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The Banks Cincy

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What Comes Next for the Cincinnati Streetcar

A last minute deal and swing vote put the 133 million dollar streetcar project back on track after a two week pause.

So when will work resume? Can it get back on schedule? How much did the delay cost?

I wish I had all the answers and so do those working on the project. Nothing was going on Friday. Technically they can’t get back to work because the mayor chose not to sign the ordinance restarting the project. So it won’t take effect for four days; on Christmas Eve.

They’re ready to get back to work.

Thursday’s city council vote means you’ll only have to look at pictures of streetcar construction for the next 21 months, not eternity. In 2016, we should have a streetcar.

The project was on schedule for a September 2016 finish until the pause. At that time, the project was on schedule. Can it still be done on time?

“We’re not really sure at this point. Quite honestly it depends on when they can get their work forces back and so forth.”

Deatrick says work could technically start on Christmas Eve but more likely we’ll see full crews on the job right after Christmas.

More rail will be delivered the 26th and rail installation will restart north of Findlay Market the 27th. “The pause,” as it’s been called, not only cost the city time but also money. Maybe as much as two and a half million dollars.

“We’re working to minimize that. We did certain things during the pause that we had permission from the Mayor to do to minimize the cost of it and we hope those will all pay off.”

None of this would be in the works if not for a last-minute deal cut by city council member Kevin Flynn. Facing a Thursday night deadline, Flynn inked a 10-year, nine-million-dollar deal with the Haile Foundation to cover some operating costs. That swung his vote and the project was back on.

Friday, after his first real sleep in days, Flynn said now that the squabbling is over, there is new energy and focus on getting it done.

“Some of the private sector money that has stayed away from the project because they didn’t think it was a good idea to do a downtown loop. Now that they know it’s going to be a downtown loop, we’re going to get their money and their energy and their support to make it work.”

Flynn says council will take some time off for the holidays. After the first of the year, they will work out the details on how this public-private partnership will work to fund the operations of the streetcar and to manage it.

Since it’s now likely the system will be up and running by the end of 2016, here is exactly where the 3.6 mile loop goes:

From the Banks, all the way to just north of Findlay Market. There, it will turn around and head back south toward the central business district and the riverfront. From Second Street near the ballpark, the tracks run north following Main Street up to Twelfth, where they turn west. From Twelfth, the route goes past Washington Park then turns north again on Elm heading past Music Hall toward Findlay Market. Then it’s east on Henry Street and the tracks then run south on Race Street before turning east on Central Parkway. Then it is south again on Walnut, past the Aronoff Center and Government Square and back down to the Banks.

The electric-powered streetcars move with regular traffic. They’ll pull alongside curbs at 18 stops for passengers to get on and off of them.