Light rail in Toledo?

So what do you think about this idea? Would you use the system?

For me, it would be about cost first of all. How much would it cost me to use this service to get from Franklin Park to Levis Commons compared to the cost of gas? There are many other factors- dependability, cleanliness, safety, comfort, etc.

I don't think we'd ever see this in our lifetime... what do you think?

No votes yet

...has the local preferred alternative listed as part of the 'core circulator' study.

Although they did considerable outreach to get public input into the process, I remember asking them to include a 'how much would you be willing to pay to ride..." question for each of the options they were presenting. They did not.

Here is the link to the study which says:

"Total LPA costs are $57.5 million, plus $1.2 million in annual operating costs. Anticipated federal and state funds could cover approximately 82% of total capital costs, leaving 18%, or $10.1 million, for local and private sources to fund. It is estimated that a half-cent lcal sales tax would generate the necessary local capital and operating funds and also replace the current property tax that funds TARTA operations."

"Head out the front door and walk a few blocks to the neighborhood coffee shop....walk two blocks farther to the light-rail station." [Blade article]

Toledoans won't walk anywhere: they're wedded to their cars. Gas would have to top $4.50 a gallon, I believe, to even begin getting any mileage out of a mass transit system.

Would "eminent domain" have to be used to take property for additional right-of-way? Also, they are writing about using some of the surface streets for both car, and rail. It would be interesting to look into the old "Blades" to see how often there were car/rail accidents between, say, 1920 and 1949.

Everyone has their own take on this. I don

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that makes it a "no" vote for me.

I'd use the system over the TARTA bus anyday.

This link,, shows where we are. I don

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Valbee, you bring up something interesting. It seems as though service by TARTA has been cut more and more through the years. That might just be

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Pete is right on this one. I'd have no use for it. Where would the money to create this come from, and if there is money available, aren't there more important things to spend it on? I question that Toledo is a large enough to make it worth the expense. The old trolleys were cool, but there also weren't as many people who owned cars back then, and Toledo had a bustling downtown ALL the time. I just can't envision me walking the distance to get a ride on this thing ,then walk the blocks (MANY) needed to get to where I'm going. Especially n bad or cold weather. I tend to run a lot of errands in the same run, so it wouldn't be practical for me to use this train.

I'm reminded of the episode of The Simpsons where the slick talking salesmen comes to springfield and convinces the town to give him all their money to build a monorail.

Soon, Marge visits other towns where this salesmen had been and convinced them to build monorails as well....all of them were shady deals and the towns were left with nothing but a broken down train and empty pockets.

Of course...Springfield hired Homer to drive the monorail and he couldn't get the train to stop and eventually the monorail was destroyed after zipping uncontrollably through the town for a whole day...they quickly realized how foolish it was for them to think a mediocre town like Tole...I mean Springfield needed such transit.

If Toledo pursues this silly idea...I just wonder who will be our Homer?

It's just a stupid idea. The great thing about Toledo is that you can get most anywhere in 20 minutes (with a car). Why would I spend money to take this train (plus time to walk, bus or drive & park) there, to go someplace I can get there faster (cheaper perhaps) in my car? Why would I bother waiting for a train (bus, trolley) unless I had no car? Most people have cars, and for those who do not, there are buses with more bus stops then the train would have. It picks up at Franklin Park Mall (I will always call it that)? Ya gotta get there first. Add money to park if you drive there. Just non-sensical.

I don't see a light rail catching on enough to be viable. Most people have already left what would be considered a densely packed urban area. There are businesses thoughout the city, but the majority of people (without really thinking about it) go to the malls, Wal-Marts,KMarts or Meijers.

If you own a small business you might benefit from this, but maybe not. Cars have given us the ability to shop, and transport our goods (often bought as impulse buys). If you use some kind of mass transit you're more likely to be more careful in your purchases since you have to carry it home.

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I lived in Portland Oregon for 10 years and we had a light rail there. It was a very slick passenger service and it was the same price to ride as the bus system. It went in a loop thru downtown and then out to the malls and could stop anywhere in the line. You tug a rope and the conductor stops. It ran every 15 mins in the peak hours, from 7pm till midnight every 1/2 hour, then every hour over nite.

It worked well for Portland and was much more reliable than buses. For one traveled at high rates of speed..50-70 mph once out of Downtown. The various sced. stops it made connected with bus routes and made for easy exchange. The key reason by far was that parking was limited and very expensive. If you worked downtown it wasn't unusuall to pay $200 a month for a parking spot. Add that to City bustle and gas prices and the "Green" nature of was an easy sell. For around $80 a month you could travel on a monthly pass anywhere.

The tracks are in the streets as a rule and current is from wires above. It's made up of shorter cars with acordian style connections and can turn corners and so on. Because it is electric, it emits no toxins into the air and frankly, it was fun:)

Chad, found what you were talking about. This is the link,

I wonder if the

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The route loop they pictured in the article seems very limited though. I can't compare Toledo to Portland, never been to Portland - how does it compare population wise, busy downtown or like Toledo?

Chad, you're turning me into a believer. Now, if only we could keep the costs down, the schedule tight, and the fares that reasonable we might get something worth supporting.

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We might have cheaper fares, but, maybe, you get what you pay for.

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This is a very interesting idea. I see many upsides, but also many potential downsides. The upsides are that this would create jobs and our local government would actually be investing in infrastructure as opposed to nonsense. The downside is that it may not be that popular (but people like shiney new things). I think the first step would be to get a federal grant to pay for it. If you notice, our federal taxes represent the largest portion of any tax payments we make. Unlike the state and the city, the feds don't give much back to our area. I like the idea of connecting the UT campuses via train, with an addition to a downtown train. Additionally, if this were to be done, it would have to concentrate on the downtown in order to promote a central business district. I'm a firm believer that Toledo's recent decline is a result of a lack of a central business district. It's fine if people move out to the burbs, but when the businesses spread, an immediate decline is imminent. If this brings people back downtown, I like it. But much like above, I can't help but think of the Simpson's "Monorail" episode. "Monorail, that's right I said Monorail" now let's sing and dance about it.

Well, sir, there's nothing on earth
Like a genuine,
Bona fide,
What'd I say?

Starling02, I am trying to do this. Here is a site from Wikipedia that shows info on Portland, Oregon.

And here is information on Toledo, OH.

This caught my eye in the

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I haven

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Portland has the Tri-Met athority. Translation is that an entity like our port athority is reposnible for and runs all transportation issues in Portland. Bus, rail and street car. In our situation, because we have Tarta, we may need to alter it and make a single unit to handle all. TTA or Toledo Transportation Athority, would be a sound choice. This would encompass all transportation, land, sea, rail etc. Because all transportation in Portland is run by a single unit, the cost and resources are under one blanket and that offers many options for managing the vast and detailed nature of the product.

It's not just the transportation that makes Portland sing, it's they way everything connects. WE need to look at all the ways Portland works, and other cities with similar resources.

This is a City with reality in mind..

...I would love to visit Portland and see all this for myself, but comparing Toledo to Portland just isn't realistic. Don't misunderstand, we can look all across the nation for ideas and such, but to really implement a program from another city in Toledo means we must also understand much more about that other city and how their basic structure, population, demographics and other policy decisions have led to their success in a particular project like a monorail.

Portland, if I recall correctly, also has a 'ring' around the city inside which they have specific zoning and building restrictions related to so-called 'smart growth' that has resulted in the price of their limited housing stock going through the roof. Another impact of this 'policy' is that those who need lower-cost housing have been priced out of the market.

Portland has done things over the last 30 years in terms of policy that have resulted in many 'cool' things...but we cannot look at only one thing they've done without looking at the whole picture.

Portland also has a DEMAND for such services. Currently, there isn't a corresponding demand in Toledo. I'm not a big one for 'build it and they will come' without solid data indicating that a need (versus a 'want') is present.

The biggest problem is that many people may "like" the idea of a monorail or trolley, but how many will actually pay the price it would take for it to be self-sufficient? Even the TMACOG study measured "interest' and not 'intensity' when it comes to their "locally preferred alternative." (questions were all about what do you like and not what would you pay for and how much)

My question is always about the cost-effectiveness and long term ability of any such project to be self-sustaining. And 'need' versus 'want.'

And I could not find any study or article or documentation that building a monorail or trolley is an economic development tool that means more businesses and more jobs. Actually, everything I found was just the reverse - the monorail/trolley/transportation system responded to the demand from existing businesses, etc...

Another reason Portland housing is expensive... No sales tax in the state of Oregon. Higher real estate taxes and income taxes. And that form of taxation seems to be a very productive form of business there. I never heard them cry broke once! School levies and so on pass on a regular basis and it's one of the cleanest, most attractive cities in the States.
For the "Green" also gets 10% of it power from renewable resources, like goethermal, wind etc. It's 2nd only to CA. in the Green races.

Before I drove (and lived out by Byrne and Heatherdowns), I either went by bus to work one-way, and ran the other, or rode my bike both ways. If someone had asked me about light rail I would have been all for it (interest), but I probably wouldn

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Before I drove (and lived out by Byrne and Heatherdowns), I either went by bus to work one-way, and ran the other, or rode my bike both ways. If someone had asked me about light rail I would have been all for it (interest), but I probably wouldn

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Maggie raises another good point. Without a

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I was trying to Portland

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"They go back to Maumee, or some other place, and leave the grit behind."

Leave the grit behind... Hmmmm, like, what could be done about that? Flowers? Bike paths? Nah, thats wasteful spending, right?

Portland is going with this one

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After an hour of searching diligently (I think) I could find nothing comparable to AREIS.
Maggie could probably read this better than I could

This is an interesting page full of report

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"City Council approved the rate increase based upon a thorough analysis of the actual cost of providing garbage, recycling and yard debris collection."

As opposed to here where they decide they need more money and just tack on a 'garbage' tax that isn't really for garbage - but is going into the general fund to pay for a whole host of things...

I suspect some of the other decisions made in Portland are done with a lot more thought, analysis and thoroughness.

...while I take a break from yard work...

Has anyone thought about the cost to operate a light rail system? By definition, light rail is electric - with the prices in this area, does this make sense for us?

Yeah, that would probably really impact our rates. I am one of those who gets a little antsy about using nuclear power (even though it is probably safer than the fossil fuels we are using to generate it now). The way the Davis-Besse is having trouble coming

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As I remeber the way it worked was self generation..

Company Details Whitepapers Press Releases Regional Offices Contact This Company Transtechnik - Power Electronics and Converter Solutions
Transtechnik GmbH & Co. KG is well known in the market as your competent partner across the railway industry for state-of-the-art, reliable and maintenance-free power electronics. For more than 20 years we have been supplying railways worldwide with converter solutions for all power ranges, with compact dimensions and a low weight.


While I loved the Light Rail in Portland and I think it could be utilized here; I don't think now is the time to run out and install track. Portland has been building the MAX for over 25 years. It's got growth both in riders and locations and has a fairly extensive additions program going right now.

My Point is...they've been thinking and working on this thing for a quarter century and it just hit our brainwaves recently??? It's interconnected with the vast and varried bus system and other transportation venues. For our part here in should be fully explored and the plans to impliment some similar action here would be in order. The 1st step is to dispatch an envoy of citizens and officals to explore the who, what, where, and how? of it as soon as possible. Get in to see Portland's municipal and county players and figure out how they got from A-Z.

Scout the City in depth and talk to as many people as can be done, finding out the pro's and con's of their system. Seriously folks, if we don't get super busy, really fast, making steps twards progress, we're gonna fall off the proverbal map. Toledo has done a remarkable job duct taping the leaky radiator...but she's blowing steam now isn't she??? I'd say we're Red Lining it with the anger, disdane and appathy. From my point of view, Toledo is on a collision course with implosion. We're holding on so damn tight, it's slipping from our grasp!

Don't sit twitching your fingers and cursing, help me lay the Smack Down On this City Governement. It's time they heard all of us, loud and clear....NO MORE BS! GET ON WITH IT!!!

I'm so sick to death of hearing about showers and flower pots...meanwhile Toledo circles the damn drain! If all we have to talk about and think about is 1 individual's and 12 Council member's silly antics, then we have far bigger problems than even I see.

Sorry, but I haven't been following this thread all that closely and maybe this is not on target. The only thing I may have to add is anecdotal. Aren't Portland and the whole of Oregon and Washington states booming by comparison to Toledo because of the migration of Californians into those northern coastal states. They are now buying up property at a fraction of what they sold their homes for in L.A. and S.F.? People who lived in CA for many years have cashed in the homes they paid $40K for years ago but have now sold for a half-mil and moved to the northern coast. I used to live in the LA area years ago and I remember that whole suburbs were experiencing Asian immigrants buying up the properties. Somebody should look up the average wealth of the inhabitants of coastal Oregon and Washington versus Toledo. I'll bet it's dramatically different. I wonder how useful a comparison between Portland and Toledo can be regarding anything.

Also, up above is based on the 2005 American Community Survey, not straight from the US Census. The US Census, based on 2005, shows Toledo at a population of 301,285.

"Note: The 2005 American Community Survey universe is limited to the household population and excludes the population living in institutions, college dormitories, and other group quarters."

This is what I come up with as of 2002:

Toledo, OH....$18,891 billion personal income; ranked 133 in personal income.
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA....$64,755 billion personal income; ranked 58 in personal income.

Portland is not just Portland; it goes all the way up to Vancouver. I don't think there's any comparison between Toledo and the NW Pacific area.

Council used slightly better judgement wher ehte Citifest money was concerned. The cut if from 100 to 75,000. Better, but I woulda gone half.

I don't see it as a previous generation's way of transit. Mass transit is a way of life for people on the east coast. About 10 years ago, I became acquainted with a young architect who had relocated out here and he was very frustrated with the lack of mass transit, mostly because it forced him to spend money on maintaining a car and insurance.

When I faced the prospect of not having a car two years ago, I looked into TARTA. I rejected TARTA not because I had to walk a few blocks to catch a bus, but because it would have made my four mile (each way) commute an hour long. Furthermore, the last bus on the route by work passes by at 11:30 p.m. I'm not off work until after midnight. Even in good weather, I'm not walking home four miles in the middle of the night.

I would support light rail in northwest Ohio in a heartbeat if it was planned properly and it was convenient for all residents of the area. But given the history of our leadership, I think there's a valid concern that a large amount of money would be spent on something essentially useless.


I thought that same thing!

When I first moved to Portland from Toledo, 1986, Portland, Des Moines Iowa, and Toledo were all roughly the same size and population. Both Portland and Des Moines are excellent studies on how to run a City and gain, rather than loose. While both of the other cities have exploded and have economic boom, we, here are loosing ground??..go figure.

Downtown Portland is a urban dream. It's chuck full of business, entertainment and housing. because it has a grand amount of business, retail and entertainment, people want to and do live there in mass. It's subs have also expanded in huge ways, but the core of the city is the "Happening" spot. Nearly everyone on the west coast is a "tree huger" so the "Green" thing has been present there for ever. The citizens of the area pride themselves on urban ability ballanced with beauty and function. While a fair portion of Portland's success can be attributed to the influx of Californians that were escaping the quake zone after SF had the whopper, it's a team effort that has brought the vast success.

Des Moines, by contrast is more even in it's development. Des Moines is also the state capitol so it has the state government as well as the city administration. Friends I have in DM have related to me just this month that the construction boom in west DM is over the top and the entire area is under "New Contruction". If they can do it in the middle of a corn feild, what's wrong with us??. Des Moines is a lively, fun city to live in with endless things to do and see.

Portland, like Toledo, is a county seat, but not a capitol city. All 3 cities have large water fronts w/ rivers and all have zoo's and so on. Our zoo here should study the Portland zoo, we'd be far ahead if we took some pages from their books.

As for the light rail loop, it connects with bus service in the various points and btw, bus service in the DT area is free. The MAX has had expansion and is planned for further expansion as needed. For us, here , it would make sense to have it loop DT and run out to Perrysburg, Sylvania, Rosford, Northwood. In those locations we'd set up "Park and Ride" depots so that you save polution and gas in the urban center.

No matter what we do, it would make good sense to dispatch a team of local leaders to visit these other 2 cities and meet with their leaders and so on. We need to know how they did it. WE can learn from them and apply those same ideas here. BTW..Portland is also a democrat world..and in spite of that, they get along and achieve great success.

Maybe you should move back to Portland?

While I agree on your comment, I disagree with the premise.

What "grit" do you see downtown? Downtown is one of the cleanest neighborhoods in Toledo. Sidewalks and streets are swept weekly and sometimes bi-weekly. I know. I get woken-up sometimes by the sidewalk sweepers.

Also, the curbs/streets/crosswalks have all been upgraded for quite sometime. That include paving bricks in the crosswalks and such to make them look nice.

The vacant storefronts aren't nearly as prevalant as they once were, and you only notice them if you're looking for them. There's a lot of occupied storefronts that will attract your attention if you let them.

Bottom line is that for my money, and my needs a single, 20-something professional, there is no better place in Toledo to live than Downtown.

Here's something many of you might find interesting: The public schools servicing downtown are... wait for it... the BOWSHER district. From my building you can see both Scott and Waite, but public HS students there would be bussed to Bowsher. Not a bad move considering the price we're paying to live there, but strange nonetheless.

Portland 513,627
Toledo 285,937

median household income:
Portland $42,287
Toledo $33,044

median family income:
Portland $55,321
Toledo $42,179

per capita income:
Portland $26,677
Toledo $17,953

for the clarification!

Seattle and its suburbs isn't that far away either.

I moved to Portland in that time Portland, Toledo and Des Moines Iowa were all about the same. I use Portland as a reference becasue I lived there for 10 years and watched as it grew into the mammoth it's become. Des Moines is equally booming by comparrison. I lived there for a year or 2 as well. I have family and friends in both locations and hear frequently about the pro's and con's of their world. I also follow on the internet and thru media sources.

My point is that Toledo needs to use what has worked for those cities if we can and repair our limited imaginations. Not everything there can be done here, but some of it can and I never heard them cry broke one time. In the last 1/4 century the other two cities have propered and grown and become wealthy in both financial and lifestyle ways. Here...rust belt full of abandonement and decay.

Tonight, I sat through a City Council meeting where all were present with one noteable exception. The Mayor sent His asst. Cheif of Staff in his place. this no doubt related to his feelings on the Shrine building being used as a charter school and the fact that there were 6 complete rows of hat wearing Shriners there to insure the zoning would be handled their way. There was a brief tidbit with Reps from the Dillion camp, and they started off 25 minutes late with the Mayoral appointments. More on that later.

After the appointments and the zoning thing with the Shriners, they and their supporters left and that left only a few people remaining in the audience. There was a few moments with the WiFi people and then, for 45 minutes, the City Council we all know Hemohraged City cash. Seems millions were spent, yet I'm still clueless on the how and the why or the what?

A couple of noteable issues and some intresting happenings. There was some BS about spending a million on a road improvement way out by Jerome Rd and the Fallen Timbers project. I was aghast! Damn near jumped outta my chair to give em a piece of my mind for just entertaining the idea. Way out in wealthy land over the deteriorating city core??..Not while I'm alive! Thank God, Council sent it for more debate and investigation.

The Shriner Building and School passed and that's good for Toledo. WE can't have it perfect..but an occupied building is a damn sight better than an empty one. Especially in that area.

Betty Shultz asked for the ballances on unspent monies from past projects and plans. Apparently, there's cash in the kitty, like 800K so far that's just laying around in dead accounts. Huh??!!!!! And a higher trash fee??..Get real!

Michael Ashford was successful for the most part on his of which was mine. The property isses are well under way to resolution now. Another noteable thing, at least for me. I was confirmed by all of Council to 2 Board Appointments. 20/20 Implimentation and Parks. I look forward to serving in these capacities and working for a better Toledo.

noteable visionaries on Council, as in people with common sense and fearless approaches..
Joe McNimera, Ellen Graychek, Michael Ashford and Franky. Love Shultz's wit and drive for tech savy here. Not to mention her penchant for asking the uncomfortable questions. Experience has it's rewards.

I was hugely dissapointed in the lack of citizens in the audience. No wonder they get away with bleeding cash day in and day out. If we don't watch the government..they will do what they do.

A whole lot of blank stares and uh's duh's and um's. I hope to be able to speak the next time I go to one of these meetings. I've got plenty to say. I'd order dinner in, we'll be a while.

5 hrs by car..Portland to Seattle

ShaneH, I guess I was a "little over the top". Since I haven't traveled much lately Toledo might seem a lot cleaner (all I have to do is go north to Detroit to find that out). Mostly I go downtown for the Main Library. On a breezy day it can be quite enjoyable. I do remember looking at some of the apartments/condos? over by the Main Library that are beginning to make that part of town quite nice.

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...the money for the Jerome Road project is part of an existing agreement that the city has with Monclova and the county. I believe that this is part of the property that the city of Toledo owns and has a JEDZ (joint economic development zone) with. I believe it also includes Maumee.

Toledo will get a portion of the taxes from this area, under the agreement, but they had to provide the roads and provide some infrastructure.

I checked out the city official website, and got this summary of the agenda for the May 29, 2007 meeting:

but I was trying to find if there was a recording anywhere like we have for the TPS Board meetings. Maybe I am not searching efficiently, but so far I haven

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The other 2 involved have not started their portions either. Additonally, paving roads while an area is under construction is stupid. Wait untill the heavy equipment is finished and then pave. Also, paving ooutlying areas is basicly building a road for people to leave the area on.

City Council meetings are televised on one of the Buckeye channels and there are 2 cameras/audio going from start to finish. Contact the Council offices for either a copy or a transcript. recollection is that this is not for the mall portion but for another portion of property closer to the Dana Tech center. Maybe we're talking about two different portions of the property?

my understanding is that it was in relation to a rev. sharing development, but that it all ties together for that area. Either way, I'm firm in my position to stop expansion until infrastructure is up and running within the city core. My original thoughts are that if you cannot completely care for what already exists, you have no business starting new ventures and spreading an already lean bank account too far. That last thing we need as a community is for the more affluent and business savy to relocate further from the core. We have vast expanses of dead comercial property within the core that should be priority #1.

Toledo is building on quicksand. If the core falls apart, the outlying areas are soon to follow as people and business relocate in other cities and states. It's in both Toledo and the Burb's intrest to re-build what is already here, thereby saving the core and stabilizing the whole region.

...with your position, but Toledo made this commitment a long time ago. I believe it needs to keep its promises to the other communities who partnered with us on this project.

Additionally, there aren't a lot of properties that fit this description within the city limits. I believe this was one of the reasons, originally, for Toledo's involvement. Toledo will get, I believe, not only tax dollars from the property, but income taxes from any jobs in this area.

I agree with honoring our commitments, but timing is everything. I believe in doing what we must by obligation, but I see no reason to have it done this summer. Until construction is near's a waste to pave now and repair soon.

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