Sunday, April 28, 2013

Those People

"Why do those people downtown even want a trolley?"

It's a statement some whisper under their breaths at dinner parties, dripping with condescension and disdain.

On lush, kelly green golf courses, at book clubs and beauty salons, people around Greater Cincinnati critique and criticize Downtown Cincinnati's streetcar plan.

And I wonder how many of these folks have recently visited Over-the-Rhine and the Central Business District.

They might have a different impression of who those people are. And why they want more public transportation.

I'm one of those people.

Raised in the suburbs of Cincinnati, I grew up going to private swim clubs and excellent public schools.  Ours was a four-bedroom, four-bath house. It had a back deck and lush, sprawling lawn.

My family was like everybody else's in insert Cincinnati suburban name here.

Make no mistake, I am grateful for everything my parents gave me. A great education, opportunity aplenty - I am the product of my parents' hard work and sacrifice.

But things have changed over the years. Just last month, the New York Times reported on a study that shows Gens X and Y won't do as well as our parents.

I won't even begin to discuss the rapidly retiring Baby Boomer generation and its ramifications on the future of Social Security and Medicare.

Life was good in that four-bedroom house in the 'burbs, but it's not a realistic dream for my generation. We're learning to live with less. We're retreating to the Urban Core, where we can live smaller and more affordably.

Yes, we're learning to live without cars.

The suburban model is not a sustainable one for us.

Even Fox News reported on the great migration back to American cities. People are moving back to the urban core because they want to experience a walkable lifestyle.

And a note to my suburban/exurb readers - that Fox News link also mentions that urban crime stats have plummeted (yes, the reporter used the word plummeted) in the past 20 years.

It's probably safer down here than it is behind the wheel of your car on Interstate 75.

So. Streetcar. Why do those people want one?

They want one so they can get around the urban core a bit easier. They want one because our larger public transportation initiative has to start somewhere, and they believe this streetcar is a great way to get moving. They hope for even bigger public transportation offerings - Light rail! High speed rail!

We know this streetcar will integrate beautifully with future trans offerings.

Cincinnati has voted on the streetcar twice. Both times, the residents of Cincinnati voted in favor of the streetcar.

And we will continue to champion this until the rails are in the ground.

Join Cincinnati's streetcar supporters for a special hearing on the status of the streetcar project - Monday at City Hall at 6 pm. 

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1 comment:

Ashleigh said...

I live in Mainstrasse and work at a downtown Cinci hotel. Because I have to drive so far to drop my kids off at school (no bus service) taking TANK or METRO isn't feasible for me. In my neighborhood we can pretty much walk everywhere and I love it. If there were more bus options or a street car I would love to take it instead of spending 30+ bucks to park downtown. I live 2 minutes away and it still takes 30 minutes to get to work with the traffic sometimes! I think a streetcar will enhance urban living.