Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 03/14/2007 - 22:10.


Here is the other end of sprawl – the huge 5,000 car parking structure that the Cleveland Clinic is building next to the Playhouse on Carnegie.  EcoCity’s David Beach  is concerned with all those new houses going into the outlying old agricultural areas,  Mr. Gore is concerned with the burning auto fuels adding invisible sewerage to our atmosphere, and the Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Authority is working hard on TOD (transit oriented design)..


Meanwhile thought the poor-man’s-land half (disadvantaged triangle freeway) of the old Clark Freeway is rising from its grave under intense lobbying from UCI and CC.  Every day thousands more  single occupant autos will drive to work at the Clinic, and at night drive home to sprawl.  Continuing all the poor planning which has put the globe and NEO where it is.  Thanks Clinic…while you tout improvement of our health in daily PLAIN DEALER ads, the proof is in the pudding, and the garage will lead to detriment to our well-being …I’d say it’s talking out of both sides of your mouth. .

Cleveland Clinic parking excavation.GIF199.78 KB
( categories: )

On parking, traffic and sprawl

RIght now, the Clinic has employees parking in East Cleveland, all around their campus, and at the Cleveland city lot by the lakefront, and then they shuttle the employees to the Clinic - they need more on-site parking no matter what so building a garage makes sense. It would be nice if it was a good design, with street level retail and housing on top, but I can't think of any buildings on the Clinic campus that are good designs so I don't expect this will be either. The Clinic campus is inner-urban sprawl... they need a new planner. Case and UH have been, historically, inner-urban sprawl as well. In the case of Case, that seems about to change with the Triangle/Beach redevelopment and other community engagements. Still missing from all of this is a plan for the region - too bad the Fund For Our Economic Future didn't invest in that, instead of V&C. As the community now takes charge of driving planning for NEO, there is hope we can shift control from the sprawl planners and mongers who have designed the current mess - keep on raising these issues Jeff and others here.

Disrupt IT

What the Clinic needs to do is integrate with the core

The only way the Clinic can solve its own problems and the problems it is causing this region is to become part of its neighborhood - rebuild its neighborhood - help develop street level housing, retail and commercial life around - throughout - the campus that attracts the 1,000s of employees and other stakeholders to live around there and walk those now largely abandoned streets. This does not mean a campus with a moat or one high rise luxury condo tower but lots of affordable mixed-use developments targeted to nurses, janitors, repairpeople, etc. Rehab - infill - community gardens - the same things lots of people are planning around Case, UH and the overall University Circle core. Despite the "regionalism" movement, there is no reason all the people who work at the core should live in Avon Lake. It will take 100,000 new residents of these neighborhoods and others of Cleveland to rebuild what was once a great city and the core of a great region. Run ODOT out of town - get RTA to a higher level - and focus regional planning on the core.

Disrupt IT




I am in wholehearted agreement with your second comment regarding the Clinic’s new parking structure and the Clinic’s long avoided need to integrate their development into a community fabric.  I want to take a bit more time now to explain more fully the photo and comments I blogged yesterday. 


First of all, there aren’t enough hours in the day to give anyone’s blog full concentration and completely flesh out the posts on any one topic.   My attitude is, don’t wait until the material is – by a writer’s standards -  perfectly refined and presented, just blog with a passion and refine it later as necessary.  At least that gets the post up and the conversation continuing.  If I waited (with a blog post) until I thought it was completely researched, written in the best form, included all the appropriate background, included pertinent hyperlinks, was supported by photography, and there wasn’t anything more I could add before I committed the post – I would complete about one post a month. 


I believe blogging requires a mix of spontaneity and extemporaneousness coupled with prior thought  on the subject – but if you are blogging about “news” then you need to get it out there before the news climate changes or becomes stale.  Much about blogging doesn’t allow the luxury of long contemplation.  And I find that just putting the blog  out there makes your mind spin and come up with new, more refined arguments and outlooks. 


As Tiger Woods knows, you can’t play golf inside. 


Back to the Clinic and how the physical plant the Clinic builds might improve its community – rather than degrade the community:


When I attended the RTA’s transit oriented design seminar at Maxine Levin College CSU last month,  one of the rules of thumb was that parking structures cost apx. $55,000 per car space.  So, Mr. Tumlin told the audience, in the SF  Bay Area the transit authority (in order to maximize transit income and rider ship) found it more economical to subsidize high density residential housing near  transit stops than to build parking spaces.


Lets look at the Cleveland Clinic parking garage under construction;   If we multiply 5,000 parking spaces times $55,000 per space we get $275,000,000.00.   That’s right, two hundred and seventy five million dollars.  This figure could, of course be off a bit, but the order of magnitude is right. 




How many houses could the Cleveland Clinic build (close enough to walk/bike or bus/shuttle/train to work at the Clinic) with $275 million?  Let’s say that they could build a modest house for $100,000.   That means they could build 2,750 houses and PROVIDE THEM FREE TO  workers and alleviate more than half of the employee transit 5k car parking need.  [lots of innovative ownership or rental models could be explored – allowing employees and the Clinic different options]  When you give away a house, there would be no need for the tenant to have a tax abatement, so the tenant would be required to pay reasonable taxes to get the free rent.  This would be tax revenue generated immediately to benefit the City and the County.   (to put 5,000 units of housing in perspective - since the tax abatement has been in place in Cleveland for over a decade, only 8,600 units have been built)


If a combination of City of Cleveland and County put up additional money to build more two family houses (to eliminate the need for all 5,000 parking spaces) and GAVE THEM AWAY with the condition that the home would pay taxes and that one unit would be priority housing for Clinic employees, we could rebuild the entire Clinic neighborhood.   There would be spin off small stores and businesses – paying taxes.  Trickle, trickle down… There would be people walking to work.   And the Clinic would not have an ugly parking structure requiring upkeep and security.  Instead they could clear the snow off of the sidewalks and bikelanes - making a car-less commute pleasant -  and provide bicycle cops - like Cambridge, Massachusetts does.



It is too late to stop this garage, but not too late to stop the next one here in Cleveland or anywhere else.   We can’t continue to allow our automotive hypnosis to  rule every move we make.  The polar bears and the Inuit don’t deserve the heat we are generating….Just as we look back on lead paint and see society and business screwed up by not stopping lead use, we are already able to see that our inordinate auto dependency is a global environmental health screw up.  How will we change our behavior?



Add to that New Urban qualities

Picture 3,000 new affordable housing units and renovated housing units in that area (not the suburban-inspired models that have been build around there so far) and add in a movie theater, grocery store, other retail, incubators for med-tech and other start-ups, new offices and small manufacturers - the Clinic is significant enough an economic engine to drive development of a new city within thie city... only thing missing is a big picture vision for their core neighborhood. That lack of vision for a big urban picture cannot be blamed on the Clinic leadership - they are busy figuring out how to be the dominant healthcare provider in the world - The Clinic leadership is focused on how to get patients and employees in and out of the hospital as fast as possible, so other planners need to step up with vision like you express above - that is what the next $3 million from FFOEF should go toward, and not to pay for the same poor planning from the usual suspects (like was highlighted by Roldo in his posting about abatements that you mentioned on realneo a few days ago). If presented with a good plan, that enhanced the experiences of patients and their families and visitors, while improving the quality of life of employees, and made for a better community around all that, I'm sure they would love it.

Disrupt IT





The Cleveland Clinic’s development goals are a text book example of corporate hypocrisy.   On the one hand the Clinic lobbies to resurrect  the poor-man’s-half of the old Clark Freeway –  not the half in the Heights but the half between the Clinic and the terminus of 490 at E55th.  Consider that  UCI and CC  have concocted dishonest spin captions - “Opportunity Corridor”, and “Opportunity Boulevard” - for their desired freeway and they arrogantly dismiss the community  their hoped for freeway will sever and blight  as “The Forgotten Triangle”.   


Meanwhile, on the other hand, The Cleveland Clinic has paid it’s consultant architect Peter Walker to test float to the public last summer a plan to PRIVATIZE AND SHUT EUCLID AVENUE to car traffic between  E 84th and E 107th .  Here’s a blurry copy of the plan from the PD which I screen grabbed from The Design Rag website.  (N.B. It appears the Rag’s link to the PD graphic and article is dead.  I have found that many news web sites go dead in a week or two as the news item is transitioned into the paper’s pay-to-view archive – if you really want to have the link material permanently, a download or screen grab is best.   Fortunately, the Rag grabbed and posted a copy of the plan – so it is still publicly available.  Thanks Rag.)  HoweverI disagree with the conclusion in The Design Rag that: 

"An urban campus (of Cleveland Clinic) is not the cause of further accelerating the blight of its neighbors, instead, the failure to cooperate and create timely urban development policy to support and capitalize on big, once-in-a-generation investments by these new Cleveland industrialists is keeping the small resurgeances of these neighborhoods from turning into a dramatic rebirth."

  It seems the Clinic has backed off of the closure of Euclid – now the Clinic is proposing narrowing the roadway with the new Silver Line RTA buses down the middle.


It isn't that funny though, that the Clinic wants to close or narrow 23 blocks of public roadway, make traffic inconveniently divert around the Clinic, create a private green space from public land so the Clinic doesn’t have  traffic outside their front door, BUT AT THE SAME TIME the Clinic is telling the Disadvantaged Triangle Community that MORE traffic through their neighborhoods will create an “OPPORTUNITY”.   Yeah, an opportunity for more global warming toxic fumes, noise, visual blight and neighborhood sterilization.



Shift traffic through poor - add Starbucks at core

You are right on all counts, but I think the Rag conclusion is right: "the failure to cooperate and create timely urban development policy to support and capitalize on big, once-in-a-generation investments by these new Cleveland industrialists is keeping the small resurgences of these neighborhoods from turning into a dramatic rebirth". Our planning here has been pathetic. I'll take the challenge further down Euclid into East Cleveland, where the changing traffic flows are already moving more cars THROUGH the city, but off Euclid into the neighborhoods, making side streets freeways for suburbanites trying to get home ASAP. I understand Mayor Brewer is seeking help with traffic analysis to determine how to keep this "opportunity" corridor and Silver Line from killing his city, already so blighted from afar. I can tell you the "urban planners" of the region do not care about East Cleveland, so I know they don't care about Central. But, good planning can change that. Good planning can be found through Kent CUDC, which is what we are using in East Cleveland. This will be a long road in Cleveland - I'm still fighting the ODOT Bridge to anywhere but Cleveland, and I am still waiting for any planners here to stand up to "create timely urban development policy" around that (and they will be very embarrassed for that very soon).

In the mean time, let's put a green of highly fertilized bent-grass in the center of the Clinic Campus so the docs and all can sip Starbucks in nature... perhaps a putting green, so it feels like home? Couldn't they fit a 9 hole golf course, like was planned for Burke?

Jeff, how many trees do you think there are on the entire Cleveland Clinic property, today? What do you think is the carbon footprint of the Clinic. How much do they profit from the harm the pollution causes humans? Perhaps there is a very sophisticated plan to all this afterall.

Disrupt IT

great ideas, Jeff

I like your suggestion.  As someone who grew up close to the Clinic (I spent most of my youth in the Fairfax area and I am a graduate of John Hay High, right down the street...hell, my first part time job was a summer job at the Clinic), it is disappointing to see their growth that manages to not bring the neighborhoods surrounding it up with it.  This needs to change and your suggestion champions this. 

But, please, don't use the term trickle down. One, what you are talking about is more of a healthy circulation of money than trickle down and two, I am a child of the 80' gives me nightmares (think: Reaganomics).

Thank you for bringin this to light, Jeff!

Derek Arnold -


What's the point of the millions of dollars invested in the Euclid Corridor?

ditto on TOD at Clinic

It is unfortunately not unusual that institutions with big plans and private dollars don't consider the "little guys". They may think of the transit this way...

This is an ad for GM Canada. It was later pulled due to its insulting message. Unfortunately for those who escape to the safe cocoon of their cars as easily as they pull on the pjs, the thought of riding transit is just unsettling. As Ryan McKenzie said to me one evening not too long ago, the car has become a personal accessory. Our culture and our geoography insist on it as a must have. For so many people today, not having a car payment and the accompanying insurance and maintenance costs would make saving for education and healthcare possible.


In some cities, transit is so big that an institution doesn't even need to think about transit accessibility, but in Cleveland, RTA may simply not occur even as an afterthought for those who drive expensive cars from their luxury homes in the exurbs. Here though, where the RTA's cool new project passes right through the heart of their campus, it is a really big oversight for someone there to not be thinking about TOD. Carsharing, too, would make sense for the Clinic, but they don't seem to get that yet. (I wonder if or how many car rentals are arranged for visiting docs?)


Jeff's idea of homes instead of parking lots is a good one, but it might meet with resistance like the city workers forced to live in Cleveland issue. However, I think it would be an interesting idea to suggest that Fairfax, Hough and maybe even Central with the Clinic consider this sort of housing situation. It could be a part of a long-term employment contract – housing as part of your payment package. This would be less like forcing and more like an option for another method of compensation, right?


New energy efficient homes could be built as infill in the surrounding neighborhoods for workers of all echelons of the organization, from the admisitrative support staff to shipping and receiving to physicians. Schools are the issue for certain of these populations -- people who don't trust the CMSD yet, but if the neighborhoods were reviving, empty nester docs might agree that a high end or even low end cool new house near work and transit makes sense. And the folks who can afford it could buy them; renovate old ones, build new ones – whatever.


If someone with large sums of cash wanted to build in a farm field, they could easily on a doctor’s salary afford to hire a world renowned architect to create a very cool place and buy enough land to surround it with an orchard or a forest in the Forgotten Triangle. Just please; let us not wind up with gated communities.


Residents would have easy access to the cultural amenities of UCI and they could skip the commute from Bratenahl, Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights. This is one reason that the very well to do move into Judson Manor after all. It is a stunning place to live with more amenities than you could want and most of them are the museums and the orchestra -- institutions they have long supported.

Cleveland+ clinic+ shuttle+ schedule vs. TOD

Since your posting has attracted lots of traffic, I checked out the tracker and saw an interesting connection - one recent visitor did a google search for "Cleveland+clinic+shuttle+schedule" and came to your write-up as the third option, after some out of date Cleveland Clinic PDF file and some other clinic/tourist site.

Who has the attention of those interested in issues in NEO? Jeff Buster. Who is a journalist? Jeff Buster.

Disrupt IT

"Opportunity Corridor"

I so want to believe that our "planners" want to make  Cleveland better, and yet they continue to be "lead" by these "visionaries"
I wonder if Dave Perkowski knows that the proposed highway plows through the St. Hyacinth neighborhood, where he has made a significant investment?  UCI calls it the "Opportunity Corridor." Nice.  Remember--we can not define ourselves as successful, until we spend as much time as possible in our oversized cars and live as far away from the city as possible!

The big picture?


We are at our best when we edit ourselves!  


I suggested to the city to encourage the clinic to consolidate its parking.  I suggested they consolidate their footprint.    The land around the Clinic is developing and the CCF will no longer be able to grow out.  The elimination of flat lots will open outlying flat lots for development, residential development, which will house hopefully individuals that work in the Circle or Downtown.  


Want green?  Suggest the roof of the garage be solar panels, and also catch the rainwater.  Also the elimination of flat lots will reduce run off and inherent overflows to the sewers. 

I see the garage as good and catalysis to the area developing more efficiently.  The underlying cause of the sprawl is the cause of the decline of the desirability of the surrounding neighborhoods.  The surrounding area is poorly maintained and has very low standards it is a lot to ask for people to give up the safety and higher standards of the suburbs for a front row seat to crime and poverty. 

Office park development around the clinic

I don't see the midtown area around the Clinic developing back into a residential area at all - that is one aspect of the city that is shrinking and should. I see the Clinic as the heart of a business park and I think we should empty out and clear as many acres around it as possible - put lots of Public Transportation and bike paths around and through it - surround it with parks and green space - forests and farms - some big box and upscale chain food - no residential, but what suburbanites want. Then redevelop the other residential areas all over the other of Cleveland's 77 acres that still have intact urban fabric. Have very direct public transportation links between them all.

Disrupt IT

what about Fairfax, Hough and Glenville?

These are beautiful neighborhoods. I can't wait to see what can happen there when all the old lead spewing wooden condemned and abandoned properties are removed and replaced with gardens and parks and yes, perhaps green homes like this one or this one or these award winners infilling in between all the beautiful brick and stone early 20th century homes still standing that need TLC (and insulation!). Imagine the school renovated to be green built and energy efficient! Wow!

I like the idea of bike paths and urban gardens and parks and also allocating some of the land to university research (that would be the brownfield land). I do think that Woodland Avenue is the opportunity corridor -- you just gotta give those folks from UCI a map. This is a lovely boulevard that could revive with some safe neighborhoods flanking it. What better ideas do we have to improve these areas than building highways and parking lots in them? We send the CUDC and Kent students to reconsider Youngstown as a shrinking city. What about having them take a look at the neighborhoods around CCF and UCI.

Norm, I know you (I should say you and Joe Stanley) have got UCI covered from the eastern aspect, but the folks in Hough and Fairfax need advocates, too. They have suffered enough with the CCF expansion over the years. While we protect East Cleveland from the claws of UCI and Case, let's think about the working class neighborhoods that flank CCF, too.

A city of villages

I see Cleveland becoming a Forest City of 77 square miles of small villages, each with neighborhood character and assets that retain neighbors. Map out the walkable villages and improve the density and fabric of each - link them together with rail, bus and trail. Where too much urban fabric is gone - there is nothing worth walking to - make farmland with the occasional farmhouse being what historic buildings are worth preserving - these are for the urban farmers. The city folk will have many choices of villages to live in. The suburbanites can move into gated communities between villages - like Shoreby Club, and Wolstein's East Bank Flats. Downtown and the University Circle neighborhoods will dramatically increase residential density, adding to livability and appeal. Can all of Cleveland return to the density of the past? No. Should it? No. Can parts regain sufficient density to be desirable neighborhoods? Absolutely. I see all that working together, and overall population of "Cleveland" rising, even as many square miles are returned to nature. Of course, only if we develop good schools for the villages, and I don't believe the school system is yet thinking along such geographic and demographic lines.

Disrupt IT

idyllic village vision


I, too, see the village concept. I hope the planners see this vision. Dense communities surrounded by green space. Gated communities? Yes, for those who want and need them -- they have become part and parcel of the new urbanist idea. Schools you can walk or bike to, green connectors to knit together the fragments. And don't forget that these communities need to be awake more than 8 hours each day. We have ruled out the corner bar and the big box and clustered shopping have displaced the bodega; we have forgotten how important it is to have eyes and feet on the street more hours in the day.

Infill is more difficult for big developers, but for organizations like Habitat for Humanity it is the norm. When some of the old brick 4 and 6 suite apartment buildings are rehabilitated and renovated, we can really begin to see a nice mix of old and new.

When I first came to Cleveland I met a woman who grew up in a Croatian enclave in the Hough neighborhood. She told me that people kept livestock in the neighborhood. What a cool thing. Chickens and gardens and goats nearby...

Cleveland has been a mix of incomes, races, ethnicities and income levels -- it can be that again -- this time with some breathing room -- a green lacey interconnection to the emerald necklace -- a place for the wild things -- corridors for the animals to travel away from the highways.

A forest city indeed -- on the eve of arbor day, I still wish Sam Miller would throw down some cash to plant trees and zone as gardens some of the land we are clearing now...
I'll keep dreaming it. This greenspace plan is almost 7 years old and can grow now. I'm sure Paul Alsenas still dreams this vision -- that is in between his nightmares about ODOT, the port as a moving target and Steelyard Commons...

Cock-a-doodle-doo, Ohio City

I don't know about all parts of Cleveland, but each morning here in Ohio City I hear a rooster - did when I lived in Detroit Shoreway as well. They are probably for cock-fighting, unfortunately, but Evelyn was reflecting the other day on how cool it would be to include with community gardens community chicken coops (well, free range fields, I suppose) where we could let animals live well, and provide education about nature, and get some really fresh eggs - and bring a different type of life to the city - anyone know if this is happening in other greening cities? How far can we go with local foods at the urban core?

Disrupt IT

chickens in Seattle

Well, let's see... besides the chickens kept largely underwraps at the Kious's house in Cleveland Heights... shhhh...
Madison, WI
and ohmigod! Here's a BIG LIST from the City Chicken!

what say we add some clucking to the noise level around here!?!

Visit Botanical Garden's Dunham Tavern plot

Botanical Garden tried chickens for a while.  I am not sure how it will go this year.  Dunham Tavern is a great bicycle destination.  If you go on a Saturday, you can pick up lunch at Galluci's (across the street) and enjoy the gardens--there is no charge to wander, but it is nice to contribute the the historic preservation cause, if you can. (Finally, got this link thing down thanks to a teen library patron)

Galluci's is way cool

Very good suggestion. Galluci's is one of the really interesting food places in town... Cleveland+ for sure! I am going to take this suggestion... and visit Dunham Tavern (never been there).

Disrupt IT