Photojournalist Jeremy Mosher traveled to Portland, Oregon to produce a video for Soapbox Cincinnati on that city’s modern streetcar system. In the video he spoke to long-time residents, business owners, new residents and visitors about the system.
“It [streetcar] definitely spikes business in the neighborhoods it goes through,” said restaurant owner Aaron Sweet. “Our restaurant is based right on the streetcar line and right on one of the streetcar’s stops. So we have a huge amount of business that comes in to our restaurant because of that streetcar stop. Without that stop this restaurant wouldn’t be half as successful.”
Others spoke about the convenience of having streetcars in combination with light rail and bus transit options, while some simply spoke about the social benefits of having such a system.
Portland’s streetcar system began operations in 2001, and is a 4.8-mile segment that serves more than 12,000 daily riders. Three half-mile extensions to the south were made betweem 2005 and 2007, and 3.3-mile eastern extension is currently being built and will go into operation in 2012. Additional expansions are planned, but have yet to progress beyond initial planning stages.
Cincinnati’s streetcar system will use similar vehicles and track design as Portland’s. Cincinnati’s system would include an initial 5.9-mile route from the riverfront to uptown, and is expected to serve nearly 8,000 daily riders. Under current estimates, Cincinnati’s streetcar is expected to become operational in 2013.