The Cincinnati streetcar just passed its first anniversary, so we thought it was an opportune time to ask whether the Downtown transit system should be expanded into other neighborhoods. No lack of opinions here, although some of you strayed from the question of expanding it and into whether we should even have a streetcar.
News flash: That question's been settled. With a $150 million investment in rails, cars and other permanent stuff, the streetcar is here to stay.
Chris Sluder of Anderson Township emailed a far-reaching vision:
Yes, the streetcar "The Connector," needs to be extended to Gilbert Ave, Casino/Eden Park and to Uptown. Thousands of residents would have access to downtown and what it has to offer. Cars are not the future. Public transportation is.
So did Terry Brueneman of Mount Washington:
I would love to see the street car expanded not only to Uptown, but also through the east side corridor via Wasson Way. It makes more sense to use this as a transportation route than another bike path.
But Jessica Riley commented on Facebook that buses are already doing the work an expanded streetcar would do:
And Bill Huth said leave the Cincinnati streetcar in Cincinnati:
Jon Wiedenbacher of University Heights sees a benefit to the streetcar expanding to Uptown, but perhaps improbably, he'd like to see cheaper beer as part of the package:
For as long as we've had this streetcar discussion, I've said that if the streetcar came up the hill and if the beer prices at the Reds games were a little more reasonable, I would spend a lot more time (and money!) at the stadium. I go to one or two games a year right now. I bet all of those college kids would spend more time (and money!) downtown and in OTR too. That increases the tax base and enriches the whole city.
Dana Dubay said an expanded streetcar should be part of a better overall transportation system, something that might encourage more young professionals to town:
But Beth Rettig Weaver emphatically insisted that the current 1.5 mile route is not getting enough riders:
Jacob Smith of Mount Washington suggested we get a plan together now in case money becomes available:
If the federal and state governments decide to invest more in public transportation we need to be prepared so we don't miss out. I do think critic's were correct in calling the street car a tourist attraction in its current configuration because its only good for getting around downtown. If we want daily ridership numbers it needs to go somewhere, specifically uptown and UC.
Bill Baker of Mount Lookout was equally enthusiastic about the possibilities:
Build it now. It's good for Greater Cincinnati and the "next step" in the transformation of the heart of our region.
But Tom Espelage of Westwood wrote that first-year ridership doesn't justify an expansion:
I do not understand the thinking of throwing good money after bad in the hopes of increasing ridership. It is a way too expensive gamble.
And he was echoed -- most emphatically -- by Vivian Snook of Hyde Park:
Hell NO! You can see no one rides this folly. Ridership is down and no where near what they projected. The city is on the hook. Let the idiots, on city council, who voted for it pay for it. It's like the empty buses that run people want convenience and a car. NOT A TROLLEY.
And a couple people shared Randy Berling's sentiments on exactly where the streetcar should go: