Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Streetcar Right-of-Way Acquisition

In a comment to a recent Enquirer article on the anti-boondoggle charter amendment, rail advocate ProTransitDotCom wrote,
"They definitely wrote it to stop all types of rail here. I mean, think about it: streetcars run in the street. The City of Cincinnati owns all of our streets already. Streetcars don't require the purchase of any right-of-way, so it's obviously directed at something else.

On the other hand, light rail and inter-city passenger rail do require the purchase of right-of-way. Both will be killed here because of this Charter Amendment, leaving Cincinnati as the only Top 25 Metro in America besides San Antonio without light rail or streetcars. And San Antonio is planning a modern streetcar.

This will definitely kill the prospects for having passenger rail here. Enjoy your commute.
How soon trolley people forget. The Cincinnati Beacon covered this topic at length back on May 2nd. See their story here. Michael Earl Patton correctly points out that the streetcar can't make the turn from north-bound Elm St. to McMicken St. within the 60' minimum turn radius published in its specifications. Unless of course the buildings in the way are demolished.

The Beacon wondered whether the buildings would be acquired for streetcar right-of-way either by purchase, or through eminent domain. City officials have thus far been non-responsive to public records requests on this matter.

But the point remains crystal-clear. Even passenger rail transportation that runs primarily in city streets still requires right-of-way acquisition.

It would be nice if city leaders asked us before they go knocking down even more of our historic buildings in OTR, bringing us closer to the 50% threshold where we lose our historic status. The pro-vote charter amendment requires them to do exactly that.


  1. This myth was debunked. Here is the link to the graphic illustrating that the streetcar can, in fact, make the turn from Elm Street to McMicken.


    Try not to recycle arguments that have already been debunked. It doesn't work.

  2. ^ Well you need to go back to the drawing board and debunk it again. McMicken is a two-way street. And even the almighty streetcar isn't allowed to go left-of-center into lanes of opposing traffic as your link shows.

  3. Interesting point.

    However, the routing is not set in stone and could be changed. They could take the Streetcar all the way to Henry St. to make the turn and avoid any ROW acquisition.

  4. Mark, There will be some intersections where traffic lights will be specially timed for the streetcar, so yes, it will briefly go "left of center", but there will not be any oncoming traffic.

  5. "would be nice if city leaders asked us before they go knocking down even more of our historic buildings in OTR, bringing us closer to the 50% threshold where we lose our historic status."

    Way to feign interest like you care at all about the city much less OTR. How many of you live in the city limits again?

  6. Oh yeah, you care about OTR. What a laughable play.

    I also love how you assume people won't actually go to the link where that whole "oh noes they will knock down buildings" garbage was debunked, in the comments no less. The streetcar could be built with NO ROW acquisition. Enjoy your fail.

  7. Strange how you nitpick MEP's "professional analysis" which really involved getting some graph paper together and going town to OTR with Justin Jeffre and a Tape Measure to perform the work.

    MEP's error was to assume that the corner of the building at that corner had a footprint that was roughly the same shape as the curb.

    If they had actually gone to Elm & McMicken, they would have seen that that particular building was built with a "clipped corner" entrance, and there is plenty of sidewalk in front even if the tracks come close to it.

    This is even more stupid than the earlier claim that city council voted to buy new recycling bins.

    You guys just don't even care about stating the truth anymore.

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  9. The Skoda streetcars are double-articulated in order to negotiate the narrow streets of European cities, yet The Beacon Boys and now COAST seem to believe they're unsuitable for Cincinnati, a city with streets six feet wider than Portland's (66ft. between property lines versus 60ft.). Portland's Skoda streetcars -- the same ones we're planning to order -- have negotiated all turns, thousands of times each, since 2001.

    The McMicken alignment was chosen in 2007 when there were no immediate plans for the line to travel uptown. Now the word is that the line will turn at Henry St., one block south of McMicken, in order to shorten the travel time from UC to Findlay Market. It will also eliminate all (non)issues regarding the Elm-McMicken turn, since Henry is an ordinary east/west street. It will save about 800ft. of track -- COAST should be happy to hear about these savings!


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