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.
Construction of the Cincinnati Streetcar kicked into high gear in September and continued to move full speed ahead during the month of October. On October 16, the first rail was installed on Elm Street, and on October 25, crews started pouring concrete and shaping the track bed. By the end of the month, 300 feet of rail had been completed. The overall construction effort stretched about a half mile on Elm Street, from Washington Park to Findlay Market. Utility work was also proceeding on other nearby streets, including Race, Walnut, and 12th streets.
Crews are on schedule to complete all of the track work on Elm Street, from 12th to Henry, by January 9, 2014.
The Cincinnati Streetcar is the first streetcar in the United States to be designed with curb level boarding at every stop, making it the most accessible in the nation. Curb level boarding means easy access for people with wheelchairs, visual impairments, walkers, or other mobility issues. Unlike a bus, they can enter the streetcar independently without the driver having to stop to assist them. Curb level boarding is also helpful for people with strollers, young children, or luggage.
And that’s just one of the many advantages of streetcars over buses.
Although utility relocation started back in February 2012, construction of the Cincinnati Streetcar kicked into high gear in September 2013. That’s when crews started removing the old cobblestones on Elm Street in front of Music Hall to prepare for track construction. (Don’t worry, the cobblestones will be reinstalled after construction of the tracks is complete.)
Crews also continued to work on utility relocation all around the Central Business District and Over-the-Rhine, and continued demolishing two buildings on Henry Street to make way for the Maintenance and Operations Facility.