I’m getting sick of the City’s dissembling on this issue and the constant, inept prodding from Coast and other such outside groups that make a hobby of interfering in city affairs.
If Cincinnati is to move forward, we need to invest in a new form of transportation that’s truly convenient and people-friendly. We need to show not only our own neighbors, but the rest of the region and the world that Cincinnati is ready to take a bold step into a bright, 21st century future.
Young people increasingly don’t want cars or white picket fences. We don’t want our parent’s lives; both empirical demographic trends and anecdotal evidence bear this out. While New York, San Francisco and other dense, urban places have exploded over the last two decades largely because of the rich urban structure they already had in place, mid-size cities now sitting on the cusp of contemporary urbanity are left with a choice: invest in the kind of infrastructure that the next generation demands like Portland, Oregon has or be left behind like a smaller, sadder Detroit.
So which will it be, Cincinnati? Are we ready to do what we need to do to compete with other world class cities or are we going to keep the status quo, while we continue our comfortable decline, seated firmly and inextricably in the plush seats of our cars or stolid buses?
I say we do what we need to! I say it’s time to invest in the infrastructure that the new urban professionals demand so we can stay competitive in the new world economy. It’s not going to be buses and cars alone that take us into the future, but something more flexible, more adaptive to changing preferences and travel patterns…something quick, convenient, friendly and stylish.
We need only look back a single century to find successful implementations of such technologies; the Wicked Witch of the West for example, and later the Good Witch Glinda used flying monkeys to simply tremendous ends in turn-of-the-century Oz.
There’s no reason Cincinnati couldn’t adapt such systems to meet it’s urban transportation needs, despite what the suburban naysayers may be whispering in the ears of councilmen.
The time is now, Cincinnati. With the municipal budget crisis, and the seeming failure of the parking lease, some are saying we can’t afford this project. I say we can’t afford to not build it! If we’re going to overcome the fiscal hurdle Kasich threw down on Ohio cities, we’re only going to do it by doing what cities have always done best: Innovation. Using some of our own capital money now to leverage available federal funds will pay enormous dividends not only in the medium-term but increasingly into the future as the tax base grows. We rose to fame on the canals, but by passing up the railroads we turned our Queen City crown over to Chicago. We can’t afford to do that again. Let’s take that crown back. The time is now, Cincinnati.