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Streetcar News Roundup

Photo: Brad Thomas / CincyStreetcar Blog

Now that construction is almost certain to begin on the Cincinnati Streetcar this fall, talk has turned to future expansion of the system once the initial phase is up and running. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports on a plan to extend the streetcar line into Clifton, to form a transit hub at the University of Cincinnati:

Council looks at extending streetcar into Clifton

Although construction of the first phase of Cincinnati’s proposed Downtown-to-Uptown streetcar has not yet begun, city officials already are thinking ahead to a second stage to extend the line into Clifton and perhaps beyond.

The optimistic look forward on the streetcar plan came Monday as a City Council committee, with little fanfare and only a whiff of the controversy the project has generated in recent years, recommended City Hall move ahead with more than $100 million in bonds and grants targeted for the system.

Michael Moore, Cincinnati’s interim director of transportation and engineering, told council’s Budget and Finance Committee that even as planning for the streetcar’s first phase is continuing, City Hall already is seeking more state and federal money, some of which would be used to create “a university transit hub” around the University of Cincinnati.

Read the full article here.

Last week, Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis made some waves by reconsidering his opposition to the project after experiencing Portland’s successful streetcar system firsthand:

Photo: Brad Thomas / CincyStreetcar Blog

Leis: I support streetcars in Cincinnati

Cincinnati’s plan to build a streetcar once seemed like a dumb idea. Now that I’ve seen the effects these rail systems can have on cities like Cincinnati, I support the plan. If it were up to me, I would start building the Cincinnati streetcar tomorrow.

Full article.

Welcome aboard, Sheriff. Once our streetcar is up and running, and skeptics have a chance to experience it in the flesh, I am certain we will have a flurry of similar “I have seen the light” stories.

Meanwhile, the CincyStreetcar Blog has documented the numerous ways that the streetcar will expand ridership on the city’s Metro bus system:

Cincinnati Streetcar Will Help Boost Metro Ridership

Due to a combination of a weak economy, a fare increase, and high unemployment Metro’s ridership has suffered.  But building the Cincinnati Streetcar will help increase not only the total number of transit riders but the number of riders on Metro as well.  Our streetcar will help increase Metro ridership by:

  • Introducing new riders to transit
  • Increasing residential proximity and density
  • Increasing destinations on Metro routes
  • Improving circulation
  • Supporting Metro’s expansion

Read the full article here.

Mark my words: Once the streetcar becomes a part of normal daily life in Cincinnati, the calls for its expansion and the creation of a regional rail system will increase exponentially.