Hundreds of Streetcar Supporters Rally in Over-the-Rhine as New Mayor, Council Are Sworn In

There has never been a single anti-streetcar event that has gathered more than 20 people, but earlier today it was estimated that close to 1,000 Cincinnati Streetcar proponents gathered with green balloons at Washington Park to show their support.

Event organizers from Cincinnatians for Progress and We Believe in Cincinnati lined up the hundreds of supports for blocks – stretching from in front of Music Hall on Elm Street to north of Findlay Market, where streetcar tracks are currently being installed.

The event also came on the same day that the new mayor and city council were sworn into their offices, marking the first time an organized protest of hundreds took place on the first day for newly elected leadership. With a defiant Mayor John Cranley (D) and five of the nine members of City Council poised to pass a bizarre collection of ordinances in order to bypass any further public protest of their actions, it appears that legal fights are about to begin.

Also earlier today, Mayor Cranley and Councilmember Chris Smitherman (I) outlined exactly how they intend to make it all work to their favor. At the same time, reports surfaced of a potential conflict of interest for Smitherman due to his brother’s involvement with the $133 million streetcar project through Jostin Construction.

A majority of city council and the mayor himself have stated that they support the right to referendum, but their proposed legislative action would run counter to that. Whether or not they will allow Cincinnatians to vote on the streetcar directly for a third time, or be forced by the courts to do so, is yet to be seen.

The next big event will take place on Monday, December 2 at 4pm inside City Hall. City Council will hold a special hearing on the streetcar project at that time, and it is expected to be heavily attended by both supporters and opponents. Those who would like to attend are encouraged to arrive early. Those unable to attend that would still like to get involved can do so by donating to the Alliance for Regional Transit and by signing up to volunteer.

“Does it make any sense to lose our reputation with the federal government simply because we want to prove a political point,” Rob Richardson asked the boisterous crowd. “I’ll tell you what does make sense…it makes sense that we have to fight for a comprehensive transportation system so we can compete with cities all across this country and all across the world. That is the goal.”

“We measure greatest not by what we cut, but by what we accomplish.”

  • jasomm

    Good job Cincinnatians. keep the pressure on….
    But really, how many of those protester were there just for the balloons?

    • tom_streeter

      It was frigging cold out there. I suspect few just wanted a balloon.

  • Mitchell Brown

    Cinci, keep pressing to make your city great. I live in Chicago but am from Cinci (Ft. Thomas actually) and left many years ago (hey, I was 9). I’d return every year, sometimes 2x and would love going downtown to do Xmas shopping. Recently, two groups of friends went to Cinci (randomly too, they didn’t plan this and one had friends across the river). They couldn’t stop raving about the Queen City. I had to get on Google maps and take a stroll myself after hearing their remarks. Damn! Cinci is a pretty city! Supposedly I live in the mecca for architecture, but Cinci’s is much finer. First off, you don’t have the dreary grid and flat land we do. You have actual vistas and “street rooms”. The collection of Italianate architecture in the OTR is worth the visit by itself. Do what you can to keep these buildings up and restored. Market yourself. Take stock of your physical attributes. Keep up the good work. My girlfriend and I are planning a trip soon. (she’s a bit skeptical – I mean, I am saying “hey sweetie, lets take a weekend trip to…Cincinnati” but I think she’ll be a believer once she’s there.

    • Mitchell Brown

      that should read “returned” — past tense.