Streetcar Forum June 10th at UC

Are you in search for more information about streetcars and more specifics about the Cincinnati streetcar proposal? If so then this June 10th is for you.

The City of Cincinnati will be hosting a Streetcar Forum at the University of Cincinnati from 8am – 1:30pm. There is a $35 registration fee for the event (includes continental breakfast, box lunch, parking, and forum materials).

The forum will be taking place on UC’s Main Campus at the Tangeman University Center (TUC-Great Hall – GoogleMap), 4th floor.


Cincinnati Streetcar Forum: Promoting Growth & Mobility – Itinerary

8:00 – 8:30 Registration/Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 8:35 Welcome and Introductions by Moderator
8:35 – 9:00 Introduction of Cities
9:00 – 10:00 Session One: Streetcars 101
  • What is a Streetcar System?
  • Why have they been successful?
  • What was the community reaction?

10:00 – 10:15 Break
10:15 – 11:15 Session Two: Impact of Streetcars on Economic Development

  • How has the Streetcar System stimulated growth and mobility?

11:15 – 12:00 Lunch: The Cincinnati Proposal
12:00 – 1:00 Session Three: Implementing a Streetcar System

  • What funding sources are available?
  • How much does it cost to maintain a Streetcar System?
  • What are the lessons learned implementing a streetcar system?

1:00 – 1:30 Final Comments: Questions & Answers

Cincy Fringe Festival

The 2008 Cincinnati Fringe Festival marks the 5th year of its existence. The festival started tonight at the Art Academy in Over-the-Rhine. Over the next 12 days, Downtown and Over-the-Rhine will support 20 different venues which will play host to a variety of art including visual, performance, and film. There will also be an ongoing mural installation on the south side of the Know Theatre over the 12 day festival.

The Cincy Fringe Festival is one of 20 active Fringe festivals in North America including New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Minneapolis…with the original stemming from Edinburgh, Scotland which began 51 years ago.

Organizers are still looking for volunteers to assist in various ways throughout the festival. You can get involved by signing up online (it’s very easy). Volunteers get a Fringe Festival t-shirt for signing up for one shift and get two free tickets (to any Fringe show) for every shift you sign up for after that.

There is a lot more I could ramble on about, but you can get most of the information from the website. You can order tickets, get reviews, preview shows, and much more.

I’m confused…someone please clarify

Here is an email I received from Millvalley…

No surprise: we’re driving less — about 4.3% fewer miles than last year, the first annual decline since 1979and the largest yearly decline on record.

On the other hand, public transportation use is now at its highest level in fifty years, with rail systems showing 6% year-over-year gains.

Our region is not reacting to these trends aggressively enough.

Let me explain. The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments is now updating its 2030 Plan, a document that guides investment in transportation projects here. Ohio and Kentucky will be spending about $4.4 billion over the next couple decades on new and improved roadways, transit, bike and pedestrian programs, freight and information technology systems. Another $2.5 billion will be spent on the operations and maintenance of our mobility systems.

Kentucky expects to invest $1.4 billion on roadway projects compared to only $22 million on transit — fully 63 as much on a mode of travel that is declining nationwide compared to one that is growing. Ohio’s program is a little more balanced. Projected spending for roadways is $2.3 billion. While transit is nominally slated to receive $509 million, about $410 million of this sum is for the Eastern Corridor rail project which, in my view, has little chance of ever getting built. If it does get built, the numbers show that it will be a very poor performer. So that leaves about $99 million for all other transit projects for the next couple of decades. It’s still heavily lopsided in favor of roads — in Ohio, we’ll $23 for highways for every $1 spent on transit.

I’m just wondering if this would fly in the private sector? I tend to say no, but I am confused as to why this is accepted from our government?

If you would like to hear more and subscribe to the Millvalley listserve you can do so by emailing

Let’s talk tax structure and streetcars

There is no doubt that residents and businesses, in Downtown/OTR/Uptown, see the value in the proposed streetcar system. It is also quite understandable that community leaders in neighborhoods like Westwood, Price Hill, and Mt. Washington may not exactly see the benefits to their respective communities.

Every community would like to have more amenities and improved services. These are the things that help make neighborhoods successful and great places to live. At the same time they understandably don’t want to see their taxes rise. So lets break down the tax structure and how the streetcar will play into this whole situation…

Residential properties are accepted losers when it comes to taxes. They simply demand far more services than they pay for in taxes. Those services (i.e. trash, police, fire, schools, etc) are made possible by those that pay exceedingly more than they demand (i.e. office, industrial).

Therefore the commercial and industrial bases are the most important tax bases to preserve and grow in order to maintain service levels for your residential base. Of the Top Ten taxpayers, in 2006, 9 were based out of Downtown* (for what I could find).

With that said, residential properties can get close to offsetting their service demands. The best opportunity for this to occur is in the most densely populated (or built) areas where economies of scale factor in big time. In Cincinnati’s case there is no other residential neighborhood that has a potentially better return on taxes than Over-the-Rhine.

Chart illustrating the functionality of Economies of Scale

These most densely built areas need to be focused on first and foremost, and need to be populated with as many people as possible. This allows you to grow your residential base without significantly growing the demand for services (in OTR’s case you may actually decrease demand for services like police and fire by repopulating the neighborhood).

So while a streetcar line only serving Downtown, OTR, and Uptown seems to only benefit those 3 neighborhoods…it is really affecting the financial stability of the entire city, and allows for a growth in tax base without a significantly higher demand for services. This means extra tax revenues can then be used for increased services and funding for the other 49 great Cincinnati neighborhoods.

*Tax data from City of Cincinnati’s 2006 Annual Financial Report (pdf 5mb)

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