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Friday, April 1, 2011

Linchpin lunacy in Cincinnati

Fortunately they have some folks in office there who see the foolishness of the streetcar.

They probably don't wear bow ties, either.

Comments (14)

Rails in the ground are harder to move than bus stops

But there's no problem blowing $30+ million to relocate the Streetcar line underneath the Marquam and Ross Island Bridges for the sake of...blowing money.

And just how many bus stops have been moved lately in Portland? Not many - and if they are moved, it's usually a block away. Some inconvenience.

The Streetcar stops around my work don't have a plethora of businesses who have signed up JUST to be near the Streetcar line; in fact several of my nearby Streetcar stops are really not next to anything at all. Meanwhile, if the appropriate money is spent to build permanent bus stops, the bus stop will be permanent. When you treat your transit system like garbage and simply put a bus stop sign in Timbuktu with no other improvements - can you really blame citizens for not riding? When between where you can safely wait for the bus, and where the bus stops, is a big huge mudhole...is that a service you want to use?

Living in Cincinnati, I'm glad to see this development. People ask me about streetcars knowing that I come from Portland, and I tell them exactly what we all know - streetcars are about moving property, not people.

If you like your tax dollars going into downtown real estate owners' pockets, then the streetcar plans are just your thing!

Maybe the 20 something creative, bike riding, non tax paying, kids will go to Cincinnati now and leave us alone.
The article says the street car will be "an economic boon". I say, more like an economic boondoggle.

By the way, Over-the-Rhine is "up and coming" the same way that the South Waterfront is - only in newspapers and brochures. To everyone else it's just a good place to get stabbed.

"Pointing to streetcar successes in Portland, Oregon"
What exactly is the "successes" they talk about? Just cause Sam says it is? Do they not look closer?

“Just use the word ‘streetcar’ and it gets people excited,”
Good enough! If you can slap the word "green" on anything, just call the darn buses "streetcars" Make them look like Streetcars(like they do in Walla Walla WA and they have bike racks!!)and call them "Sustainable Green Streetcars!"

I used to travel to Cincy on business a lot early in my career (circa 1997). Once, after I checked into a downtown hotel and famished for some Pad Thai, I strode down to the front desk.

"Can you tell me where I can find a Thai restaurant?" I asked the young woman.

"Oh, do you mean a place where you have to dress up?" she replied, perkily.

Too shocked and hungry to reply, I just asked for the nearest Chinese restaurant instead. General Tso's Chicken is no substitute for Pad Thai...

In Cincy's defense, by the time my business in Cincy concluded almost two years later, the downtown dining options had improved. Good Indian, Thai, and even Vietnamese food could be obtained.

It's not hard to see that a state agency whose acronym is TRAC would prefer rails over buses.

I'm thinking of starting a business promoting and selling dog's droppings as being "green" and "a boon to revitalizing" core areas of cities around the nation.

"Monorail, monorail..."

There is simply no good evidence that streetcars generate real estate or business development.

The Pearl was already redeveloping for other reasons.

Portland's very own 'developer oriented transit' is now an exportable product.

There is simply no good evidence that streetcars generate real estate or business development.

This is false. A streetcar coupled with a fat subsidy or tax break is all it takes.

Just got back from Chicago and am impressed by their modern, comfortable bus system. I rode on a high-capacity articulated bus that looked and felt like a streetcar. The bus was low to the ground for easy entry, the seats were configured like a streetcar with both front and side facing options, there were poles and bars to hag onto and multiple entrances/exits. Except for the sounds and feel of a rail system, the experience looked and felt every bit as modern and hip as our streetcars. See the buses and read news about the buses at: ChicagoBus.org.

I was also interested to see that Chicago is getting "free" money ( my wording) from the Feds for electric buses and enhancements to their BRT system. If one included mini stations like the BRT in Eugene, we could have a dynamite public transportation system. I would like to point out that the famed El Train was NOT able to get me into the neighborhoods where I wanted to go, but even in high volumes of traffic,with buses coming at 6-minute intervals,the trip was quick.

My impression is that people don't like the experience of riding on traditional buses so they don't realize how nice buses can be these days,and fail to realize that current and future will provide alternatives to gasoline engines. Another good reason to invest in buses -- did anyone see trains evacuating people from earthquake zones in Japan because I only saw buses. The train tracks had been destroyed while key roadways were cleared and rebuilt in days.

The comical thing, is that there is a pre-existing subway tunnel in Cincinnati. They tunneled it out, and then abandoned it.


So, instead of just using that, they want to start something new, and probably not finish that either.

My impression is that people don't like the experience of riding on traditional buses so they don't realize how nice buses can be these days

The problem with the pro-rail/anti-bus folks is that they are attached to the nostalgia of rail, and come up with flat-out excuses against the buses that were actually conceived back in the 1930s and 1940s - for example, "diesel exhaust" (I ride buses twice a day at least, and I know the smell of diesel exhaust, and I sure don't smell it anywhere on or around my buses), "noise" (yet flange squeal is a major problem on MAX despite attempts to use flange lubricators to reduce it - especially east of Beaverton TC, around the Sunset TC, near Goose Hollow, on the Steel Bridge, near the Kenton stop, near Gateway TC, and at the curve leading from Gateway onto Burnside), "ride quality" (while buses do suffer from acceleration inconsistencies that are often a matter of driver training, rail suffers from 'hunting' where the train shifts from side to side, especially at certain speeds, and if not checked properly can be quite a jerky, violent motion. The Streetcar in particular suffers from it as it passes underneath the Marquam Bridge (and as a result must travel no faster than 5 MPH); and Seattle's brand new light rail system has a major hunting problem on the viaduct leading to Sea-Tac. Meanwhile, hybrid buses in particular have a much smoother ride quality than hydraulic transmission buses - something TriMet has basically eschewed despite the popularity with virtually all other transit operators - C-Tran has a larger hybrid bus fleet than Portland (with just two buses, which TriMet received free of charge from New Flyer because of warranty claims on other buses.)

Then there is the argument that "buses aren't fixed/permanent" - how often do bus routes change? Not really all that often. Yes, they can change, and that is actually a good thing, but in general bus routes stay the same over many years. The argument that rail stations show permanence can easily be done with bus stops - it's just that TriMet refuses to spend money on decent, quality bus stops.

And rail is no symbol of permanence - the Red Electrics, for example, lasted just 15 years. True, much of the infrastructure still exists, but the trains themselves only ran for 15 years. The Oregon Electric, not much longer. Of course Portland's streetcar tracks were removed or paved over decades ago. MAX actually outlived many of Portland's historic streetcar routes.

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