morning quarterbacking with the 13th alignment. 

 

One thing I have noticed is that splitting the track on one way couplets really did encourage more development. Think of the amount of development on Elm/Race north of Liberty compared to Vine, Walnut and Main. 

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28 minutes ago, thomasbw said:

One thing I have noticed is that splitting the track on one way couplets really did encourage more development. Think of the amount of development on Elm/Race north of Liberty compared to Vine, Walnut and Main. 

 

This has unquestionably been the case.  We only now, in November or December of 2019, several years after streetcar operations began, have seen a first building get painted on Vine. 

 

However, the 1-way pairs in Portland are situated 200 feet from each other whereas they're 400 feet apart in Cincinnati.  

 

 

 

 

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Good news- Streetcar ridership was higher than projected and higher than laster year. Bad news- it cost more to run the TVMs that we made in ticket sales for the month. 

 

Jan Ridership

2017- 35,344 

2018- 17,220

2019- 22,362

2020-  26,385 

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On 11/21/2019 at 3:15 PM, thomasbw said:

The Green and Race signal (which you could just cover with a Crosswalk sign) adds an average of about 8 seconds per loop. 

 

Last week, I noticed DOTE was doing some work at this intersection. It appears they were changing the traffic signal on Race Street to a flashing yellow and covering up the crosswalk signals. Hopefully this means that they are finally getting around to implementing some of these traffic study changes?

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I've noticed in the mornings over the past week that the stoplights have been timed differently along 4th Street, between Sycamore and Walnut. Not sure of the ones further west.


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

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The streetcar had a crash yesterday with a cement truck at 13th and Race.  The paramedics came and took a passenger away, the truck driver was cited, and the streetcar resumed service pretty quickly.

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Would be the perfect PR opportunity to get some city employees on there sanitizing all surfaces, to show everyone that it's safe to continue riding public transportation. That's what the MTA did:

 

49628038666_80a138fd20_k.jpg

 

49618677077_6b26f41e1e_k.jpg

 

49613688658_159f537404_k.jpg

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I have an older co-worker that decided to stop taking the bus because of "social distancing". It's definitely on people's minds. 

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