I don't want to extend the discussion about RTA's performance on the day of the parade, but I am tired of the endless bashing of a system that I think is well run with limited resources. As previously noted, I took RTA to work that day and had a reasonably good experience. Anyone with even the slightest bit of sense would know that RTA would be strained that day and would not, say, show up at Green Road at 9 a.m. and expect an easy trip to a downtown event scheduled for an 11 a.m. start with an expected attendance of anywhere from 500,000 to more than a million people. RTA has reported that it provided 500,000 rides on that day--more than three times its usual daily passenger count. Imagine if even half of those riders had decided to drive downtown. I wonder what transit systems are set up to handle more than three times their average daily load without showing any signs of strain or without any delays. Let us know if you know of one.
Well, you know what happens when people assume …
For the record: I was as impromptu as the parade. I left a meeting late Tuesday in Philadelphia and then ran to the dealer to get my car from an oil change and hit the road for Cleveland at around 8p (last min airl8ines tics were just too expensive – could have handled it, but why?) Arrived in C-Town at 2:15a; to bed by 3a and up at 7:45a. As a vet of these trips, I know the Zombie thing doesn’t set in till around 5p, especially this day with my Cavs adrenaline rush…. Some in-town friends we planned to meet downtown, departed early. Me and another friend who I ended up going down the celebration with, was in the same boat (he’d driven in from Chicago) so obviously we were not going downtown early. My intent all along was to attend the rally, only, not the parade. I figured, correctly, that the parade and rally would be seriously delayed by the crowds; we were following it on radio and, then, TV. I know that going to the parade meant standing in one place watching people go by and not going anywhere else because of the crazy crowds. Again, I was correct. By the time we waited for the crowds to die down and the Rapid somewhat normal, again, we departed around Noon and STILL got there to see the parade coming down Lakeside and into Mall B where the rally view stage was, where we stayed for about 5 hours… So that’s my personal story from last Wednesday.
As for RTA, as one woman mentioned waiting for the Green Line said on the platform yesterday: if they had provided the level of service for St. Paddy’s day, it would have been much better. She, like me, was wondering why RTA ran 1-car Blue/Green line trains around every 20-30 minutes all day… My major issue with RTA is this: if there are just enough available, working LRT trains to run a normal rush hour and not something of the parade’s magnitude, which of course is a massive limited-time event, why not just say so? The budget woes are old news, but RTA management is ducking and dodging the question about LRT replacement and the apparently dire situation of possible Blue/Green shutdowns because of it. If that’s the case, just say it. Then folks like me would be a little more understanding instead of RTA acting as if all systems are a go while encouraging the parade multitudes to utilize their trains.
You used the Rapid and, as you just said above, got to accomplish what you wanted to do. So where is the problem?
As I said above, I had to wait until the crowds died down as they were running 1 car around every 30 minutes for a crowd that began leaving, taking buses or driving. That's a problem. And as I just stated, I wasn't aiming to see the parade but did want to get downtown just to establish a location but couldn't... and my problem wasn't nearly as acute as those who simply gave up and went home (or crowded buses). Surely you're not saying this is: OK?
I'm going back to my original point. This is a once in a half century event. Even Metro here in DC would have trouble handling those crowds on a weekday. Yet local governments here would still encourage people to use transit if there was parade in DC.
People gave up because they got going late. It happens. Could RTA do better? Sure. Could people have planned better? Sure. It's a complex situation but RTA, on the whole, didn't do so bad.
As I said, I understand thoroughly of RTA's financial troubles as well as the impromptu, unprecedented nature of the crowd. Everybody in the City were flying by the seats of their pants. I heard the Red Line and the buses were less problematic. I just want some transparency regarding the LRT trains... This is ongoing and first raised months by Ken/AAO as well as Scene Magazine. It seems, though, that the doo-doo hit the fan last Wednesday when services were severely restricted due to a railcar shortage... Given this, to me, it's not acceptable to simply pat RTA on the back for giving it the Ol' College Try under extreme circumstances when lesser events than the parade, even regular rush hour service, may be hampered by the current car failure/shortage. I think the agency, esp Mr. Calabrese, have been less than forthcoming. The riding public needs answers as well as some kind of plan for the future.
Cincinnati like many cities its size is certainly a laggard compared to SF, NYC, Boston, etc. on the back-to-the-city movement. Nevertheless, what we're seeing in those cities is markets that are starting to boom *despite* all of the anti-urban, pro-suburban, pro-rural policies that are still in place at the national, state, and even still at the city level, not to mention policies held by private companies that also have a lot of skin in the game (banks, insurers, etc.). 50+ years of deliberate disinvestment has taken so much of a toll that the innate market forces simply can't be hidden anymore. If all these bad policies could be stripped away and the innate efficiency of cities was allowed to be expressed rather than suppressed, then we wouldn't need to rely on PPP's or tax credits or all these other financial shenanigans to get projects done. I think it's only a matter of time before we're forced to allow that to happen, because we simply can't afford to keep propping up unsustainable suburbs by draining resources out of cities.