Old Debate Shows Changing Views on Transit

119 years ago, in January 1900, a group of concerned residents and business owner came together to voice their opposition the Columbus and Newark Traction Company being awarded a franchise to build and operate a streetcar line on Mound Street. In today’s car-dominated environment, most of the arguments against such a project would most likely fall along the lines of rail being too expensive or how no one would ride it. More than a century ago, however, the arguments showed a very different attitude towards public transit in general.

The opposition group put out a list of 10 reasons why they were objecting to the project. They were:
1. We believe it to be the interest of prospective passengers of a street railroad from the east over the National Road, that the cars come into the city over the Main Street tracks.
2. Because it would be most direct to the center of the city.
3. Coming over the Main Street line would confine cars of the new line to the established rate of speed while in the city.
4. The proposed line on Mound Street would get but few city passengers.
5. It is not likely that reduced fares would be secured.
6. Transfers over old lines could not likely be had.
7. Cars would be far between.
8. A car line on Mound Street would be useless to residents of the city because too near Main Street where cars are much more frequent than could be expected on a suburban line.
9. Not getting city traffic, cars on the proposed line over Mound Street would run at a high rate of speed, making it dangerous for people in that part of the city and especially so for the residents of Mound Street.
10. We believe that it would be to the general interest of the city and the special interest of the southeastern part, also the interest of a new company that the proposed new line over the National Road from the east should come into the city two or three blocks from, if not on the Main Street line, but never over Mound Street.

Besides being somewhat repetitive in places, the given reasons are more practical than the emotional anti-rail tirades often witnessed today. The group wasn’t so much opposed to rail- just the opposite-, but instead didn’t like that there were too many lines in the same area, making a potential new one too redundant to serve a practical need and be financially successful. They didn’t bring up construction costs, but objections to the potential lack of transfer stops. They weren’t overly worried about the line interfering with other traffic, but rather whether the service would run enough cars.

So often in the current rail and transit debate, proposals tend to get bogged down in political ideology rather than figuring out what the basic transit needs of the population are or the effectiveness of the proposed service features. A century ago, even opposition groups seemed to fully understand that the issue was not rail itself, but in ensuring that what got built made the best sense possible. Columbus hasn’t had rail in more than 40 years, and in its long absence, we’ve perhaps lost the plot on what really matters.

The opposition group lost the fight and Mound Street got its streetcar line. The East Mound section, including most of Downtown, ended service in 1929 as the car became increasingly dominant.
The last streetcar trip in the city occurred on September 5, 1948.

Weekly Update 6/3-6/9/2019

The restoration of the site continued this week with the following progress:

-The Completed Development page received extensive additions for the years 2015-2019.
-The January Weather records page was fully restored and includes 2019 data.
-The Columbus Tornado History page got a large addition.
-A few new graphs were added to the Columbus City Demographics page.
-Columbus Transportation History received multiple entries.
-Odds and ends were added to several other pages across the site.

Winter 2018-2019 Review

Winter 2018-2019 was another one of extremes, with record highs and near record lows, snowy months and snowless months. The only real consistency was how wet it was.

December-February Only
Average High: 41.4 22nd Warmest
Average Low: 26.4 21st Warmest
Mean: 33.8 24th Warmest
Precipitation: 12.15″ 8th Wettest
Snowfall: 23.3″ 35th Snowiest
Average Daily Snow Depth: 0.5″

Entire Cold Season- October-April
Average High: 49.7 27th Warmest
Average Low: 33.3 25th Warmest
Mean: 41.5 23rd Warmest
Precipitation: 29.33″ 3rd Wettest
Snowfall: 27.4″
Average Snow Depth: 0.2″

Average High By Month
October 2018: 65.7 43rd Warmest
November 2018: 45.2 8th Coldest
December 2018: 44.1 21st Warmest
January 2019: 36.6 48th Coldest
February 2019: 43.4 25th Warmest
March 2019: 47.5 36th Coldest
April 2019: 65.4 21st Warmest

Average Low By Month
October 2018: 47.2 25th Warmest
November 2018: 33.2 28th Coldest
December 2018: 30.6 15th Warmest
January 2019: 22.2 47th Warmest
February 2019: 26.3 33rd Warmest
March 2019: 28.7 27th Coldest
April 2019: 44.6 12th Warmest

Mean By Month
October 2018: 56.5 28th Warmest
November 2018: 39.2 14th Coldest
December 2018: 37.3 18th Warmest
January 2019: 29.4 51st Coldest
February 2019: 34.8 30th Warmest
March 2019: 38.1 34th Coldest
April 2019: 55.0 14th Warmest

Precipitation By Month
October 2018: 2.60″ 43rd Wettest
November 2018: 5.70″ 4th Wettest
December 2018: 3.57″ 30th Wettest
January 2019: 3.09″ 47th Wettest
February 2019: 5.49″ 6th Wettest
March 2019: 5.33″ 15th Wettest
April 2019: 3.55″ 54th Wettest

Snowfall By Month
October 2018: 0.0″
November 2018: 2.1″
December 2018: 0.4″
January 2019: 11.3″
February 2019: 11.6″
March 2019: 2.0″
April 201: 0.0″

Average Snow Depth By Month
October 2018: 0.0″
November 2018: Trace
December 2018: 0.0″
January 2019: 1″
February 2019: 0.5″
March 2019: 0.1″
April 2019: 0.0″

Maximum High By Month
October: 88 on the 6th and 8th
November: 61 on the 1st
December: 66 on the 2nd
January: 62 on the 8th
February: 62 on the 7th
March: 75 on the 14th
April: 82 on the 11th

Minimum High By Month
October: 49 on the 21st
November: 30 on the 28th
December: 28 on the 8th
January: 11 on the 31st
February: 22 on the 1st
March: 20 on the 5th
April: 43 on the 1st

Maximum Low By Month
October: 69 on the 2nd and 9th
November: 50 on the 5th
December: 46 on the 15th
January: 41 on the 8th
February: 43 on the 6th
March: 51 on the 14th and 29th
April: 64 on the 18th

Minimum Low By Month
October: 32 on the 22nd and 25th
November: 22 on the 10th and 11th
December: 16 on the 10th
January: -4 on the 30th and 31st
February: 9 on the 2nd
March: 7 on the 5th
April: 24 on the 1st

Highest Daily Precipitation By Month
October: 0.63″ on the 31st
November: 1.16″ on the 15th
December: 1.01″ on the 31st
January: 0.81″ on the 19th
February: 1.22″ on the 20th
March: 1.97″ on the 30th
April: 0.77″ on the 19th

Highest Daily Snowfall By Month
October: 0.0″
November: 1.3″ on the 15th
December: 0.2″ on the 5th
January: 4″ on the 12th
February: 4.2″ on the 1st
March: 1.9″ on the 3rd
April: 0.0″

Deepest Snow Depth By Month
October: 0″
November: 1″
December: 0″
January: 4″ on the 13th and 20th
February: 4″ on the 1st and 2nd
March: 2″ on the 1st
April: 0″

Overall, the winter of 2018-2019, while having a few cold spells, was largely warmer than normal. It was also wet and had snowfall near normal.