CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Everyone knows about the cable cars in San Francisco. They are as iconic as the city's Golden Gate Bridge. But the city also operates a streetcar system that shuttles about 18,500 riders a day on a line that runs through downtown from Fisherman's Wharf to the Castro, two strong neighborhoods that are miles apart. The wharf is on the waterfront and the Castro sits on the steep hills overlooking the bay -- the streetcars make the climb every day.
|A streetcar named "Cincinnati"|
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and his supporters on City Council have been heavily criticized for pushing to build a streetcar line here -- that criticism seems overdone. Mallory and his allies clearly appear to be on the right track because streetcars work, they are a mass transit system for the future that comes with a knowable past. Critics say building a $99 million Cincinnati streetcar system from downtown to Over-the-Rhine is a waste of public money and an exercise in civic hubris. They liken it to a policy misadventure. But lost amid this criticism is the principle that city leaders should lead, they should stake out bold initiatives, they should recognize that the municipal government has a duty to invest and look for alternatives to standing pat and doing nothing. Mallory and his allies have demonstrated resolve. They are taking a thoughtful risk aimed at creating a more livable community.