Anti-Streetcar protestors rally for signatures in Westwood

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The final push is on to try and stop Cincinnati's streetcar project.

A petition drive was held Friday to collect enough valid signatures to put the issue to a vote in November.

Currently, the City is moving ahead with the project, after securing the funding needed for the plan.

The streetcar opponents have until August 10th to get enough signatures on the ballot, so the clock is ticking.

Volunteers were are out trying to collect signatures in Westwood. They hope their efforts will derail the streetcar project for good.

You couldn't miss their purple "stop the streetcar here" or "vote no" signs along Glenway and Werk.

And one by one, people stopped and signed-on to derail the streetcar.

"We are moving forward with the streetcar project," said Mayor Mark Mallory back in May, that the project was indeed moving forward.

"This project we know will create jobs," Mallory said.

"I don't think it's gonna spur anything," said Westwood resident Bill Nintrup. "I really don't."

He remains unconvinced.

"Well, here's what they say, it will create 1.4 billion dollars in economic activity to be generated, and lead to thousands of new people living inside the urban core. Doesn't sound appealing to you?," we asked.

"Oh, it sounds great on paper, you know, it's on paper, the reality of it is, every time they promise us stuff like that, it happens," Nintrup said.

"This is a very important day for you," said Helen Russo to a young man, who they registered to vote, so he could sign the petition.

18-year-old Aaron Byrd registered, then signed the no streetcar petition.

"I think that the streetcar is a poor use of taxpayer dollars honestly," Byrd said. "We already have metro buses and I don't think it's worth all those taxpayer dollars for a streetcar."

"Holding this up means you have to sign something," Russo said. "Then I'm pointing over there to our table."

Russo guided traffic toward their table and wasn't letting the blazing heat stop her.

"If it weren't for the cause the heat would be stopping me," she said. "But I'm going to try for the cause, to stay out here."

They spent two hours and collected just under a hundred signatures. 13-hundred more to go before August 10th.

"The citizenry has to vocalize what they think is right for the entire city," Russo said. "Not just a section of the city."

"Bureaucrats and politicians like Mark Mallory are tone deaf," said Mary Kuhl. "They're not listening to the people, what does he care? You're trying to hit a small demographic of people who want to live in the urban core, the majority of the people want to live in a safe, clean community and that's Westwood and having that streetcar's not helping us."

Protestors will be out in that same spot in Westwood Saturday at the corner of the Sears parking lot, at Glenway and Werk, starting at 9 in the morning.

As both sides wait to see if there will be enough valid signatures to bring the issue to voters, the streetcar project is moving forward.

Right now, the City needs to work with Duke Energy and other groups to relocate utilities along the route and it needs to buy the rail and streetcars.

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