On the Rails of Progress


As I post this, there is a demonstration in support of the Cincinnati Streetcar being held. The hope is that a showing of support will convince the new mayor to not cancel the project and that if he does cancel it on Monday, that petitioning to get the streetcar on the ballot will begin.

This will appear in the upcoming edition of Streetvibes.

There is some percentage of citizens in Cincinnati who want to see the streetcar move forward. Whether it be because they see the streetcar as an instrumental part in the redevelopment of OTR or simply believe that the cost of ending the project would be on par with the cost to finish it. The underlying motive seem to be some notion of progress–The main group lobbying for the streetcar calls themselves “Cincinnatians for Progress.” That our city will ride into the future on the rails. That the streetcar will be some kind of transformative vehicle that will put Cincinnati at the level of Portland or Salt Lake City. But what is this city of the future?

The progress talked about in conversations about the streetcar is of the narrowest kind. It ignores realities about the city and the people who live here, even the people who live along the route.

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