Thursday, September 09, 2010

Cincinnati finalizes streetcar route

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Cincinnati city officials Wednesday said Vine Street willhost the $128 million streetcar route from Over-the-Rhine to the Uptown areanear the University of Cincinnati. A route along West Clifton Avenue was theother choice being evaluated in recent days after the two were selected from alarger list.

City officials chose Vine Street because it will be lessexpensive, and because the street is straighter and is not as hilly as West Clifton. “Our directionfrom City Council has always been to 'connect the dots,' but to do so in a waythat is fiscally responsible,” said City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr.“The Vine Street route accomplishes that.”

Vine Street  also offers betteropportunities for future expansion, officials said.

On the lower, relatively flat portions of the line, the streetcars will cover aroute that resembles an elongated, twisted figure eight through Over-the-Rhineand Downtown. The streetcars will travel primarily along Main and Walnutstreets from Downtown’s riverfront through the Central Business District, thenmove several blocks to the west to run up and down Race and Elm streets inOver-the-Rhine before proceeding into Uptown on Vine.

Cincinnati has secured roughly 90% of the projected $128 million construction cost. It has applied for another $35 million federal grant to cover the remainder. Preliminary construction on the streetcar line is expected to start before year’send, with service scheduled to begin in spring 2013.