Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Following my experiences here, I truly believe in the idea of a Cincinnati streetcar..."

Cincinnati native shares his thoughts on why he believes a modern streetcar system would benefit the Queen City after experiencing rail transit in Dublin, Ireland.

Chris Powers, a Cincinnati native and junior majoring in Organizational Communications at Cedarville Christian University, is currently studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland where a modern streetcar system similar to the one proposed for Cincinnati currently operates.
As summer was drawing to a close, my friend Chris and I attended a Reds game at Great American Ballpark just a few days prior to when he would be departing to study abroad in Dublin, Ireland. The subject of the proposed Cincinnati Streetcar came up. Chirs, who has been a Cincinnati resident all of his life, seemed skeptical of the idea judging by what he had previously heard from other people. After the game, I enthusiastically drove him around the proposed streetcar route; showing him exactly where the streetcar would go, the things it would connect and the potential it had. I didn't know if I had made a believer out of him or not, but in this recent email which Chris has asked me to share with you all, Chris seems convinced that the construction of a modern streetcar would be beneficial to Cincinnati after he experienced the LUAS (Dublin Irleland's modern streetcar and light rail system).

The following text and photographs come from Chris Powers, 10/5/2009:

My story begins with my studying in Ireland for a semester this fall and the wonderful opportunity to live in the Dublin area. As a Cincinnati native I was excited to experience a different sort of city life in a European setting.

I’ve also always however had a strong passion for the city of Cincinnati and longed to continue to see it get redeveloped and have a much more successful commercial district along not only the riverfront, but also into the downtown district including areas that are in a much needed rejuvenation such as Over-the-Rhine. With the construction of 'The Banks' project in full swing, the city has once again proposed a new form of public transportation in the form of a light rail system that will run through the city and provide a connection between the riverfront, fountain square, the University of Cincinnati and even passing through Over-the-Rhine.

You’re probably wondering what connection my experiences in Dublin could possibly have with the Queen City. Well, Dublin has many different forms of public transportation including a light rail system of their own or a streetcar as it will be called in Cincy. As a man who was curious about the effectiveness of a streetcar in getting people around and how much of an affect it would have on traffic it was a prime opportunity for me to see firsthand if the Cincinnati street car was a system that could truly benefit the city. Well I’m very pleased to assure you that if Cincinnati does in fact chose to install the street car that it will definitely be a great benefit to the city and the people of city.

Here are a few reasons why:
    1. The rail system is extremely efficient and is also very modern in the way it operates. The trains come frequently and run extremely close to their pre planned schedule. The sit many people comfortably and have plenty of standing room as well
    2. Another concern for me is how well a light rail system could actually fit into a cityscape, especially a difficult historical one such as Dublin’s. However the street car really looks fantastic in Dublin with its historical surroundings and I can only imagine that it would look even better in a modern city landscape. In fact the street car in a way almost gives the areas it’s in a bit more character.
    3. One of the primary reasons that the street car has been pushed is its role in helping re-develop the rougher parts of cincy that it runs through including Over The Rhine. A similar idea was apart of the planning of the LUAS as it runs right through the north side of Dublin where many underdeveloped areas have historically been located. The LUAS since its installation has brought a significant amount of new development to the streets it runs through including a lot of tourist development.
    4. Safety is always a concern when considering any type of public transport and this was a heavy concern of mine as well. The LUAS has proved to me however that the system is certainly safe. The citizens of Dublin are careful and mindful of the LUAS as it passes through the crowded streets of Dublin and traffic systems have helped prevent any serious accidents from occurring.
After spending a little over a month using the light rail system here in Dublin, I can't help but hope that the people of my beloved Cincinnati decide to support thier own streetcar system. Following my experiences here, I truely believe in the idea of a Cincinnati streetcar in that it could help create a more commercially successful Cincinnati and at the same time provide a great new source of public transportation for the people of the Queen City.

- Photographs and text courtesy of Chris Powers.

Meanwhile, here in Cincinnati, the list of reputable individuals, groups and organizations coming out in opposition of Issue 9, continues to grow! Democrats, Republicans, Independents, environmentalists, labor unions and so many, many more have stepped up to remind you to:



  1. yeesh I am Irelanding out. Just watched The Wind That Shakes the Barley last night.
    One of those travel shows, No Reservations, I think, cited Dublin really taking off in the last 10-15 years or so. Be nice to see a report on cause & effect. Their economy has improved a lot from, I think, software development ?

  2. Hey Chris here........you'd be correct about software development playing a huge role. That along with construction which is actually now mostly to blame for there big slump, due to over expansion. There public transportation however puts many U.S. cities to shame though. Including our beloved Queen City.