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thomasbw

Cincinnati Streetcar / Cincinnati Bell Connector News

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I just got back from Germany last week.  I'm more convinced than ever on rail transit.  That country is so well connected by trains its hard to believe (streetcars, light rail, subway, regional, and highspeed lines).  We did everything via train the whole time we were there and loved it!  There's nothing like it here in the states (and I've spent time in all of the big cities here with subways, lightrail, etc).  Berlin was especially impressive with its use of streetcars.  Many of their vehicles were just like the ones we're getting here.  We should be very excited.  I don't need to preach to the choir here, but I think the fundamental problem is that this region is full of a majority of people who don't understand what streetcars are for (don't fully know why that is, but I suspect its due to lack of travel experiences or living elsewhere).  John's trips to Portland are exactly the kind of eye opening experience that these people desperately need.  At this point I think all we can do is hope that once our system is in place that at least some of these people will come downtown and use it and start to see its effectiveness in terms of moving pedestrians around efficiently and conveniently.  Regardless, I think this city is going to really take off once this system is running and we're going to see it extended all over the place whether our current council/mayor wants it to or not:)

 

In 2017 many people considering systems are going to be coming to Cincinnati rather than to Portland.

 

Great point, Jake!

 

  ^  Except the wine's not as good.

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Here are the details on the two streetcar tours of Portland this fall.

 

As you know, there will be two tours this time, one group on Monday, September 21st and another on Wednesday, September 23rd -- your choice. Since we will start early in the morning, you'll need to arrive the day before. Goes without saying that we'll be spending a lot of time on the Portland Streetcar, but we'll also be on Portland's newest light rail line which opens a few days before we get there. And you'll travel through North America's deepest transit tunnel because a tunnel will be needed if we're serious about getting rail to Uptown. The tour ends after a late dinner.

 

To participate in this tour, make your air reservations as soon as possible. Lately, some Cincinnatians have been flying to Seattle, taking one of the fast trains to Portland, and flying back to Cincinnati from Portland. Or vice versa. Worth doing if you have an extra day or two. Or longer -- Seattle, Olympic National Park, the San Juan Islands, and Vancouver are all sure bets. Weather in the Pacific Northwest is usually excellent in September. Make the most of it.

 

After you've booked your flight, please send a check in the amount of $125 per traveler to the made out to the Alliance for Regional Transit, ATTN: John Schneider, 203 East Eighth, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45202. This sum covers the cost of lunch, drinks and dinner on Monday or Wednesday, plus train and aerial tram tickets and meals and gifts for our speakers. We don't make any money from leading these trips, and whoever leads the trip also pays his or her own way.

 

When you send in your check, let me know how you wish to be identified on the trip roster -- "president of ABC Company" or "Clifton resident" or however. Our speakers sometimes want to know their audiences. Also, please include the name of anyone traveling with you and how they wish to be identified. We'll need your cell phone number(s) because if it's a big group, we're bound to lose someone on a train somewhere. Having your number will help us reconnect. Finally, please give me the dates of your arrival and departure from the hotel. Once in a blue moon, we catch a hotel booking mistake.

 

Right now, airfares on Delta are around $400 and as low as $270 on Frontier. They will be much higher closer to the date of the tour.

 

As soon as your check arrives, I will send you a code that enables you to book a room at Portland's best hotel, the  Monaco, at the highly discounted rate of $169 per night plus tax for the nights of September 20th - 24th. You can see photos of Hotel Monaco here: http://www.monaco-portland.com/portland-hotel/index.html. I checked the hotel's web site, and these rooms are listed for $203 to $428 per night on those nights, so we're getting an amazing deal. You may be able to extend your stay at the lower rate - ask when you reserve. And of course, you could stay at anywhere else. I can tell you what I know about other hotels. There are lots of good choices, but do plan to stay in downtown. Otherwise, the logistics may get complicated for you.

 

Hope you can make one of them.

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Be careful how much support you voice for moving these festivals to the Banks. As we all know, any good idea touted by streetcar supporters, no matter what, will be a no-go for the Mayor.

 

It's not the ideas he dislikes; it's the people who present the ideas.

 

Great UrbanCincy editorial: It’s Time to Consider Moving Major Festivals to Central Riverfront

 

http://www.urbancincy.com/2015/04/editorial-its-time-to-consider-moving-major-festivals-to-central-riverfront/

 

Expect to hear the mayor's opposition in 3, 2...

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Will Cranley ride the streetcar?

 

"If it's a convenient and affordable way for me to get to where I'm going, sure," Cincinnati's mayor told The Enquirer on Monday. "I use Red Bike a lot, but in the winter, it might make more sense (to take the streetcar)."

 

Sounds like he's wised up a little bit and realized that, oh crap, I need to cut back on the "it doesn't go anywhere" type of rhetoric.

 

Also:

 

"I think the streetcar was a mistake, but since we're building it, I want it to be successful," Cranley said. "That's why we're trying to get the residents who live in Over-the-Rhine to pay more for the streetcar."

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Great progress over the weekend crossing Central Parkway.  This week they will be doing part of Walnut during the week, then back to Main over the weekend for crossing Court St.  By Monday, May 4 they will be almost to 9th St on Main. 

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Great progress over the weekend crossing Central Parkway.  This week they will be doing part of Walnut during the week, then back to Main over the weekend for crossing Court St.  By Monday, May 4 they will be almost to 9th St on Main. 

 

700 WLW is in the habit of announcing weekend intersection closings for streetcar construction, as if it's something on par with the work on I-75 or the weekend closings of I-71 for the MLK interchange.  Last Friday they announced this past weekend's closing with "More problems from the streetcar -- Central Parkway will be closed...".

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Opponents have hinted at burning the houses of supporters now through social media.  This is what ultimately happens when you have childish leadership.

 

Streetcar comment investigation: No charges

 

Councilman Christopher Smitherman, who alerted police to the comment, told The Enquirer he would not press charges.


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

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Getting around to uploading some of my streetcar photos from the past month.

 

Race Street being milled (4/13):

 

17123461378_a159f70b36_c.jpg

 

Resurfacing in progress (4/18):

 

16690981863_3263576c21_c.jpg

 

Finished (4/22):

 

17103794437_dedfbdfaae_c.jpg

 

17103792527_6b22a25ea9_c.jpg

 

Near the MOF (4/22):

 

17309400262_8ce00fdc35_c.jpg

 

17125015689_18d788a916_c.jpg

 

Wire is up on Race (4/23):

 

17103790387_8b21781143_c.jpg

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Re: Streetscape in photos 1-3

 

Will they be adding more trees to the streetscape at some point?  Anyone know if they have plans for this?  The infrastructure looks fabulous, but I think it will give it a better feel if they add trees.  It just seems a bit barren...

 

FYI: Love the pictures

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Does anyone have an updated map of the segments of track that have already been laid? I'm curious if we can get a quick visual representation.

 

Basically everything except for Main Street [3rd-Court] and Walnut [3rd-4th] is complete.

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Main and Court intersection scheduled for this weekend. Walnut and Third scheduled the following weekend. Quick & dirty:


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

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Why do the lanes shift on that block though? Isn't Race the exact same width through that stretch?

 

I think John has mentioned it on here before. But I belive the shifting lanes go back hundreds of years to poor assessments way back when.

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Interesting. I wonder why they didn't just remedy that by striping straight since the right lane doesn't exactly come close to the curb since they've removed parking on that side. Seems like it isn't really necessary in this situation to shift the lanes even if the ROW does.

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I did some investigation into this. Basically, the sidewalk was expanded when Washington Park was renovated, and this caused the traffic lanes to be shifted over slightly (notice the dotted white line indicating the two traffic lanes). The streetcar moves slightly to the left for this block to stay in the center of the lane. The shift has nothing to do with incorrect surveying or a missing streetcar stop.

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I did some investigation into this. Basically, the sidewalk was expanded when Washington Park was renovated, and this caused the traffic lanes to be shifted over slightly (notice the dotted white line indicating the two traffic lanes). The streetcar moves slightly to the left for this block to stay in the center of the lane. The shift has nothing to do with incorrect surveying or a missing streetcar stop.

 

Good to know. Although I do believe incorrect surveying has been mentioned for other shifts in the rails elsewhere. Could be wrong.

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I did some investigation into this. Basically, the sidewalk was expanded when Washington Park was renovated, and this caused the traffic lanes to be shifted over slightly (notice the dotted white line indicating the two traffic lanes). The streetcar moves slightly to the left for this block to stay in the center of the lane. The shift has nothing to do with incorrect surveying or a missing streetcar stop.

 

Although there is, incidentally, a ton of errant surveying around Cincinnati.  In fact Cincinnati is cited as having the most surveying errors in the United States in Andro Linklater's book "Measuring America": http://www.amazon.com/Measuring-America-United-Greatest-History/dp/0452284597/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1430337061&sr=8-2&keywords=measuring+america+book

 

This book details much of the purposefully botched surveying that went on in the 1790s through about 1810 which gave land speculators and sometimes even entire states hundreds of square miles of extra land for free.  The problem became so widespread that the federal government had to step in and start surveying the borders between states like Ohio and Indiana.   

 

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The ROW width changes a little through here.  According to CAGIS the ROW width changes by about 4 feet in the middle section of the segment of Race between 14th and 12th.

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Why do the lanes shift on that block though? Isn't Race the exact same width through that stretch?

 

I think John has mentioned it on here before. But I belive the shifting lanes go back hundreds of years to poor assessments way back when.

 

I asked John Deatrick once why our downtown streets don't line up 100%. His answer: drunk surveryors in the 1800's.

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Surveyors sure due have a reputation for that. I thought it had to do with having to stand next to scary speeding traffic all day... but apparently it goes back further than that.

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Surveyors sure due have a reputation for that. I thought it had to do with having to stand next to scary speeding traffic all day... but apparently it goes back further than that.

 

This is what happened when two surveying crews working in opposite directions met to form the Butler/Warren County border back in 1790~:

survey_zpshu3q6mj8.jpg

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^Not exactly true. The Miami Purchase was laid out by private surveyors hired by John Cleves Symmes. To save money, he instructed his men to lay out the north-south lines only, setting markers at every mile. The purchasers of the land were supposed to lay out the east-west lines between the markers.

 

If you look at a map of the section lines, the north-south lines are much straighter. The error lies in the distance between the markers; not all of them were 5280 feet. Keep in mind, the technology of the time was the compass and chain, and they weren't sophisticated enough to allow for slope distance up and down the hillsides, much less curvature of the earth. In those days, surveyors were often chosen for their military experience rather than their technical expertise, since the threat of Indian attacks was still real.

 

But back to Race Street: can anyone confirm that Race Street was even intended to be a straight line? Downtown Cincinnati up to 7th street was laid out in one plat, but north of 7th street the grid does not stay regular, as private land owners subdivided their property. Then, 200+ years of development have taken their toll on the original street right of way.

 

All that said, I agree that the streetcar track offset doesn't really look professional. It makes me wonder why it was laid out that way. It's only noticeable when one looks down the line, though.

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Surveyors sure due have a reputation for that. I thought it had to do with having to stand next to scary speeding traffic all day... but apparently it goes back further than that.

 

This is what happened when two surveying crews working in opposite directions met to form the Butler/Warren County border back in 1790~:

 

 

Well, basically what I've been told is to not try to drink with surveyors.

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All that said, I agree that the streetcar track offset doesn't really look professional. It makes me wonder why it was laid out that way. It's only noticeable when one looks down the line, though.

 

So that the streetcar stays in the dead center of the lane, to minimize the chance to getting hit by motorists. The same reason that the streetcar swings over about a foot to meet the stops...which allows the stops to be recessed an additional foot, to reduce the chance of getting hit by motorists.

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A few more photos from Main Street...

 

Completed curve at 12th & Main. Streetcar stop will be built on the right side of the image, in front of the Davis Furniture building (4/18):

 

17135125679_f0ee508e5a_b.jpg

 

Expanded sidewalk at 12th & Main (4/24):

 

17321353695_4b21c678dc_b.jpg

 

Moving south on Main Street (4/24):

 

17319497382_00f372e201_b.jpg

 

Crossing Central Parkway (4/24):

 

17320932071_bd00b909c9_b.jpg

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A few more photos from Main Street...

 

Completed curve at 12th & Main. Streetcar stop will be built on the right side of the image, in front of the Davis Furniture building (4/18):

 

17135125679_f0ee508e5a_b.jpg

 

 

Stough group is gonna love when that goes up.

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Completed curve at 12th & Main. Streetcar stop will be built on the right side of the image, in front of the Davis Furniture building (4/18):

 

Noticed the prep for this yesterday. It appears it'll put an end to any vehicular traffic on Wilkymacky Alley. Not that I've ever seen it used much...


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

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Completed curve at 12th & Main. Streetcar stop will be built on the right side of the image, in front of the Davis Furniture building (4/18):

 

Noticed the prep for this yesterday. It appears it'll put an end to any vehicular traffic on Wilkymacky Alley. Not that I've ever seen it used much...

 

I think it has wood pavers

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Streetcar stop will be built on the right side of the image, in front of the Davis Furniture building (4/18):

17135125679_f0ee508e5a_b.jpg

 

Will the streetcar stop be bumped out all the way to the streetcar line there? Are there any other examples of "full lane bump outs" for street car stops? It seems like most of the other stops are right in line with the sidewalk. 

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Streetcar stop will be built on the right side of the image, in front of the Davis Furniture building (4/18):

17135125679_f0ee508e5a_b.jpg

 

Will the streetcar stop be bumped out all the way to the streetcar line there? Are there any other examples of "full lane bump outs" for street car stops? It seems like most of the other stops are right in line with the sidewalk. 

 

with the exception of the Banks, 4th and Walnut and Findlay Market East, the rest are full lane bump outs.

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Streetcar stop will be built on the right side of the image, in front of the Davis Furniture building (4/18):

17135125679_f0ee508e5a_b.jpg

 

Will the streetcar stop be bumped out all the way to the streetcar line there? Are there any other examples of "full lane bump outs" for street car stops? It seems like most of the other stops are right in line with the sidewalk. 

 

The vast majority of stops bump out into the parking lane. Only a few (like Toby Keith's, 5th & Walnut, and Findlay Market southbound) are in line with the sidewalk.

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