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Old 02-02-2009, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis and Cincinnati
682 posts, read 1,388,065 times
Reputation: 609

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The streetcars seems to pop up on threads all over the board and there is a lot of comments and discussion going on.

Personally I am pro-streetcar, it makes sense to me. I've lived in cities that had the wheeled streetcars that look like the old tyme trolly and the modern railed urban streetcar.

Both sides seem to make valid points. Railed streetcars are more infrastructure based. Wheeled streetcars provide greater flkexibility and less initial costs.

I know some also think this is a big waste of money. Personally I think its good that the city is looking at options. I am not sure however that a streetcar will be a 'cure all' to turn OTR around , but as a part of a larger development plan it makes sense.

So rather than clutter the other threads with streetcars, lets all put our best points here and try to have an intelligent respectful discussion
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:44 PM
 
455 posts, read 1,668,825 times
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I prefer the rail option. The road wheel ones are just buses dressed up like streetcars IMO.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis and Cincinnati
682 posts, read 1,388,065 times
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Good point and it raises a question. If people wont ride a city bus what is the difference between a bus and a streetcar in the minds of commuters? Do we currently have city buses that run the proposed route of the streetcar? If so do we have any ridership data?

Indianapolis had the wheeled streetcars in the 1980's. It was promoted as a "toursist attraction and a good tool to encorage people to move to the neighborhoods downtown.

Unfortunately in the 1980's there wasnt much to "see" in downtown Indianapolis and the neighborhoods they were going to serve and revitilize didnt turn around until the late 1990's. Today if they did it, it would be very sucessfull because our downtown neighborhoods are restored and there are alot of attractions downtown.

On the other hand I cant not imagine riding the streetcars in San Franciso which is very non car friendly. So is the "timing right"?

Last edited by restorationconsultant; 02-02-2009 at 01:23 PM.. Reason: more followup
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:05 PM
 
561 posts, read 1,779,631 times
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I'm very pro-streetcar, although I have reservations about the specific Cincinnati plan.

A "streetcar" with wheels is just a bus. I know this is counter-intuitive to a lot of people, but there is a giant world of difference between rail transit and a bus.
1) Rail can generate BILLIONS (yes billions) in investment dollars because it's permanent infrastructure that can allow higher densities than roads.
2) A bus never generates this investment because developers are smart enough to know that a bus route is not permanent.
3) Like it or not, there is a huge segment of the marketplace that absolutely refuses to ride a bus, but will gladly ride rail.

However, parts of Cincy's streetcar plan really bother me. The proposed cost is $25 million per mile. Based on what other cities have proposed, I think that $15 million per mile is possible (both these figures are much cheaper per mile than expanding a highway, btw). Furthermore, the system could be more bare-bones than currently proposed, as many other cities drastically cut costs through single-tracking.

A more modest plan could still connect downtown to uptown for well under $80 million dollars, rather than the $180+ million proposal that currently stands. So that aspect really bothers me. But overall, even the $180 mil plan would generate a positive return on the investment once you factor in the potential revenue increases from Over-the-Rhine property taxes.

I think that's the one thing that streetcar opponents don't understand. With a streetcar running through OTR, you are literally going to see it turn into the next Mt. Adams. The redevelopment will be insane. (Which of course is why the NAACP opposes the streetcar, because they don't want one of "their" neighborhoods to become gentrified.)

Last edited by Joe 4520832257; 02-02-2009 at 02:13 PM..
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:27 PM
 
710 posts, read 2,649,044 times
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the two biggest issues in comparing streetcar lines are 1. Inflation over the past decade (Portland opened in 1999 I think, Tampa in 2002) and 2. Vehicle type and capacity, the historic streetcars are cheaper, but hold less people and are lower performance.

Seattle, which is using comparable vehicles to Cincinnati opened last year at a cost of 40 mil a mile, so 25 mil a mile (with an 8% contingency built into that 25 already) is pretty close in line to other projections.
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:14 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis and Cincinnati
682 posts, read 1,388,065 times
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Does anyone have any calculation what the cost per passenger based on projected usage would be?
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:37 AM
 
710 posts, read 2,649,044 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by restorationconsultant View Post
Does anyone have any calculation what the cost per passenger based on projected usage would be?
are you talking about operational costs per passenger?
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:35 AM
 
Location: East Walnut Hills
189 posts, read 601,070 times
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Cincinnati has a trolley that they use during the holidays. This trolley used to run around the downtown area daily. And, for a while, the trolley was doing lunch runs to the Main St. entertainment district, when there were quite a few restaurants there. This ran @ 11am-2pm, Mon.-Fri..

Unfortunately, not enough people used the trolley to keep it operational on a regular basis.

SORTA {Metro bus system} advertises the trolley on their website during the holidays, so I'm sure they own/run it. I have also seen it out & about, with passengers, at other times of the year, so I'm sure it is rented out for special occasions, pub crawls, and the like.

I don't drive, live in the city center, and rely on public transportation. I would welcome any decent transportation system. People in Cincy always are asking how I survive without driving. I live close to shopping. I walk, ride a bus, ride with family & friends, take a cab. In the long run, it is more feasible for me. I tell people they wouldn't ask about my choice if I lived in Chicago, or any other place with a great transportation system.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:37 AM
 
2,204 posts, read 5,844,339 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soozycue520 View Post
I tell people they wouldn't ask about my choice if I lived in Chicago, or any other place with a great transportation system.
Oooo ... that last part is really good stuff, Suzy! Great argument.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:53 AM
 
1,071 posts, read 3,938,486 times
Reputation: 265
People feel the streetcar is a waste because there are too many issues to win public approval outright. The current uptown-downtown line does not serve enough city neighborhoods, and it isn't really a system that helps people reach jobs throughout the region. A "domino project" might be in order here, i.e. once the streetcar reaches the Zoo, the money will have already been secured and the council vote won to immediately advance a line through other areas such as Avondale/Walnut Hills, the Westside (which should have been a priority from day one) or to Northside. Rinse, repeat, etc.
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