Ohio 21st c.Transportation Priorities Task Force Meeting

Submitted by Martha Eakin on Fri, 06/13/2008 - 13:33.
06/17/2008 - 16:00
06/17/2008 - 20:00

You can read about the task force here and here.  At this latter site you can get up to speed by seeing a video of part of a previous task force meeting and take part in a survey.  We need better public transportation now, so come and speak up.
From 3:30-9:00 p.m. on the 17th, service on the E-trolley will be extended to serve the meeting site.


Joseph E. Cole Center at CSU
3100 Chester Avenue.
Cleveland, OH
United States

Mass Transit

Is the bus system in NEO as screwed up as it is here in the Phoenix Metro Area? I live in a suburb of PHX (Mesa) which has its' major streets laid out in a near perfect grid and the bus authority still manages to design bus routes like this:

You need to make sure the Cleveland mass transit authorites wil design a mass transit system that most people will actually use.

best idea at last night's 21st century transport talks

Four hours of talking, numerous trips to the coffee urn, but it was worth it. Unlike the port relocation update the day before when the meeting ended 40 minutes early and Port Board Chairman Michael Wagar refused to hear Ed Hauser make one more point, ODOT's 21st Century Transportation Task Force seemed to be prepared to listen last night. It was telling to me, how many people included a variation on "listen to the people" in their two minutes of comments. At the end, the moderator even asked if there was anyone who had not signed up who had a comment and we continued to sit and listen.

A gentleman named Jerry Bohinc from Gates Mills took the mic. He began by telling the story of monumental change in the economy when the Erie Canal was built through NY to Ohio. He mentioned that once the canal was finished, the Port of Huron, Ohio suddenly became the largest distributor of grain outside Odessa in the world. That was then.

What he proposed for now is a MagLev triangulation of Cleveland Columbus and Pittsburgh. It would, he said shift the center of our US economy to our region by connecting the thought centers of the three cities with their universities, health facilities and cultural ammenities. I wished Chris Ronayne had been there because he would have been all over that idea that people could get to University Circle from Columbus and Pittsburgh in 1/2 hour.

But think about it, if you currently take 30 minutes to drive across town, with a maglev train, you could be in another city in that time. Sometimes you gotta jump to the future, sometimes you gotta just take the next incremental step. But if we are now considering (finally) high speed rail along the 3C corridor, why not consider really new technology to triangulate these three midwest shrinking cities?

Now... is this some technology that's being developed in China and that we would have to import from other thought leaders? No, it is being developed in Pittsburgh! See their site here. Bohinc said he rode the maglev in Shanghai, but would love to ride one from Cleveland to Pittsburgh one day. So while Calabrese touts the BusRapidTransit as the next best thing since sliced bread, Bohinc and now we see farther. Two governors, four senators and thirty seven representatives... could shift the center of the knowledge economy in the US. This is much much bigger than relocating the port and starting with container shipping that would serve Cuyahoga County. This is big thinking. Can we do it before Manhattan is submerged by climate change's rising waters? I don't know, but this is a big idea and merits further investigation. I'd say, CWRU, Cleveland Clinic, elected officials and port board members, sharpen your pencils and get ready for a real change.

I couldn't help but think of my favorite songwriter and his recording, The Future. Here's one hopeful song by Leonard Cohen (so many people think he is not hopeful). Democracy "Sail on, sail on, oh mighty ship of state" "The heart has got to open in a fundamental way"

I'd been longing for some big ideas and here they were - right there in the Joseph Cole Center delivered by a stranger who at a port meeting wouldn't have had a chance to speak.

Awesome idea and reporting

I agree we should jump a big step beyond what I've seen propsed for high speed rail - skip the baby steps and come up with a real solution to get our region beyond 2100 (less than 100 years). It will cost billions but offer jobs and an opportunity to be really regional - and act in anticipation of the real impacts of Global Warming between now and 2100.

And thanks for covering and capturing this, Susan. You need to get a camera!... one with video!

Disrupt IT


Susan describes the difference in tones between the transportation meeting and Monday night's Port Relocation meeting.  Although the time allotted for each speaker at the Port meeting was 3 min. and at the ODOT trans. meeting it was just 2 min., the ODOT moderator did an excellent job of making everyone feel that their comments mattered.  A few people went over the time limit but others were under and, as Susan noted, even folks whose names did not seem to be on the list or who had just suddenly felt inspired were allowed to speak.  The "multi-modal 21st c. transportation" meeting ended on time; the Port Relocation meeting ended well before the advertised end (We met several people in the parking lot who were just arriving and would have been on time if the meeting had ended as advertised.)


It has only been in the last year or so that public meetings I have attended in NEO have required you to sign up in advance if you wish to speak.  I lived for a number of years in a town that had a town meeting form of government and many, many townspeople turned out for meetings. There was a time when you could line up behind a couple of mikes if you wished to make a comment; there was a moderator, you couldn't go on and on, but everyone who wanted to, could speak. While prior sign-up might promote more smoothly presented endorsements or criticisms, it works against eliciting those spur of the moment thoughts and feelings that may better get at the core of many issues and are perhaps only developed because of the interface of people and ideas brought about by the gathering. The ODOT moderator, Jolene Molitoris, when complimented on her positive meeting management, answered that the Strickland administration really wants to hear what the people have to say. This is very unlike the experience I had on the Innerbelt Section 106 committee, where it seemed clear that ODOT was backing in to its “preferred alternative” without even following its own published procedures. They talked about consulting “stakeholders”, but if you think that means you, the tax-paying citizen, forget it.  Perhaps this time around things will be different?? And fortunately, it seems that ODOT is short on funds, so there may be an opportunity to rethink.