07 March 2008

Good Living Downtown in Snowstorm

A great benefit to city life, is the ability to live your life without a car during a snowstorm. I love the deep snow. The city becomes quiet and beautiful. Snow is only a headache when you must drive in it.

I cannot understand why Cincinnati Public Schools did not cancel classes today. Last year during a mid-day storm like this it was very difficult getting the kids home from school.

This is also a good time to note that streetcars could provide a warm extension to our walkable area.


liberal foodie said...

I work close to OTR and I hear the sidewalks are already very slick. And they're calling for up to 12 inches by Saturday. It'll be interesting to see how it pans out.

CityKin said...

It's piling up, thats for sure. It can actually be a lot of fun when it is really deep and no one can keep up with the shoveling of the sidewalks, so you can pull a sled on them. Saturday morning will be fun.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid we lived in inner city Chicago. For us, sledding was sitting on the snowshovel and my dad pulling us down the sidewalk!

VisuaLingual said...

Having spent most of my life in the Northeast, these Cincinnati 'snow emergencies' amuse me. School cancellations, store closings, sheesh, people... In a way, though, it's kind of nice to be out and about when the city shuts down. I wish someone would pull me down the sidewalk on a snow shovel!

Dave said...

I love walking to work because of the fact that bad weather never really effects my commute time, but on the other hand I often end up being the only one working when everyone else stays home or leaves early due to snow because they know I can always make it in. :)

Anonymous said...

Uh oh two Dave's. This will be interesting!

Glad to hear you are getting some snow, fortunately this storm did not reach us in Michigan.

Sometimes after a blizzard, the only way to commute up here is by snowmobile. The snow plow drivers are making a fortune up here this year.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but what I thought today was how much I would hate waiting for a streecar in this kind of weather. I was warm and snug inside my car, and getting my kids home from school in 25 minutes, rather than 2 hours on the buses in CPS.

In fact, I'm wondering if these electrically-powered streetcars would even run in this kind of weather.

CityKin said...

You don't wait for a streetcar because you know exactly when it is coming. The CPS buses actually got the kids home early yesterday.

After the kids were home, we walked to our friends house on Main Street, and pulled the kids on a sled both ways. I don't think a car ride would have been nearly as much fun myself, but to each his own.

Its going to be alot of fun today, I think we could sled in the middle of the streets today, it is so deep, and so few cars.

And yes streetcars and light rail do fine in snow. Better than cars or buses.

John Schneider said...

When there is snow or ice, they run the streetcars all night to ensure that ice doesn't build up on the overhead power source. This also keeps the rails free of snow.

In climates like Cincinnati's, they also install switch-warmers so they don't freeze-up.

Streetcars are very prevalent all over northern Europe. They keep running when nothing else is.

Anonymous said...

"You don't wait for a streetcar because you know exactly when it is coming."

I'm not so sure about this. I thought they were going to run in the same right of way as cars, buses, etc. and obey traffic signals. If this is so, wouldn't the streetcars be subject to the same traffic conditions as cars, buses, etc? I've waited and waited and waited many times for the Metro bus.

CityKin said...

Did you read my streetcar post? If not, click on the sidebar that says "my streetcar posts".

One of the most helpful features of the modern streetcar, is that they are tracked by GPS and time to the next two trains is displayed digitally at the stop. However in addition to that, you can check on your ipod, cell phone or blackberry before you even leave your home or office. If the next car is 12 minutes, then you can decide to stay where you are for a while longer and arrive at the stop just before the car. These kind of innovations take public transit to a new level that people who are used to Metro buses find hard to believe.

VisuaLingual said...

One of the most helpful features of the modern streetcar, is that they are tracked by GPS and time to the next two trains is displayed digitally at the stop.

But, this isn't inherent to the streetcar, and could potentially be employed as part of a bus system [or some other form of transit]. It certainly seems possible that schedules might be affected by inclement weather. In any case, knowing how long you have to wait doesn't help much if local businesses aren't open, so there's nowhere to get a hot cup of coffee or whatever.

CityKin said...


BTW GPS tracking is done in other cities on busses. See http://www.nextbus.com

Anonymous said...

Citykin -- last time we had snow in Portland it shut down the streetcar, Max and tram. The buses were chained up and they ran, so people rode the bus.

Here's a Portland transit discussion that talks a bit re: that:



Anonymous said...

Of course, I should add that snow in Portland is rare and it shuts down *everything.* So, YMMV in terms of the ability to run a streetcar in the snow.