Film Screening at Cleveland Public Library Explores Why Streetcars Vanished from the City

Sat 2/2 @ 2PM

Once upon a time, Cleveland was a dense, bustling city where the average working-class family didn’t need to own a car. They most likely lived, worked, went to school shopped and worshipped within walking distance. And if they had to go a little farther, Cleveland had one of the largest electric rail — streetcar — networks in the country.

But by 1954, streetcars had disappeared from Cleveland — you can still see the remnants of the system on the lower level of the Detroit Superior Bridge, which is occasionally opened to walkers — and sprawl had begun, with new highways moving traffic to the suburbs at an increasing rate as the ’50s progressed. Filmmaker Brad Masi, best known in the area for his work in helping to grow the local food system, has created the film essay Streetcar City, which looks at how streetcars affected people’s lives and relationships with their city and neighborhoods, reveals the transportation policies that led to the streetcar’s demise, and discovers relics of the old system that still exist.

The film has its debut screening in the auditorium of the Louis Stokes wing of the downtown branch of the Cleveland Public Library. It will be followed by a Q & A with Masi. The second part of the series, Freeway City, screens at the same location Sat 3/9 @ 2pm. The final part of the three-part series will look at how bikes have impacted movement around the city.

It’s free and open to the public.



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