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thomasbw

Cincinnati Streetcar / Cincinnati Bell Connector News

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^Well - at least it's clear where Cranley gets his streetcar talking points from.

 

They pretend that the streetcar had no effect on real estate values.  Fact is they opposed the streetcar because they wanted complete control of Over-the-Rhine.  The streetcar attracted a lot of money from disparate developers before they could gobble it up entirely. 

 

The fact that he brings up Mt. Auburn makes me think he planted that as a foil.  So what, exactly, are their big plans?  If they want to build a subway beneath Reading Rd. from Downtown Cincinnati to Reading, well that sounds great.  Let's get going on it.  But there would have to be service to UC and the main cluster of hospital jobs a few blocks west of Reading Rd. via another line. 

 

The years tick by but the 1998 OKI plan was still the best plan, if we only have the cash to build one line, and Reading Rd. was no part of that plan. 

 

 

 

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I was riding the streetcar back from Findlay Market on Friday evening after having dinner at Pho Lang Thang and overheard an interesting conversation. Two people who appeared to be coworkers—both in their 40s, one African American woman and one white man—seemed to be riding it from some sort of happy hour event at Rhinegeist back down to the CBD.

 

M: You know, I think the problem with this thing is that they call it a streetcar. They should've called it a tram, like they do in other countries.

W: I think once people ride it, they will ride it again.

M: I always was in support of this, but I didn't get around to riding it until tonight.

W: I wasn't. I thought that it was a bad idea. But now that it's here, I get it.

 

 

So, back in the reality of people who actually spend time in the urban core and ride the streetcar and don't get chauffeured back to their Indian Hill mansion right after the business day ends, the streetcar is impressing people. Even people who used to be former skeptics.

 

If the city wants to make it successful, just make sure it runs on time, fix the handful of remaining easily-fixable problems, and maybe...you know...actually promote it? Run extra cars during big events. Make it free during Taste and Oktoberfest. It's really not that hard.

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I had a similar experience on Saturday. A group of four guys got on at Washington Park - it appeared only one of them had ever ridden it as he bought the tickets for everyone and showed them how everything work. I eavesdropped for a while and they were all very impressed with how easy it was to use and how cheap it is compared to taking an Uber or something around the core, and how it would be incredibly useful on game days than trying to fight traffic for the privilege to pay $30 to park at the Banks. Getting people on the thing is such an easy way to change peoples' minds.

 

----

 

I don't understand old peoples' obsession with those stupid Southbank Shuttle style fake trolleys. If you propose an actual streetcar and they'll oppose it, and if you were to just propose more frequent bus service along that line they'd also cry foul because "normal" people don't commute to their hospital jobs by bus, or something. But apparently putting a Spaghetti Warehouse body on a bus frame will make it a huge magnet for people who turn their noses up at normal buses.


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

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I honestly think a lot of it is generational, Millennials are much better at sniffing out authenticity than Baby Boomers. The gimmicky Hop On Trolley idea and Southbank Shuttle seem to be loved by Boomers while Millennials think it's tacky as hell.

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The Shouthbank Shuttle was originally a fleet of small airport shuttle-type large vans.  Then they switched to specially painted TANK buses.  Then it switched to the current trolley-looking buses when TANK was kicked off of the suspension bridge.  They had to get the lightweight buses in order to use that bridge. 

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I just rode the southbank shuttle for the first time last week.  While it serves a purpose (and helps that it's free right now) the right is extremely bumpy and not enjoyable. 

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The double-standard is very evident when you consider that TANK just decided to make the Southbank Shuttle free while the Roebling Bridge is closed, and received no scrutiny for that decision. Can you imagine how much hot air Jason Williams would have exhaled if Cincinnati decided to make the streetcar free for any period of time?

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^It's especially annoying since both Cleveland and Columbus have free circulators while Cincinnati does not. Even Dayton will run special free RTA buses during certain events, although not on a daily basis like the C-Bus and the Cleveland trolleys.


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

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Had some more people on the streetcar the other day when in town.

 

They enjoyed it, but their biggest complaint (like always) was all of the stopping at lights. They feel like they are crawling along, whether real or perceived.

 

Also, its the first time I have had the machine not except credit cards...so it made for some stressful fumbling for cash to feed it while the streetcar was waiting on the station.

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Had some more people on the streetcar the other day when in town.

 

They enjoyed it, but their biggest complaint (like always) was all of the stopping at lights. They feel like they are crawling along, whether real or perceived.

 

Also, its the first time I have had the machine not except credit cards...so it made for some stressful fumbling for cash to feed it while the streetcar was waiting on the station.

Download the app.  It stores your credit card info so it makes it much easier to get tickets quickly.  Remember though that when you buy the tickets you have to activate them.  It's nice that you can store them later but if you don't activate you're technically riding illegally for free. 

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The machine prints them activated now.

 

I actually use a flip phone because I work in a tech field and don't want to walk around with my work with me...but definitely will keep the app in mind for the group as a whole for future visits.

 

I don't live in town, but visit the base for different reasons frequently. Just sharing some out-off-town perspective. The thing is, out-of-towners aren't usually downloading apps for just an occasional visit/ride...its a frustration when the machine is there but doesn't work.

 

I'd love to see the machines just one the vehicle, so you can just board and pay there.

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Looking forward to my next trip to cincy, the streetcar will be my first stop!  Got to use detroit's a few months back and it was awesome! Discovered many things i would have never seen before..  youll get a fare or 2 out of my forsure... plus anyone im with!

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We had our first warm weekend of the year and the streetcar system looked very busy despite the Reds being out of town.  I saw 50+ people on every streetcar, even late night on Saturday. 

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It seems to be functioning well, but I opted to walk this past Saturday from Central Parkway to The Banks simply because the headways were 20 minutes plus according to the sign. Apparently lots of crowding and traffic up near the Asian Food Festival.

 

During the week it's been pretty good, but because the frequency isn't great you need to rely on tracking the location to time it right.

 

You could track it on the EZRide app, but that doesn't have real time.

 

You could track it on the Transit app, but that's unreliable.

 

You can track it on the Metro website, but that doesn't work on iPhone it seems.

 

You wouldn't need to track it at all if the frequency was reliable/good.

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Traffic this weekend was a total cluster[/member]#$*. Way worse than usual. I know Asian Food Fest was going on at Washington Park but there must've also been a dozen other things happening. Of course when that happens, the streetcar's headways suffer. This could be alleviated very easily if we had a few more segments of transit-only lanes, a few more green lights for the streetcar, and a few traffic cops helping to keep things flowing during crazy weekends.

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I was in town again this weekend.

 

The worst spot in the system in my experience is on Walnut street when it switches lanes right here: https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1009173,-84.5112943,3a,72.7y,172.15h,90.64t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sSjgk0vv0lRB9i5tA9mTB4Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

For whatever reason, every time I ride, it waits several cycles (5+ minutes) at this light.

 

The weekend as well, after waiting for several minutes at that light, the driver pulled into the transit only lane between 2nd and 3rd and announced that she couldn't pull into the Banks for another 4 minutes to maintain headways, so we parked there for 4 minutes within sight of the stop. Why can't they just layover at the station so people can get on-and-off?

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This was all after leaving behind about 7 or 8 people at I think 7th street who were struggling with the Ticket-vending machine. The driver made an announcement towards the platform letting them know that she could not wait on them because she had to maintain a schedule.

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Stopping and waiting (“dwell time”) before arriving at the Banks stop sounds utterly implausible. Hate to call out a new forum user but these posts seem suspect to me.


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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Stopping and waiting (“dwell time”) before arriving at the Banks stop sounds utterly implausible. Hate to call out a new forum user but these posts seem suspect to me.

 

???

 

I don't understand what is suspect about my posts? I had an older account (maybe 5-6 years old) that I couldn't access, albeit with only a few posts.

 

I am in the Dayton area, but I visit Downtown/OTR any chance I get. It feels like another world outside of Ohio, I spent some time in  Europe and it makes me feel like I am back there. The streetcar just adds to that feeling and is a great asset even without major improvements. I just wish a couple of these smaller issues could be ironed out to improve upon that (and its expanded at some point).

 

I have introduced maybe 10-15 people to rail transit for the first time via the streetcar, including some middle-aged suburbanites who only hear mis-information spread by the media. They turned a 180 and try to find an excuse to ride it when they are downtown for any event or at the market or whatever.

 

I just thought that transit fans like me (I lurk a lot here) would be interested in hearing feedback from one of the target crowds, "tourists" who park in the basin somewhere and use it to circulate between attractions or events.

 

I guess you don't have to believe the "dwell time" comment, but I thought I would share it because its the first time that had happened in that location. It was a little painful to sit there in plain view of the Banks stop and just be stuck waiting. The leg from central parkway to the banks on walnut is the most painfully slow part of the system, and the leg I ride the most. (I often park in OTR and eat somewhere there before riding to a Reds game). Main northbound seems to move a lot faster. And, as already posted, Elm/Race are quick enough as well.

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Stopping and waiting (“dwell time”) before arriving at the Banks stop sounds utterly implausible. Hate to call out a new forum user but these posts seem suspect to me.

 

I live on 4th street so I walk around this area a lot. Just this past week I saw the streetcar waiting between 3rd and 2nd street on 4th, in the northern section of the block. It was very odd to see this and I've never see it do this before. It was waiting there and not advancing to the light. I'm not sure if this is a "dwell time" but I did witness something like this (what greenville2 is describing).

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Streetcar presentation today at 1pm at city hall. Starts around page 73: https://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/council/meeting-agendas-minutes/major-projects-smart-government/

 

Somebody botched this pretty badly... I know the revenue here should grow over time, but this estimate was way off:

 

Original projections for the VTICA budget line for FY 2018 was $400,000...

 

For FY 2018, the revised projection, based on actual Auditor values and VTICA invoices, totals $36,000 resulting in a $364,000 shortfall to the Streetcar budget.

 

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What about the recently studied Subway extensions(specifically completing the Walnut Street subway)? If the streetcar is built, wouldn't subway construction close the Walnut Street running portion? Would the streetcar prohibit this extension?

 

Here's a post of mine from 9 years ago. I guess I started reading here about 11 years ago, time flies.

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Streetcar presentation today at 1pm at city hall. Starts around page 73: https://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/council/meeting-agendas-minutes/major-projects-smart-government/

 

Somebody botched this pretty badly... I know the revenue here should grow over time, but this estimate was way off:

 

Original projections for the VTICA budget line for FY 2018 was $400,000...

 

For FY 2018, the revised projection, based on actual Auditor values and VTICA invoices, totals $36,000 resulting in a $364,000 shortfall to the Streetcar budget.

 

Yes. It is incredible that they developed budget projections assuming that the Auditor would value buildings based on the renovation cost. It's almost as if these sorts of critical calculations are just left to some low level IT staff person who knows how to query a data base, as opposed to someone familiar with the process the Auditor actually uses.

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There has to be more to that story than auditor valuations. Seems like a more drastic mistake was made -- i.e., mixing up the property tax earned in 2017 with the property tax payable in 2017, or something of that nature. On top of that, several of the big projects that were going to pay into VTICA have stalled. And of course some projects like the Court & Walnut tower have been exempted from paying into VTICA at all.

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yes part of it is delays - they mention both that and the valuation in the reporting. But their assumption of valuation == cost could result it, say, a 50% long term reduction in income estimate. I don't think that's out of the question at all.

 

Whatever it is, it is stupid.

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Cranley just posted this short video on Twitter of him riding the streetcar... it doesn't have any commentary, which makes it rather cryptic. Is he trying to send a political message (no other passengers visible on the vehicle)? Does he know how to use his phone?

 

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I am a bit suspicious of the pro-streetcar social media messages from Cranley and certain SORTA board members. I think they are starting to realize that their apathy/neglect towards the streetcar is going to blow up in their faces if something really bad happens (i.e., Cincinnati Bell decides to pull their sponsorship).

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Stopping and waiting (“dwell time”) before arriving at the Banks stop sounds utterly implausible. Hate to call out a new forum user but these posts seem suspect to me.

 

I live on 4th street so I walk around this area a lot. Just this past week I saw the streetcar waiting between 3rd and 2nd street on 4th, in the northern section of the block. It was very odd to see this and I've never see it do this before. It was waiting there and not advancing to the light. I'm not sure if this is a "dwell time" but I did witness something like this (what greenville2 is describing).

 

Yeah, it makes no sense. Just take the dwell time at The Banks stop with access to the doors.

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It should have been free from the beginning.  If they change to make it free moving forward I would think they'd have to come up with/revise the way money gets put into the streetcar budget.  They already started down a slippery slope allowing the new Kroger building/garage/apartment complex to be exempt from giving toward the streetcar. 

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Hopefully City Council can figure out the financing to make this happen. The point of the streetcar isn't to make a profit from people riding it; it's to make it extremely easy for people to get around the urban core and encourage new development along the route. So make it free. The existing TVMs at all of the stations can continue to sell bus passes. The only "gotcha" I can imagine is that security costs will likely go up as the number of riders increases. As long as the city can pay for that, I think it's a great idea.

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700WLW just suggested selling advertising on the side of the streetcars.  Seems totally unaware that the streetcars are wrapped in Cincinnati Bell festoonery, plus have a second advertisement. 

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Has everyone seen the additional advertising signage available on the sides of the station pay locations as well?  Seems like they are doing plenty if not too much on the advertising part.


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

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