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Thought you'd all find this funny. First race on the new season of Top Gear features Richard Hammond crossing a streetcar track, it catching his wheel, and him falling down and hurting himself. Not quite as dramatic though as the signs along our route would suggest.

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From an otherwise glowing review of Cranley's first year, the Enquirer's only real criticism of the Mayor's performance to date:

The last issue is nowhere on the mayor's list, and that's the problem. The streetcar is coming, and we will continue to urge Cranley to not only passively accept that fact but to emulate Councilwoman Amy Murray and actively embrace its possibilities.

 

It's no secret that mass transit, walkable neighborhoods and bikes are attractive to millennials – the workers of the future – and Cranley ignores that population at the peril of our city.

 

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/editorials/2015/01/24/cranley-year-full-steam-ahead/22279489/

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In Milwaukee, the citizens actually fought against burying the power lines in one of the city's main neighborhood business districts.  I was in my undergrad there at the time and people were storming city hall to have the power lines removed from the city's streetscaping plans.

 

John Norquist, president of the Congress for New Urbanism and former Milwaukee mayor returned to Milwaukee in 2012 and said this:

"The neighborhood made a good move in not spending $2.5 million to bury power lines during its streetscaping project. People like things a little dirty and jumbled and do not clamor for banners, planters and other impedimenta. "

 

http://urbanmilwaukeedial.com/2012/04/19/horne-norquist-promotes-mixed-use-development-on-brady-st/

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I don't think all wires are bad but if you check out the private lanes around town (there are a bunch in East Walnut Hills) you really start to notice that not having those wooden poles every so often actually makes things a lot nicer.

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In Milwaukee, the citizens actually fought against burying the power lines in one of the city's main neighborhood business districts.  I was in my undergrad there at the time and people were storming city hall to have the power lines removed from the city's streetscaping plans.

 

John Norquist, president of the Congress for New Urbanism and former Milwaukee mayor returned to Milwaukee in 2012 and said this:

"The neighborhood made a good move in not spending $2.5 million to bury power lines during its streetscaping project. People like things a little dirty and jumbled and do not clamor for banners, planters and other impedimenta. "

 

http://urbanmilwaukeedial.com/2012/04/19/horne-norquist-promotes-mixed-use-development-on-brady-st/

 

I don't mind the streetcar wires since they're barely visible and there aren't a lot of other overhead wires (at least where I live), but I couldn't disagree more with Norquist's quote.  Sheesh, what's wrong with clean?  What's wrong with planters?  I was so glad when newspapers stopped cluttering sidewalk corners with their boxes since they weren't well-stocked to begin with, were dirt magnets, made it harder to keep the pavement clean, people occasionally beat on them like drums and often left food and beverages on top of them. 

 

One thing I really like about living in the CBD is that there aren't utility poles and wires all over the place.  It's not a pleasant sight to look out of an upper floor window right into a tangle of power lines.  I'm so glad our utilities are buried -- we don't suffer power outages like other neighborhoods do that don't have buried utilities.  Those people in Milwaukee made an unwise decision IMO.

 

If engineers could figure out how to eliminate catenary wires, I have no doubt they would.  They don't exist because people clamor for them.  Except maybe some Milwaukeeans.

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ProkNo5 your photo looking up Elm reminded me of a streetcar extension idea I had several years ago.  Notice the location of the broadcast tower in this photo:

streetcar_zps1xukl3xz.jpg

 

I made this drawing of a line extension northward to Clifton Ave. in a tunnel, with a station where the broadcast tower is now.  That site could be redeveloped as a hi-density apartment complex with very convenient public transportation to both UC and Downtown:

streetcar-clifton_zpsbegthtwq.jpg

 

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In Milwaukee, the citizens actually fought against burying the power lines in one of the city's main neighborhood business districts.  I was in my undergrad there at the time and people were storming city hall to have the power lines removed from the city's streetscaping plans.

 

John Norquist, president of the Congress for New Urbanism and former Milwaukee mayor returned to Milwaukee in 2012 and said this:

"The neighborhood made a good move in not spending $2.5 million to bury power lines during its streetscaping project. People like things a little dirty and jumbled and do not clamor for banners, planters and other impedimenta. "

 

http://urbanmilwaukeedial.com/2012/04/19/horne-norquist-promotes-mixed-use-development-on-brady-st/

 

I don't mind the streetcar wires since they're barely visible and there aren't a lot of other overhead wires (at least where I live), but I couldn't disagree more with Norquist's quote.  Sheesh, what's wrong with clean?  What's wrong with planters?  I was so glad when newspapers stopped cluttering sidewalk corners with their boxes since they weren't well-stocked to begin with, were dirt magnets, made it harder to keep the pavement clean, people occasionally beat on them like drums and often left food and beverages on top of them. 

 

One thing I really like about living in the CBD is that there aren't utility poles and wires all over the place.  It's not a pleasant sight to look out of an upper floor window right into a tangle of power lines.  I'm so glad our utilities are buried -- we don't suffer power outages like other neighborhoods do that don't have buried utilities.  Those people in Milwaukee made an unwise decision IMO.

 

If engineers could figure out how to eliminate catenary wires, I have no doubt they would.  They don't exist because people clamor for them.  Except maybe some Milwaukeeans.

 

I think the big difference is that very few streets in Milwaukee have utility poles to begin with as they were all mostly installed in alleys. People viewed it as a unique asset to the neighborhood.

 

Honestly, I'm not arguing that we should keep utilities above ground in Over-the-Rhine. I'm just offering an alternative perspective.

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ProkNo5 your photo looking up Elm reminded me of a streetcar extension idea I had several years ago.  Notice the location of the broadcast tower in this photo:

streetcar_zps1xukl3xz.jpg

 

I made this drawing of a line extension northward to Clifton Ave. in a tunnel, with a station where the broadcast tower is now.  That site could be redeveloped as a hi-density apartment complex with very convenient public transportation to both UC and Downtown:

streetcar-clifton_zpsbegthtwq.jpg

 

LOL. You're just trying to get a streetcar station at your house. ;-)

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Incidentally it's only about an 8 minute walk from Murphy's Pub at Warner St. to Findlay Market and the top of the streetcar line using the Race St. steps.  However almost nobody does it because I don't think many UC students know that Findlay Market exists.  This year many UC students attempted to ride the #17 to games at Paul Brown Stadium, however I usually saw the buses completely full by the time they reached W. Clifton and so the dozens of students passed by caused surges on Uber and Lyft. 

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Incidentally it's only about an 8 minute walk from Murphy's Pub at Warner St. to Findlay Market and the top of the streetcar line using the Race St. steps.  However almost nobody does it because I don't think many UC students know that Findlay Market exists.  This year many UC students attempted to ride the #17 to games at Paul Brown Stadium, however I usually saw the buses completely full by the time they reached W. Clifton and so the dozens of students passed by caused surges on Uber and Lyft. 

 

The northernmost streetcar stop (and thus Findlay Market) is definitely within walking distance for most of the residents living on the far south end of CUF (really most anything south of Warner). I think the reason you don't see a lot of people make that walk, aside from the simple fact it's a large hill, is the condition of the Race Street steps. The steps themselves are in great shape, but the brush and weeds around them quickly grow to several feet tall, and become completely covered with litter. It occasional looks like someone lives down there, as well. It would be a good place to organize a cleanup and try to encourage more UC students to utilize them.

 

As development at the north end of the streetcar continues, it will be interesting to see if there’s any interest in adding more steps where they have been removed. There were once steps at virtually every block – Klotter to Ravine, Stratford to Mohawk, Stonewall up to Hastings, and Elm up to Clifton. It wasn’t until the 90’s that the last of them were removed.

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ProkNo5 your photo looking up Elm reminded me of a streetcar extension idea I had several years ago.  Notice the location of the broadcast tower in this photo:

streetcar_zps1xukl3xz.jpg

 

I made this drawing of a line extension northward to Clifton Ave. in a tunnel, with a station where the broadcast tower is now.  That site could be redeveloped as a hi-density apartment complex with very convenient public transportation to both UC and Downtown:

streetcar-clifton_zpsbegthtwq.jpg

 

LOL. You're just trying to get a streetcar station at your house. ;-)

 

^this line could then go past skyline on Ludlow make a right at Glenmary to get to the zoo

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I have seen and heard from some more enterprising UC students who have walked to Rhinegeist via the Ohio Ave. steps, which is definitely a shadier route than W. Clifton.  Schwart'z point over to Findlay Market is not an intimidating area at night anymore. 

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If engineers could figure out how to eliminate catenary wires, I have no doubt they would.  They don't exist because people clamor for them.  Except maybe some Milwaukeeans.

 

Keep in mind that the catenary wire acts as a reference point for those unfamiliar with the area (tourists, business travelers, etc.).  This is a small part of why rail transit is preferable to bus lines.  You always know where the train runs and which direction.  That allows people to wander and explore in a way that they aren't comfortable doing otherwise, because you can spot that wire from blocks away if you get turned around.  So even if you could eliminate the catenary wire, there are people who would argue that it is a valuable part of the system.

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Yeah a tunnel / subway would obviously be the best way to go, speed it up considerably and in the long run be better for the city.

 

Would it re-surface at the spot by Hughes high school and then continue on from there to the hospitals, etc?

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If engineers could figure out how to eliminate catenary wires, I have no doubt they would.  They don't exist because people clamor for them.  Except maybe some Milwaukeeans.

 

Keep in mind that the catenary wire acts as a reference point for those unfamiliar with the area (tourists, business travelers, etc.).  This is a small part of why rail transit is preferable to bus lines.  You always know where the train runs and which direction.  That allows people to wander and explore in a way that they aren't comfortable doing otherwise, because you can spot that wire from blocks away if you get turned around.  So even if you could eliminate the catenary wire, there are people who would argue that it is a valuable part of the system.

 

Sorry, but yours seems like a lame, strained rationale, considering that a route map, app, etc. would be much more informative and more user-friendly.  Streetcars turn corners -- do visitors really walk around to see where the catenary goes?  How easily can they see it at night?  I've never looked up at the catenary when I've been in Portland and wanted to hop on a streetcar.  And saying that it's visible from blocks away refutes the claim that it's not an eyesore because it's barely visible. 

 

Enough navel gazing.  It's not worth discussing.

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Better get the county and state involved if  the  up-town link is to be funded. I doubt Cranley has said one word to either about it. Cranley should have been asking the state to at least help with operating the system for a couple of years.

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Sorry, but yours seems like a lame, strained rationale, considering that a route map, app, etc. would be much more informative and more user-friendly.  Streetcars turn corners -- do visitors really walk around to see where the catenary goes?  How easily can they see it at night?  I've never looked up at the catenary when I've been in Portland and wanted to hop on a streetcar.  And saying that it's visible from blocks away refutes the claim that it's not an eyesore because it's barely visible. 

 

Enough navel gazing.  It's not worth discussing.

 

A track with a wire above it in an urban environment tells informed persons that it is a significant public transportation presence. It requires a frequent transit service to justify an electrified transit line, and it differentiates it from any nondescript street that may or may not have a bus on it. So if I'm in a city I don't know and I have to get someplace, a street that has a streetcar/tram on it is a much stronger reference point than any other basic street without a streetcar/tram on it.


"Your community is your commodity, my commodity & everyone's commodity." -- borrowing on silly slogans in Cleveland's Ohio City

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I've never heard anyone cite the wires as the important part in expressing the permanence of transit, it's the tracks that are important. 

 

It's both. Some cities have industrial freight tracks running down them. Some have extinct tram lines where the tracks still exist...

 

If I'm in a strange town and I need to get someplace, I'm walking to this street:

16212697237_30837ec8d7_b.jpg

 

Instead of this street which could have a bus on it or maybe not:

16211209180_63befe5c12_b.jpg

 

BTW, these are both in Portland only a block apart. But many streets in Philadelphia, Boston or Europe are like these.

 


"Your community is your commodity, my commodity & everyone's commodity." -- borrowing on silly slogans in Cleveland's Ohio City

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Thanks for the pics, taestell.

 

I know we've gone over this before. Several times. But how many portions of track run on the left side of the street? Why? Wouldn't it have been better to anticipate the streets possibly becoming two-way in the future?

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Sorry, but yours seems like a lame, strained rationale, considering that a route map, app, etc. would be much more informative and more user-friendly. 

 

Not everyone wants to have their head buried in a route map or a smart phone's transit app while exploring a new city.  If you're walking and talking with another person, being able to spot the catenary at a glance is nice, even if you never actually get on the train.  Yes, google maps exists if you get truly lost, but I'm talking about not getting lost in the first place because every time you see that thing you automatically reorient.

 

Streetcars turn corners -- do visitors really walk around to see where the catenary goes?  How easily can they see it at night?  I've never looked up at the catenary when I've been in Portland and wanted to hop on a streetcar. 

 

All I'm saying is that it serves as a waypoint in a way that tracks do not.  You may not have done this, but I and many others have.

 

And saying that it's visible from blocks away refutes the claim that it's not an eyesore because it's barely visible. 

 

No it doesn't.  There's a difference between something being an eyesore and something being noticeable.  It's a clean, taut line, but it IS visible from a few blocks away, so I'm not even sure what you're arguing here.

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Thanks for the pics, taestell.

 

I know we've gone over this before. Several times. But how many portions of track run on the left side of the street? Why? Wouldn't it have been better to anticipate the streets possibly becoming two-way in the future?

 

I'm not sure there are plans to make some of the north-south streets two-way, unlike a lot of the east-west streets. Vine was an exception.

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I love those pictures looking down the line throughout Over the Rhine.  It shows just how great of an urban neighborhood it can really be with the form, etc.  I really believe that if there was a tunnel built to get to uptown, the area would just explode because it would allow everyone who works at the hospitals, etc. to live a car free life.  That would make it so attractive to employers, etc.  I don't think it would be that hard to increase the downtown (OTR, Pendelton and downtown proper) and uptown population by 30k all together, and that is just for professionals, not students.  I don't think it's a pipe dream, we just need a governor who believes in mass transit and believes in Ohio's core cities.  A guy like Minnesota's governor.  We can get there.

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Thanks for the pics, taestell.

 

I know we've gone over this before. Several times. But how many portions of track run on the left side of the street? Why? Wouldn't it have been better to anticipate the streets possibly becoming two-way in the future?

 

On the other hand if the streets remain one way maybe they can dedicate the lanes someday. 


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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... how many portions of track run on the left side of the street? Why? Wouldn't it have been better to anticipate the streets possibly becoming two-way in the future?

 

The tracks should run in the right lane the entire length of Race.  It is goofy to switch lanes from right to left up at Findlay Market.  I thought it was done to avoid moving the sewer line, but maybe it had more to do with the left turn at Central Parkway and not having the train cross in front of parallel traffic making the turn.

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... how many portions of track run on the left side of the street? Why? Wouldn't it have been better to anticipate the streets possibly becoming two-way in the future?

 

The tracks should run in the right lane the entire length of Race.  It is goofy to switch lanes from right to left up at Findlay Market.  I thought it was done to avoid moving the sewer line, but maybe it had more to do with the left turn at Central Parkway and not having the train cross in front of parallel traffic making the turn.

 

At least the streetcar's left-hand doors will get some use. 

 

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I'm sure this has been answered before, but is there a reason that the streetcar doesn't go down Walnut in OTR? With Elm and Race being just a block apart, it seems like we are missing an opportunity to spread investment by not making the southern portion go down a more central part of OTR. Going down Walnut would also have eliminated a set of turns on Central Parkway, which would have been a money saver.

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Thanks for the pics, taestell.

 

I know we've gone over this before. Several times. But how many portions of track run on the left side of the street? Why? Wouldn't it have been better to anticipate the streets possibly becoming two-way in the future?

 

On the other hand if the streets remain one way maybe they can dedicate the lanes someday. 

 

This is made more complicated when you have the tracks running in the right lane for some length and then switching to the left.

 

Thanks for the pics, taestell.

 

I know we've gone over this before. Several times. But how many portions of track run on the left side of the street? Why? Wouldn't it have been better to anticipate the streets possibly becoming two-way in the future?

 

I'm not sure there are plans to make some of the north-south streets two-way, unlike a lot of the east-west streets. Vine was an exception.

 

Plans change all the time, whereas streetcar tracks are not so easy to change. It limits the possibility of future plans.

 

... how many portions of track run on the left side of the street? Why? Wouldn't it have been better to anticipate the streets possibly becoming two-way in the future?

 

The tracks should run in the right lane the entire length of Race.  It is goofy to switch lanes from right to left up at Findlay Market.  I thought it was done to avoid moving the sewer line, but maybe it had more to do with the left turn at Central Parkway and not having the train cross in front of parallel traffic making the turn.

 

Maybe a better solution would have been dedicating the right lane for streetcars and buses and creating an extra signal phase for them at Central Pkwy. Would only have had to be done for a block (though the whole length of Race wouldn't have hurt).

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I love those pictures looking down the line throughout Over the Rhine.  It shows just how great of an urban neighborhood it can really be with the form, etc.  I really believe that if there was a tunnel built to get to uptown, the area would just explode because it would allow everyone who works at the hospitals, etc. to live a car free life.  That would make it so attractive to employers, etc.  I don't think it would be that hard to increase the downtown (OTR, Pendelton and downtown proper) and uptown population by 30k all together, and that is just for professionals, not students.  I don't think it's a pipe dream, we just need a governor who believes in mass transit and believes in Ohio's core cities.  A guy like Minnesota's governor.  We can get there.

 

At the very least people should start using the bus system that is already there.  Metro Plus for instance makes commuting from OTR to "Pill Hill" very fast, and in general bus service between OTR and uptown is adequate - the two are close enough that in spite of the downsides of bus transit  its not that bad.  I think that's the first step towards people demanding better - at least help create a culture of transit use which I think the streetcar is a good piece of the puzzle and get more people to demand better.

 

When I lived in Cincy btw, the only time I ever used the bus was to go from uptown to downtown - and literally the only thing I could really use it for was commuting to work as downtown was super dead.  These days there is stuff in downtown and OTR so the areas where the bus system is good are far more useful than they used to be.

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