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jtadams

Metropolitan Tower 224'
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  1. As I see it, they don't have much control over the hand they were dealt, and it was a crappy one. However, they *can* choose how they are going to play it. Business as usual doesn't work anymore. They have to choose whether to preserve at least the core of the system (including rail and inner-city/inner-suburb service), or let it die and the entire region along with it. Honestly, that's a lot of power over the future of over a million people, and I'd feel an awful lot better about that future if I knew that those with that power were at least a little bit inclined to use it wisely.
  2. With that attitude, soon they won't have to do any work at all, because there will no longer be anything resembling a GCRTA for which to work.
  3. Not sure those offering their opinions understood this. Or that the status quo really provides the worst of both worlds; we get mediocre-at-best service as well as mediocre-at-best coverage, making the system at best minimally useful even to those who have no alternative, and, generally speaking, very unattractive to those who do. AND, hence, not likely to generate much support for the funding needed to keep even this mediocre service alive for much longer.
  4. It also becomes that much more important that the funding that was lost over the past decade or so be replaced. I won't profess to have a clue as to how. But that's why Ms. Birdsong and others at the top of GCRTA make the big bucks.
  5. Then I'm going to have to reluctantly agree with E_Rocc and say that we need for grownups to start running things, which I think means to prioritize the stuff for which there isn't an alternative, namely, good service in the city and inner suburbs where good ridership already exists. Hopefully the new GM/CEO, Ms. Birdsong, will either agree and act accordingly, or plot some other consistent course toward a future in which at least those who need useful transit the most can have it.
  6. Increased frequency on fewer lines means you can get to anyplace the system goes in a bounded amount of time. If you live in a lower-density area that just became unserved, you may have to walk/bike/drive to get to a stop. But in that case, you probably can afford to do that. You still know that once you're in the system, you can get to anyplace else in the system in a bounded (though not necessarily small) amount of time. Increased coverage with lower frequency means the system probably goes where you are, but only every hour or two, and transfers become unreliable and hence useless. This is useful for point-to-point commutes only. It made more sense when a lot of people worked downtown compared to anyplace else. Not so much anymore IMO. The increased frequency/fewer lines option kills the line I would use to get to work (without having to walk the last 1.25 miles) and I would *still* prefer it to the increased coverage/less frequency option.
  7. The only significant, non-rush-hour coverage I think we can afford outside of the city and inner suburbs would be reverse-commute trips to places like Solon. I wonder if it makes sense for municipalities that might lose out in this situation to restart their own municipal bus services, as North Olmsted, Maple Heights, Euclid, Garfield Heights, and a number of others once did. Since it was only gradually, and in some cases well after the creation of the GCRTA, that these services disappeared, I assume there are no legal impediments to running these services in coordination with GCRTA. Some of the more relatively affluent suburbs might want to fund better services for those who live and/or work in them, out of their own budgets, than what GCRTA can afford to run. Thoughts?
  8. Compared to what I can imagine goes on there, I'm sure this is a model of civility and decorum, but, nevertheless, I'd like to aspire to better than that.
  9. My point isn't to name names or to place blame. If there's anything I'm trying to say here it's really that what I consider to be the extreme far left, and what it surely considers to be extreme far-right (me), have so little in common that fruitful, non-argumentative discussion tends to be impossible. In many cases, an understanding of the vital role of public transit does happen to be one of those few points of common ground. But, clearly, not always. If I have over-reacted or mischaracterized the viewpoints of anyone here, I do want to apologize, though it still goes to evidence that once we've veered away from the topic of transit, there may not be enough common ground left for fruitful discussion.
  10. Honestly, I'd just as soon not. People whose world view is based on envy, control, lust for power, elitism, and the ingrained belief that they know better than anyone else, rather than the rule of law and the inalienable rights of all people, rarely respond positively to discussion. They just get angry, and frankly they make me more than a bit angry as well. Possibly because they remind me of a much (decades) earlier version of myself. Either they will mature into a world view compatible with reality, or they won't, and I've never known myself to have made the least bit of difference in that regard, in either direction. There are plenty of folks here *far* to the left of me who still manage to retain some grip on basic decency, morality, and common sense. Arguably, at times, better than my own. But a few of the recent participants in this conversation have not, and as far as I'm concerned, they can have this discussion with someone else. I'm here to talk about how to make things better. Not to hate on and punish those who are successful and whose success could, if only it were allowed to, help empower others to succeed as well. (The evil of which even the furthest-left of liberals used to acknowledge, and, I am sincerely hoping, some still do.
  11. You don't have to like economic reality in order to acknowledge it and to try to find realistic solutions that make things better. If you try to force employers to pay more than employee's work is worth, TO THEM, you will chase away the vast majority of those who might otherwise employ lower-skilled workers.
  12. That is an economically valid observation. But it runs smack into a political minefield, for a reason that makes even me feel excessively cynical and negative. We have one political party that sells itself to the disadvantaged by dangling handouts in front of them, and another which sells itself to lower-middle-class white people by trying to make them scared of eeevil brown and black people. Prosperity for the poor and minority community therefore upsets the balance of political power. Both parties profit from poverty and despair. It's a fact, I blame both sides, and I don't pretend to have a great solution.
  13. The rigid race-based segregation of a couple generations ago has largely disappeared, at least in terms of housing and job markets. But barriers to upward mobility in general, and things that can cause rapid downward mobility (healthcare expenses, drug abuse and drug-related crimes, divorce/abandonment, etc.), have significantly worsened during that time. While I don't like to use the term "privilege," as it is inherently prejudicial and divisive, it is simply a reality that we do not all start at the same place in life. But, rather than to place barriers in the path to success for anyone, I would rather understand and eliminate as many of those barriers as possible, especially but not necessarily exclusively those that disproportionately impact poor and minority people. Lousy transit happens to be one of those barriers. The inner city where poor and minority people disproportionately lived in the past have what look on paper like decent transit options. But consider that to use them, one must walk through dangerous neighborhoods, then wait at a stop in a dangerous neighborhood for an unpredictable and potentially long period of time. Then, probably transfer in another dangerous neighborhood; lather, rinse, repeat. Possibly miss a connection that only happens every hour or worse; possibly lose job as a result. Furthermore, many poor and minority people have now migrated to the suburbs and beyond, where the safety issue is typically less of an issue, but low population density makes efficient transit much harder to provide. Either way they suffer limited access to jobs, fresh food, healthcare, social services, and the like. Keeping the de facto, largely race-based caste system intact, potentially for generations to come. Transit is really key to helping to break this cycle. IMO, to have a healthy city with decent opportunities for all, you need at least three things that are non-negotiable. (a) Safe streets. (b) Safe and effective schools. (c) Good transit options, that go where people live as well as where they work, learn, shop, heal, play, and worship.
  14. I've long pondered, as I'm sure have others here, what a truly forward-thinking transit system would look like. One designed for a hopefully more prosperous future rather than our dismal post-industrial past. And one based on there being at least a little bit more of a level playing field with respect to roads and cars than what we have now. I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility. I don't know that transit alone is enough to bring economic growth back to the region. But it is certainly a crucial component. As you've touched on, a little bit more openness to free enterprise and the economic growth that would result could help to bring a level of healthy re-urbanization back to the region and specifically to Cleveland proper. It's no secret for instance that the second Amazon HQ was never going to go to any city without at least a reasonable level of transit service. (Nor one in which it was explicitly made to feel unwelcome, for whatever reason.) Many medium- to largish companies likewise recognize the absolutely vital nature of transit to a healthy city and a healthy region. Especially in the tech space. Millenials have shown great willingness to re-colonize formerly troubled and even largely abandoned urban neighborhoods that are or at least potentially could be well-served by transit. The trick would be to find a way to keep them as they grow older, have families, and seek the best possible schools and safest possible communities for their offspring. That means that not only economic opportunity, but also safe communities, with safe and high quality schools, are must. They could be persuaded to live without acres and acres of lawns that have to be mowed, driveways that have to be plowed, etc., as evidenced by basically every single city in the world outside of the U.S. and Canada. But they are not going to compromise, nor should they, on their kids having a safe and healthy life with a promising future. So I believe all these things need to be considered. The problem of restoring healthy transit to our region is intertwined with that of how to build more dense, walkable and urban neighborhoods, but that are safe, have good to excellent schools, and so forth. In the city and inner suburbs at the very least. (It can be done elsewhere as well, but that's a bigger challenge and one with diminishing returns.) We might need to learn from our own past, as well as our peers elsewhere in the world, for ideas on how to make it work.
  15. Also it's been brought to my attention that these kinds of park & ride commuter services are very expensive, not coming near breaking even in terms of farebox recovery to cost ratio. The benefits they bring relative to that cost, and the fact that they transfer wealth from the less prosperous to the more, should be examined. Commuter-oriented services tend to cost MUCH more in other parts of the country, and perhaps the answer to both problems is to simply raise the price to what the market will truly bear.
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