Want shorter trip? Move closer

Let the awesome letters-to-the-editor keep coming. This one is from Paul Haffner, a Mariemont resident and opponent of the Eastern Corridor highway expansion proposal. He has a very simple piece of advice for Clermont County residents who complain about their commute into Cincinnati: move closer, or stop complaining.

I need someone to now please enlighten me on what gives you the right to pave over my limited green space so you can have an easier commute for yourself or your goods to the urban core from which you have chosen to distance yourself? […]

I personally think the absolute worst thing we can do as a region is encourage more people to live/work 20-plus miles outside the city. We need to continue to pursue policies that bring people into the urban core which I will loosely define as Hamilton County and Northern Kentucky. Population density is a good thing, and public transportation even better.

We all make choices in life and have to deal with the consequences. If you choose to live 45 minutes away from the city where you work so that you can pay lower taxes, have a bigger yard, or for some other reason that you see as advantageous, you also have to deal with the downsides that come along with that decision.

What if Cincinnati’s I-71/MLK interchange was held to same standards as streetcar?

Chris Wetterich of the Cincinnati Business Courier asks why a new highway interchange on I-71 isn’t being held to the same standards as the Cincinnati Streetcar by Mayor John Cranley and several council members.

Just for fun, I’d also like to consider how the Enquirer would cover the interchange if they used the same tone as their streetcar coverage:

  • They’d print a bunch of letters to the editor claiming that the new interchange “doesn’t go anywhere.”
  • They would use pictures of Model T’s and other antique cars instead of modern automobiles (like they frequently use photos of vintage trolleys instead of modern light rail streetcars).
  • They’d constantly refer to the interchange as “proposed” (even after contracts are signed and construction is started).
  • Instead of just reporting the facts, they would get a bunch of quotes from supporters and opponents of the interchange in a massive display of false equivalence.
  • They will finally come out in support of the interchange–but they’ll endorse a mayoral candidate who runs on a pledge to kill the interchange after it’s already under construction.

See also: Localizing Operating Costs for Streetcar Sets Dangerous Precedent.

Cincinnati Enquirer: Finish the streetcar

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.

Everything you need to know about getting around the Gannett paywall

Gannett will be launching a paywall for the Cincinnati Enquirer and their other papers in October. The paywall, in addition to having some strange quirks related to the limit of 20 free articles, will be rather easy to bypass altogether:

The paywall relies on sessions, which in layman’s terms, means that the paywall can only count the number of articles clicked on one computer, one browser at a time.

  • Switching browsers – using Chrome or Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, for example – means you’ll have a whole new 20 free articles.
  • Switching to your work computer means 20 additional free articles
  • Switching to your laptop means 20 more articles.
  • Switching to your smartphone or tablet… you get the idea.

Enquirer screenshotThe Cincinnati Enquirer has posted a photo gallery of Cincinnati’s re-opened Washington Park, which consists of other people’s photos found on Instagram, Flickr, and Twitter. (Maybe they no longer employ any photographers of their own.)

Unfortunately, they either threw this thing together quickly or didn’t realize that Cincinnati isn’t the only city with a Washington Park. Their gallery currently includes a shot of Washington Square Park in New York (pictured above). I assume they will go back and remove it as more people point this out to them.

(Thanks to Jake Mecklenborg for the tip.)

Enquirer to shrink, move printing to Columbus

Although previously announced in August, it’s now official that the Cincinnati Enquirer will close its Cincinnati printing plant, laying off 200 employees, and move printing operations to the Columbus Dispatch’s plant.

Gannett, of course, glossed over these details and chose to tout the new “easy-to-use format” coming soon to the Enquirer. Although the new format will allow for more use of color, it will shrink to just 10 1/2 by 14 2/3 inches.

To me, an “easy-to-use format” would consist of an improved website, RSS feeds, and perhaps a good iPhone/iPad app. Of course, these would only be relevant if I were interested in the Enquirer’s content.

The Enquirer frequently publishes anti-city attack pieces, often bordering on absurdity, in an attempt to cater to its largely suburban readership. The closure of their printing plant is another strike to a city they don’t care about and have no desire to serve.

The winning quote goes to Jake Mecklenborg:

I can’t wait for the first time I-71 is shut down by snow and no old people get their papers.

Cincinnati’s worst-ranked bridge

On May 4, the Enquirer published:

[The Sixth Street Viaduct] was not, however, Cincinnati’s worst-ranked bridge. That dubious distinction went to the Marshall Avenue bridge over Interstate 75, which the report described as one of Ohio’s two busiest deficient bridges.

Then today, they published:

[The Sixth Street Viaduct] is the city’s worst bridge, officials said, and is in dire need of repair.

Do they even bother to fact-check anything? Or do they just hand out the title of “city’s worst bridge” to a different bridge on any given day?