The last one generated a lot of interest and a lot of comments, so maybe I will keep doing this as planned.
Part I: Why I don't support the Streetcar
Section 2: It's an "economic development tool"
I'm actually going to grant this argument. It has been used very effectively in other cities as a great tool of economic development. The plan for the city, though, seems to be "tool for gentrification." As with the tearing down of the West End projects, what happens to all of the residents in these locations? They get pushed out. Great. Where do they go? Northside, Mt. Healthy, Price Hill, etc. No wonder there's no interest in sending it out west, and there's just been a discussion of Northern Kentucky and serious interest in an east side route. That's where the "target population" is, even if they don't use them.
It doesn't even yet serve the University of Cincinnati (or any of the other local universities), arguably one of the biggest benefactors from a streetcar system, nor have there been any plans, it seems, to extend it up that way. Who, exactly, is being served on McMicken if your initial argument is all about economic development?
Besides, doesn't it seem a little insulting for the city to invest so much time and energy into a small public transportation tool for the sole purpose of generating economic development, and not investing that same money in a far more comprehensive PT system, meanwhile actually planning to push people out of their own neighborhoods and not providing a more effective and thorough transportation alternative for them?
But, you're right, it will bring a lot of development. And, quick note, I'm not a big fan of "trickle down" anything.
Part 3: It's going to take too long
How long will it take to put in "Part A" of the streetcar plan? More importantly, how long will it take for the whole program to be built once the first street gets torn up??? Uh-huh. Can you imagine huge swaths of 12th Street, Walnut, McMicken, Elm, and Race for a couple of months, or maybe up to a year while we do all this. Granted, it's going to take some adjustment for everyone while it goes in and I appreciate this. However...
And, having discussed the problems already inherent in Part A's route, how long before it becomes useful to more people? How long before it spreads out and winds out into other neighborhoods?
In the meantime, there is no plan.
Part II: Suggestions to improve the current Metro plan...
Section 2: Improve the technology
This one is very simple: make it so that we know exactly where busses are at all times. Simple answer: GPS and the ability to check this via Blackberry. My sister just moved to Chicago and she says she can check the location of the bus she is waiting for just by clicking on her Blackberry. Columbus, even, as I've mentioned before, has GPS on every bus and you can check online at any given point to see where the bus you're waiting for is. COTA (Cbus), I've been reminded by a reader, even is hooked into Google so that you can simply type in where you are going and where you are and you can get the whole map of how to do it. Google may be taking over the world, but it's better than the current website...
Speaking of which, the current website is a joke. There are a couple of things that need to happen to it to make it useful:
1) Make it mobile-ready, so, at the very least, we can check schedules from our phones.
2) For some reason, if you click to far into the website -- like, I don't know, checking a route -- suddenly the whole thing freezes up and you have to back out and start over. You need a better coding system.
3) Your "starting points" don't compute. My stop is on Purcell and Bassett. I can type in "Purcell and Bassett" as my starting point and the website still keeps flashing back River Road as a possible starting point for my trip. What? Also, I live on Elberon... it is really hard to get down to River Road, there's got to be a GIS program somewhere that acknowledges that.
4) Make a feature that allows you to say "I want to be here at X time," so that you can back-plan your schedule, rather than wildly entering starting times and seeing what comes up closer.
5) Add a feature that allows readers to enter a location and find out what busses serve that specific location.
6) Do something about your mapping. That shit is crazy.
Also, is it possible to make busses wi-fi? Did I hear somewhere that TANK -- Northern Kentucky's bus system -- is wi-fi compatible??? TANK also has televisions on some of their busses. Granted, they only play one channel, but it would be nice to see the news playing as I come into work every day.
And a quick note... you're right, CityKin, public transportation is not just for poor or disadvantaged people. However, they are the ones who have supported public transit in Cincinnati for years, not because they want to but because they have to. I think we should take their needs into account. Because, unlike most people (you know, the people we're trying to attract to public transit via the streetcars), it is a need, rather than just a want. In my head, I see some geeks at City Hall sitting around and thinking, "God, wouldn't it be cool if we had a streetcar..."
I also found this blog, which is no longer running but is still posted, that seems to agree with me in some senses.
Parts in this Series:
Part I: Why I don't support the streetcar...
8-23: Section 1: It doesn't serve enough people
8-25: Section 2: It's an "economic development tool"
8-25: Section 3: It's going to take too long
8-26: Section 4: Busses Aren't Cool
8-26: Section 5: Traffic Congestion
8-26: Section 6: Where is the plan for the suburbs?
Part II: Suggested changes to the Metro
8-23: Section 1: Improve intra-neighborhood service
8-25: Section 2: Improve the technology
8-26: Section 3: Create greater suburban access
8-26: Section 4: Integrate TANK and Metro
8-26: Section 5: Actively seek out corporate bus passes