With construction of the Cincinnati Streetcar now a near-certainty, debate had shifted to which route the streetcar would take between Over-the-Rhine and Uptown. The two routes in consideration were Vine Street and Clifton Avenue, each of which has its pros and cons. On Tuesday, the City Manager released the following statement:
I’m writing to make sure you are among the first to know that the City of Cincinnati has chosen the Vine Street alternative as the route the streetcar will take to reach the Uptown area. This route is the least expensive, offers the fewest engineering challenges and best positions the streetcar for future expansion.
We reached this decision after a process that was both inclusive and comprehensive. The City and a group of stakeholders along both Vine Street and the alternative route, West Clifton Avenue, have been meeting to collect input and share ideas about each route for months. The group was informed of the City’s decision at a meeting this afternoon. In the final analysis, Vine Street was the best decision.
We estimate that the West Clifton route would have added some $20 million to the streetcar’s construction cost and $250,000 annually to operations. The Vine Street route is not as steep, has fewer curves and offers a shorter commute time. The Vine Street route also connects the streetcar to University Plaza, Kroger, the Short Vine entertainment district and The Christ Hospital, and is a logical jump-off point for future routes that would include University Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s and the Zoo.
Clearly, interest and excitement in the streetcar are increasing. I appreciate your input on this critical issue. I invite you to continue working with us to make this project a success.
City of Cincinnati
Although the proponents of the Clifton Avenue alignment make valid arguments, I concur with Dohoney’s statement that the Vine Street route provides the best opportunities for future expansion of the streetcar system, and is in keeping with the long-term goals of the Metro Cincinnati project. As Brad Thomas mentions on the CincyStreetcar Blog:
Cincystreetcar.com is pleased with the City’s decision of Vine Street, which will position the Streetcar for future expansion into Avondale, Corryville and Walnut Hills. Also, we do not have to change our maps.