Despite a brutally cold winter, significant progress was made on the construction of the Cincinnati Streetcar system. All of the straight track on Elm and Race Streets in Over-the-Rhine is now complete. Work has also begun on the short stretch of track on Central Parkway, the border between Over-the-Rhine and the Central Business District. Crews will soon begin to work on the “special” track work, including the curve from Race Street to Central Parkway. Work is also underway on two of the streetcar stops on Elm Street.
Soapbox covers the growth of craft breweries in Cincinnati:
“Knowing what I know now, I certainly would have done things a little bit different,” says [MadTree] owner Brady Duncan. “In our original business plan estimates, we underestimated it so much that our monthly estimate is now like an average Saturday night.” [...]
“We’re only in our eighth month, and we’re brewing right now at the rate we thought we’d be brewing about three and half to four years into the business,” says Rhinegeist co-founder Bob Bonder.
In Cincinnati’s election of November 2013, an anti-streetcar mayor and several new anti-streetcar city council members were victorious. Construction of the streetcar was “paused” when when the new administration took office in early December. However, after looking at the costs of canceling the already under-construction streetcar, City Council voted 6-3 to resume construction, and that occurred on December 26.
The following photos show how much progress construction crews made during those two months, while supporters of the streetcar were organizing and making progress on the political side of the project.
These two old buildings are in need of a lot of work, but will make really nice living and retail space some day.
Even the Enquirer thinks it would be fiscally irresponsible to cancel the Cincinnati Streetcar project, which is very much under construction:
But now 200 construction workers are digging up Downtown streets, and 1,800 feet of rails are already in the ground. [...]
Project manager John Deatrick estimates it will cost another $34 million to $47 million, and take up to a year, to stop it. There are streetcars under construction, tracks to rip up, streets and curbs to restore. By city estimates, we could spend $67 million to $80 million and have nothing to show for it.
And suddenly, the Enquirer understands that the streetcar will make Cincinnati more competitive with its peer cities:
A low cost of living is no longer enough to spur growth; we must also offer modern infrastructure and amenities, especially to the millennials and baby boomers interested in urban living. [...]
To attract those kinds of jobs and workers, 20 streetcar systems are under construction or planned in the U.S., in addition to around a dozen in operation. They are in places like Charlotte, N.C.; Milwaukee; Austin, Texas; and Minneapolis – places we compete with for people and jobs.
I wish the Enquirer would have considered these arguments years ago, instead of publishing ridiculous articles about Barry Horstman power walking the streetcar route.
And finally, what does the Enquirer say about their endorsement of John Cranley, who, uhh, ran on a promise to kill the streetcar?
In endorsing Cranley, we said he would “have to rein in his dictatorial tendencies and discipline himself to be diplomatic, respectful and collaborative.” What we’ve seen so far is a matter for concern. Hurling insults at professionals like streetcar project manager John Deatrick isn’t what we need.