the real opportunity corridor

Submitted by Susan Miller on Mon, 12/01/2008 - 14:20.

"Currently, Cleveland's airport line attracts only about 300 riders a day, but airport and RTA officials are working on a joint marketing program to promote the rapid, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this month.

"When you look at transit service, you want reasonable fares and for it to be reliable," said airport Director Ricky Smith. "I think they have a great service."

Joe Calabrese, general manager of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, said the airport line remains a great asset. "But it could be better utilized," he said."

Here you have it - "The transit system extended its Red Line rapid four miles to the airport in November 1968, becoming the nation's first city with a rail link connecting downtown to its airport. Hopkins remains one of a few airports in the country with an indoor rapid station.

In planning the line, officials envisioned packed trains because it could get people downtown faster than by car. But Interstate 71 in Cuyahoga County was completed in August 1968, just ahead of the airport line. The interstate allowed motorists to make the trip at about the same speed."

Wow! What a good example of bad urban planning. Even today, these RTA follks need to speak with ODOT. Exactly the same thing is being proposed with the moniker "the opportunity corridor".  Now in my humble opinion that idea is a great waste of taxpayer money.

I have said before that we need to get the guys at University Circle and Cleveland Clinic a map so that they could learn how to easily get to Cleveland's east side via Woodland Avenue or Quincy or some such beautiful east west avenue route. But the PD continues to hawk the opportunity corridor. Now I propose AGAIN the other no brainer for these geography challenged travelers - the rapid! Duh! Leave your car and forget paying to park.

Now University Circle will soon have two new fabulous rapid stops. More recent new of Cedar Glen Rapid stop was just in the news. I can connect the dots, can you? More importantly, can our leaders? OK let's add another issue - we have aging water, sewer infrastructure, struggling schools and safety services; we have a collapsing innerbelt bridge, we have a soon to be moribund lakefront airport and we have a budget crunch. Is the vision beginning to come together for us now?

I heard in a conversation over the holiday from some folks who lived here before the interstate cut cleveland in half. They said they recalled real rush hours. The city had a larger population, more folks worked downtown and they said that the green, blue and red line trains were crowded at rush hours - SRO. I suggest we return to that transport model. For the hospital workers who are concerned that they may need to travel away from the hospitals mid workday - lobby your employers to invest in CityWheels, so you'll have a company car to use. UH and CCF can save money and improve air quality. This is the triple bottom line. We're going to have to conserve; let's start now. We have the infrastructure to do so. Let's use it and stop dreaming of opportunity corridors - (NEO does not need more pavement). The opportunity already exists. CCF shuttles ad Circlelink can pull right up to the Cedar Glen rapid stop and E120th rapid stop at regular intervals - in nice weather workers can improve their personal health by walking from the stop to work. Now we're gonna have to work on the bus connectors, but to drive business to the rapid, we've gotta park the Mustang and ride, Sally, ride. Ford's goin' outta business after all.


Litt's comments

  "The infrastructure improvements, coming in the midst of a stunning and
rapid downturn in the economy, are signs of hope at a dark time.
They're also a reminder that when it comes to planning important civic
investments, Cleveland has the smarts to do things right."

Yes--it gives me some hope, but Litt's last line has to be meant facetiously..."the smarts" to do things right? (My brain is screaming)...


finally admitting - it'll be I-490 to University Circle

Why improve the rapid transit when you can build an interstate highway through another Cleveland neighborhood? Why use existing rail when you can use more polluting fuels to drive trucks?

I have heard this quote from more people than I can recall: "the racial divide in Cleveland is visible from outer space." Now we shall further illuminate that divide by what? another highway? Brown people on the train and light people in cars? We need to improve air quality and move more freight by water - that's why we want ships to bring containerized goods to and from Cleveland via water (yes and they load that cargo to and from trucks which will drive that cargo through Cleveland to and from points east, west and south - lots of truck traffic for Cleveland's innerbelt). But apparently the idea here is to provide for big manufacturing or warehousing businesses that needs highway access - which ones are those? Do we have manufacturers or warehousers lined up just waiting for a chance to move to this neighborhood - chomping at the bit for the opportunity corridor. Coming to a neighborhood near you - a big block-long blank wall. How exciting and how safe! But wait, it comes replete with gasoline fumes. Now are you excited?

I have been wondering about this opportunity corridor for years (the report I linked was done in 2003). Would it be a lovely tree-lined boulevard with a median and crosswalks - average speed 25-35mph? Or would it be a truck stop (drug stop?) sort of highway with average speeds of 65mph? Hard to tell from the documentation. So just what is the opportunity corridor?

Now this: "Jackson flatly rejected closing the bridge when ODOT inquired about it in November. He said there were too many unanswered questions over closing it. However, he said, he might reconsider if saving money on the project freed up funds for other projects in the city, including the Opportunity Corridor extending Interstate 490 from East 55th Street to University Circle and reconstructing the West Shoreway."

Yes indeed - extending 490 to University Circle. In case you haven't been on it in a while, 490 is NOT a boulevard - it's a highway. And let me share what Ed Hauser called the West Shoreway project. He referred to it as the "curb cuts for developers" project.

So far they refer to this proposed road as a boulevard and a corridor, but now the reality has slipped out - I-490 all the way to University Circle.

Oh, boy!

From ODOT's Environmental Justice link: APATHY AND DISTRUST

Apathy and distrust are major hurdles that must be overcome in meetings with low income and minority populations. Often the sentiment among these groups is that transportation officiate do not really want to hear what they have to say and are often perceived as outsiders who nave made pre-determined decisions. The perception may be that ODOT and/or other transportation officials conduct meetings to describe a problem the state or local agency has identified, rather than a problem the community itself has identified. It is often difficult to generate enthusiasm or support for a program or project that attempts to solve a problem or address an issue for which the local community feels no ownership.

In many cases, past highway building efforts and transportation decisions have resulted in negative effects on low income and minority neighborhoods. Often, the time frames transportation officials talk about is so distant that target populations are "turned off”. These issues should be considered during the development of the meeting notices, content and format.

Much of the document seems to be a manual for selling the projects to the neighbors...

"(don't) breathe deeply"

That's the subject line of an email sent to me this morning. 

Here are the email's contents:

"gives a new meaning to 'safe at home' and the 'opportunity corridor' - creating and delivering customers to CCF and UH"

Air Pollution From Freeway Extends One And A Half Miles Away

So much for those who "wouldn't live in Cleveland Heights or Shaker Heights" because "it's too far from a freeway"...

When meeting with residents is step #4 out of 5...

then yes:

Often the sentiment among these groups is that transportation officiate do not really want to hear what they have to say and are often perceived as outsiders who nave made pre-determined decisions. 

Why would anyone think otherwise? 

There needs to be a

There needs to be a mechanism that links all levels of government. I suggest regional reform as that mechanism.

Transportation addressed in modules as districts.

Each district should look at it transportation collectively. That’s about combining all funding into one budget and also conversely defining the revenue stream within that district.

The most efficient areas are walking zones, then high density clusters on electric rail.

Using a district model based on the historical townships is best. People need to come to terms with the stratifications that exist within society.

The opportunity corridor is oddly in proximity to a existing water shed culvert and also a system of electric rail.

The problem is that the junctions and stations are not well placed. The blue/green line needs to double back on the red line tracks. Then at East 105th it need to be have an extension that lead into the clinic campus. At Quincy the rail could be brought up centerline on a widened East 105th.

Using districts as planning models, then you have East Cleveland and Newburg sharing a border at Cedar.

The rail within Newburg is just passing through…there are not development clusters, there should be.

Lots of low cost housing clustered on the rail.

They corridor should be aligning Shaker Blvd and the rail through to 55th street. Then having a connection to the red line east of 55th and looping back to the Clinic campus. The boulevard should be four lanes two on ether side of existing rail.

Cluster industry around 55th, with a focus on medical supplies, that being set up incentive zones for manufacturing medical supplies. The clinic, UH and Metro can leverage that with aggregate purchasing contracts.

It is about addressing everything at once, defining an alternative regional government prototype. Then aligning every funding method on it. Building efficient modest housing in clusters on rail, integrating public services like schools and day care within it. Defining the water shed and reclaiming and naturalizing. Building a market place incorporated into it.

Getting or defining districts could be used to encourage inter district cooperation. Larger areas that combine resources within and then the region can generate bond to address project with a district.

There is nothing glorious about a highway. The object is to get people out of the cars, to create affordable desirable areas were the car become unnecessary on the daily bases.

Every district could have its own master plan and the greater region can support them collectively and measure successes and failures objectively.