"OPPORTUNITY CORRIDOR" REHEARSAL?

Submitted by Jeff Buster@rea... on Sun, 01/15/2006 - 20:34.

 What do you think of the last 40 years of "urban planning" and neighborhood sensitivity - which represents the track record of the University Circle corporations and institutions -  who are now lobbying for their "Opportunity Corridor"? 

Look at the big pictures

Lots of important lessons to be learned and issues to address here.

Your picture is of an old Sears that had been abandoned due to urban sprawl and Cleveland shrinking (I remember going here as a kid). Rather than allow this to become a pox on the neighborhood, high level community leaders placed two major arts establishments here - and had Philip Johnson design one of the facilities. This was all good, as far as I know.

I heard the director of the Cleveland Playhouse speak about planning for this site and neighborhood and his institution (at one of the old Tuesday@REIs) and he seems sharp, but they face serious challenges. Now that MOCA is going down to the Triangle, imagine the Cleveland Playhouse going the way of the Cleveland Ballet, and this property abandoned. That is a possibility.

Having lived on Hessler Street I have a thorough knowledge of the strong hand od development in the University Circle area, but I also know strong citizen action won more often than The Man... the very existence of Hessler proves that.

But, now that Chris Ronanyne is President of University Circle Inc. we should give him a chance to lead well. 

While past freeway efforts have torn apart Cleveland and area communities, and caused huge problems for society, the region is now poised to make some intelligent decisions about transportation that will impact quality of life for the next century.

Let's be smart about the "Opportunity Corridor", as we are starting to be smart about other major development projects in the area. Our community has risen up to have a voice in the ODOT redesign of the I-90 bridge over the Cuyahoga and the Innerbelt through downtown Cleveland - let's have a voice with the "Opportunity", with a holistic view of NEO Transportation 2100.

The Opportunity Corridor will connect the end of 490 at E.55th with University Circle - the route is to be determined. This will mean the demolition on 100s of homes, disruption of 1,000s of lives, and long-term redefinition of neighborhoods.

It will also reroute 10,000s cars a day around downtown Cleveland by offering direct access between the East Side of Cleveland and the South and West Suburbs.

All this may be for good and bad - may be beautiful or ugly. In the best case, the corridor will improve the flow of traffic and commerce on the East Side of Cleveland, while developing major new attractions and amenities.

Connected to this, the Euclid Corridor project will offer better public transportation between University Circle and downdown. The Mid-Town area between is being termed the Innovation Zone and will become a major development corridor. We need this area (which includes where you photographed) to develop as infill to what is happening at the University Circle and downtown hubs.

In other transit-changing developments, with election of Jackson the Lakefront plan will get a fresh look, and something will start to happen with that.  Two major projects on the East Bank of the Flats will reshape that urban grid, and work is underway to better route truck traffic out of the Flats to the freeways.

Lots to keep an eye on right now! 

What's your take now?

  Norm, you were fairly generous here.  Still think the Opportunity Corridor is a good idea?

Still trying to understand route

I think suburban traffic through urban neighborhoods kills those neighborhoods (and people) so I am for anything that gets commuters in and out as directly and inconspicuouosly as possible - It's not like lots of Clinic doctors living in Medina eat dinner at Lancer.

I really don't want these outsiders in the neighborhoods unless they are here to dine, shop (and not for sex and drugs), tour or visit. For the rest, uild them a freeway, and surround it with walls, charge a toll to use it, and pay disrupted people well and let everyone get on with farming and rebuilding everything else.

Disrupt IT

opportunity for contradictions - who's on first?

Norm,

Somebody besides Henry Gomez is reading your comments. In the comment above, you say "I really don't want these outsiders in the neighborhoods unless they are here to dine, shop (and not for sex and drugs), tour or visit. For the rest, build them a freeway, and surround it with walls, charge a toll to use it, and pay disrupted people well and let everyone get on with farming and rebuilding everything else."

I'm not sure I understand your motivation on this one.

The proposed opportunity corridor has been touted as an opportunity to "bring economic development to the forgotten triangle". So it would be a boulevard - treelined, slow, with plenty of street front businesses where drivers could run into a dry cleaner or cafe or restaurant, neighborhood bar, library, sort of like Tremont, but with a boulevard that resembles a Woodland Avenue with a median of plantings.

But wait, maybe they mean a highway with truck stops and truck washes and late night diners and a chicken ranch.

Oh, no maybe they mean a 3 mile toll road with a service plaza and no way to get off the road at say 79th Street. Maybe this toll road will be just as you envisioned in July with sound barricades and wide easements in case trucks flip over and roll off the tollway.

Though it's stated use is to bring economic development to the neighborhood, I can't see how a toll road would do that. Apparently they can't either, so screw the neighborhood - call it forgotten, put abandoned youth in that neighborhood (or is it an industrial zone for dropouts and the undesirables)?

Is the opportunity corridor another big picture strategic investment initiative this time brought to you by ODOT? Is it medicine we need to take? Let me know because if I have to swallow this one, I want to be able to hold my nose for a long time. After that, we can offer them some pocket change to drive along the west shoreway. Will they finance that with tolls, too?

Perhaps you were being serious or maybe sarcastic in your comment, but ODOT doesn't seem to care. They like your toll road idea and so they have now changed their green plan to a grey plan and think charging for it is just the thing. I don't suspect that a toll road would provide for the opportunity of a bike lane, but given how ill defined this thing has been so far... well, we just never know what lengths the Cleveland Clinic will go to to get what they want, do we? (Search "Medical Mart" entries here at realneo.)

If you follow the opportunity corridor's history you'll see that beginning with Herb Crowther's consultancy, this thing has flipped and flopped, but note as well that no matter it's design or configuration - the PD is desperate to have it built, just like the medcon. I wish the PD was desperate to get CCF and UH, CWRU, the Browns, Cavs and Indians to pay taxes or PILOTS instead of pushing more roads whether they're boulevards, highways or toll roads. Get a map PD editors or a transit pass. Ride the train, the grafitti's fine!