11 June 2008

Interesting Streetcar Facts

Some interesting facts learned yesterday at the Streetcar Forum sent by friends at Protransit:

* Portland's total electric bill for its four-mile, double-tracked streetcar line is around $150,000 per year -- about as much as power as 50 to 100 houses with a total population of, say, 200 to 300 people might use in one year. But that $150,000 worth of electricity moves 3,600,000 people per year on the Portland Streetcar. Kind of puts it in perspective.

* Nine percent of the passengers on the Portland Streetcar have nontraditional mobility. They are in a wheelchair, on a motorized scooter, pushing a stroller, pulling a shopping cart or luggage, or they have a bicycle.

* Before Tacoma opened its streetcar in 2003, a diesel bus served the very same route. The annual ridership on the bus route was 178,000 passengers. The ridership on the Tacoma Link streetcar traveling the same route today: 800,000 passengers.

There will be a fundraiser for Protransit June 26th, 5:30 at Arnolds, 210 E. Eighth Street. More info on this later.


Anonymous said...

There aren't enough people to ride the proposed streetcar route in Cincinnati. Mass transit is a good thing, but sensible mass transit -- not a small loop of convenience for a tiny percentage of the population. There are better ways to spend taxpayer dollars. Trendy, fashionable, and hip are not the qualities of a sound mass transit foundation (or of anything -- including presidential candidates). There is a time and place for those qualities, and I don't deny they are important, but the people of Cincinnati would be better served by investing that money into neighborhood revival (start thinking outside OTR and downtown for just a millisecond).

Radarman said...

Trusting that the above commenter is a resident of the City, whose project the streetcar is, and not of one of the surrounding cities or townships, whose project the streetcar is not, he or she should be assured that the taxpaying residents and workers of OTR and downtown most assuredly understand the need for strong surrounding City neighborhoods and to a man hope that the demonstration of rail mobility and subsequent development will be such a success that even the flatheaded dutchmen of Covedale will see the point and push to be connected.

CityKin said...

Anon; Please don't assume I support any cause because it is trendy or hip. You certainly wouldn't say that if you saw my wardrobe.

What kind of transit do you find "sensible"? Diesel buses?

Any comment on the 3 points of the original post? I thought they were pretty interesting.

OTRFAN said...

let's try trendy, fashionable and hip instead of same old worn out transportation system (or politicians)

Jimmy_James said...

"the people of Cincinnati would be better served by investing that money into neighborhood revival (start thinking outside OTR and downtown for just a millisecond)."

After decades of neglect and deterioration, it's high time the city STARTED thinking about OTR. And the people wouldn't be better served by investing money into neighborhood revival. The streetcar promises a 14:1 return on investment, meaning that for every dollar the city spends, 14 dollars will be poured into redevelopment by private parties. Even if that number is drastically off and the actual ratio turns out to be only 2:1, then the city would have to spend DOUBLE the amount of money on "neighborhood revival" that they would spend on the streetcar to see the same affect. The streetcar IS revitalization.

Anonymous said...

You have all swallowed the Kool-Aid.

A streetcar isn't going to fix the fact that you've got people who are so desperate they are willing to tear copper pipe out of buildings in order to get by.

A streetcar isn't going to fix the fact that the high school dropout rate is nearly 50%.

The fact that you can throw a stone in any west-side neighborhood and hit a Section 8 apartment building isn't going to change with a new streetcar system.

I am not saying the streetcar isn't a good thing -- if money were plentiful -- but the fact is, money isn't plentiful, and there are better ways to spend it. I challenge any of you to name just (3) businesses that would suddenly find downtown Cincinnati so much more attractive if the streetcar line were in place that they would move here, set up shop, and provide jobs and tax revenue for the city.

I think Cincinnati has great promise -- and a great history. And I don't believe it's "unsafe" downtown -- this city is very livable and easy-to-get around in right now. A $150m streetcar isn't the last thing the city needs, but it is nowhere near the first thing, either.

The fact that folks in favor of the new streetcar project get so upset over anyone with an opinion that differs from theirs is a sign of defensive immaturity.

Grow up.

CityKin said...

Your post is the only one that sounds defensive.

I don't think a streetcar is the first thing this city needs either.

CPS HS graduation rate has recently risen to 79%.

Off the top of my head, one business owner has said the streetcar could influence their development plans: Greg Hardman

You can throw stones in any direction near my house too and hit a subsidized apartment... and your point is?

Anonymous said...

In regards to the first point about electricity. Is that West Coast usage standards, or mid-west? I'm betting there is a difference.

But really, the ridership jump in Tacoma is amazing. It is a big metro area with Seattle and all, but the cities pop. is only 200 thous.

CityKin said...

^ I found the point #2 about wheelchair and stroller users interesting. When I was there, I did notice lots of older people with those electric carts, and grocery carts.

Jason said...

I just find it hard to believe how steadfast the opponents to this system are. The evidence before them clearly indicates HUGE BENEFITS for the city after installing a streetcar system. Yet still they claim that Cincinnati doesn't even deserve the chance to find out what a streetcar system can do for our town.
To the anonymous poster who "challenged" us to name 3 businesses who will become interested in investing in Cincinnati after the streetcars are built, I challenge YOU to name ONE business that is NOT interested in investing in a city full of young, educated, talented and progressively minded professionals. These are exactly the type of people that will be very interested in moving here after seeing what we have to offer in terms of public transportation and housing opportunities. With whats happening right now with gas prices and the housing market it should be clear to see that future generations are interested in living their lives to be less dependent on gasoline and more environmentally friendly in the way they live. Urban living with good, reliable public transportation is a huge part of that lifestyle. Whether you want to admit it or not, streetcars are exactly what many people are looking for.
We are very fortunate to have a City Council and Mayor who are smart enough to see this.

Quimbob said...

Any more word on the fundraiser ?
Poking around online, it appears to be a secret.