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Full Council Approves Streetcar Special Events Plan

First streetcar being tested on the tracks in Over-the-Rhine.
First streetcar being tested on the tracks in Over-the-Rhine.
First streetcar being tested on the tracks in Over-the-Rhine.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The full Cincinnati Council has approved an ordinance that would suspend streetcar operations during seven special events in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.  

The ordinance was approved Wednesday by a 6-2 vote.

The law will sunset, or end, in Dec. 2018 for most events except for the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade and the Thanksgiving Day 10K.

Council Member Amy Murray said discussions with event organizers will continue.

"After each event runs the first time with the streetcar, we will have them come before the committee a month later to really discuss what worked and what didn't work, and how we can change or impact it so that we can keep the streetcar open while these events are going on," Murray said.

Besides opening day and the Thanksgiving race, the streetcar will likely not operate during the Flying Pig Marathon, Taste of Cincinnati, Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, the Heart Mini Marathon, and the Center for Closing the Health Gap expo at Washington Park.

Mayor John Cranley praised the compromise ordinance, which was finalized during a three-hour long committee meeting Tuesday.

"This doesn't need to be an all or nothing fight," Cranley said. "These events want the streetcar, some day we'll get there. But in the short-term let's not be high handed about it, let's work with these events that have preceded the streetcar and add enormous value to the fabric of our city."

The streetcar operating agreement between Cincinnati and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority gives the city the right to halt streetcar operations for four special events lasting up to three days. City Council can approve additional suspensions for other special events.

The Chamber of Commerce, which produces Taste and Oktoberfest, told a council committee Tuesday that it has begun reviewing options for moving those events so they will not conflict with the streetcar route. Right now both are held along Fifth Street from Fountain Square to Broadway.

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