Monday, July 13, 2009

City Names Project Team for Proposed Streetcar

City Manager Milton Dohoney hires same firm that planned and designed Riverfront Transit Center.

Parsons Brinkerhoff is the preferred City vendor for the proposed streetcar project.

Well, seems the city is at it again: That's right, moving forward with the proposed streetcar project. On June 11, 2009 Mayor Mark Mallory and City Manager Milton Dohoney announced the Cincinnati Streetcar Development Team. The engineering frim of Parsons Brinkerhoff was awarded the contract to help build the streetcar project. You may remember that name, it's the same company that built and designed the Riverfront Transit Center.

Some local groups have gone so far as to call the Riverfront Transit Center an "Epic Failure." According to Urban Dictionary, an "Epic Fail" is a term often used by pre-teen's on the internet that can be described as: "The highest form a "fail" known to man."  Was the Riverfront Transit Center that much of a letdown, though? Upon doing some basic research it seems that the Transit Center is actually a sound design that could easily be adapted for various forms of rail and by planning ahead it would save the taxpayers millions by not having to front the cost of tunneling to build a new underground station/hub or an expensive above ground one. Not to mention, the right-of-ways at the entrances to the center are secured for future use. The city also leases the center and it's adjoining parking areas to System Parking, allowing them to collect a share of the revenue from the parking operations which fill up anytime there's a large event downtown like Oktoberfest, Taste of Cincinnati, Reds games, Bengals games etc.

As far as the criticism of Parsons Brinkerhoff goes, it seems they have a good amount of experience, if we're going to build a streetcar looks like this firm knows what they're doing. Some of their work includes:
  • - Caliornia Amtrak/Acela High Speed Rail Study and Planning
  • - Eastside Light Rail Corridor, Los Angeles
  • - Fort Washington Way Reconfiguration
  • - Salt Lake City Light Rail configuration
  • - Reconstruction of the World Trade Center site and the Freedom Tower
A full list of their work can be found here. So we have a firm who has done work with successful transportation and rail projects all across the world and a city who used this firm to plan ahead and design a transit station that could potentially save tax payers millions in the future, yet the charter amendment being pushed forward by COAST and the NAACP would significantly prevent this transit center from ever being utilized and the money that would no longer be used for the streetcar wouldn't go back to the citizens of Cincinnati, but to other city's eager to take in federal rail dollars. Seems like the taxpayers and citizens would be the real losers if that charter amendment passes...

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