Some businesses along proposed route still want streetcar

FOX19 wanted to know how businesses along the proposed streetcar route are feeling about having a source of potentially increased traffic taken away.

Despite an ODOT survey from Dec. 9 through Feb. 11 that found people, 2 to 1, were against the streetcar, most all of the business people we spoke with said they would still like to see it happen.

Tracks from the city's former streetcar still run up Elm street toward Clifton. They used to carry people to and from concerts at Music Hall.

Further along the proposed route, once you swing past the Findlay Market, there is a busy fish market in-favor of the streetcar.

"I'd like to see it still happen, yeah," said Brian Doran, who manages the super-busy Alabama Fish Market at the corner of Liberty and Race Streets. "I think it would help businesses a lot."

His storefront is a direct stop along the streetcar route, and it's a business driven by walk-up and pull-up customers.

"Definitely wouldn't have hurt anything," said Doran.

Opponents of the streetcar say it would kill parking at businesses along the route.

"If this gets built, there will be a lot of loss of parking in front of the very developments that this is supposed to spark, amounting to a taking of parking rights, the owners and tenants had believed they had a right to.," said a representative from the group COAST, a local coalition group opposed to the streetcar, speaking to the TRAC Board in Columbus Tuesday morning.

Doran has been in business on that corner for 19 years.

"I think that'd be great," she an employee, Teresa Carter, of the streetcar project surviving.

Anything, she said, that keeps people coming in is a good thing.

"Yeah, because I think it would revitalize this part of downtown," Carter said. "Like 13th and 14th Streets up there, they're revitalizing that, but they need to bring it all the way down to McMicken."

"Please don't stick us with this albatross," the COAST rep. said.

The streetcar is a bird Mayor Mark Mallory vows will still take flight.

"I will tell you this remains a priority and it's something very important for us to do," Mallory said.

On Main Street, while the manager of the Main Event tavern said he supports the project and the possibility of a packed streetcar stopping by his place after a Reds or Bengals game.

Mayor Mallory maintains the streetcar is still his number one transportation priority.

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