Jump to content
Guest KJP

Cleveland: Opportunity Corridor Boulevard

Recommended Posts

There's been a lively discussion about the proposed boulevard on the ClevelandLive forum. But I thought I'd share with you what's being talked about. Review this document from ODOT, and then think about what's wrong with it....

 

http://www.innerbelt.org/NEWFILES/newpdf0502/University%20Circle%20Access%20Boulevard%205-9-02.pdf

 

ODOT talks about the University Circle Access Boulevard (UCAB) linking Interstates 90, 71 and 77 with University Circle. And that's where they immediately start off on the wrong foot. Where is the traffic coming from? Identify the sources of the car trips, and it will become clear the UCAB is a regional issue, not just a University Circle issue.

 

What alternatives analysis was done? Unfortunately, none -- at least for the UCAB. Such an objective analysis, under federal regulations, is supposed to include transit alternatives as well as a consideration of land use changes. To my knowledge, the only alternatives associated with the UCAB were two different alignments the road could take to reach UC (via the Norfolk Southern/Red Line railroad corridor or via the Blue-Green Lines/CSX railroad corridor).

 

Either way, UCAB would be 4-6 lanes wide (with planners leaning to the six-lane version, or three in each direction) and travel from East 55th Street to MLK Boulevard at the foot of Cedar Hill. Projected cost of the 2.5-mile boulevard is estimated at about $100 million. If an alignment next to the Norfolk Southern railroad is desired, as it appears based on the data alone, it would likely require the relocation of RTA's Central Rail Facility and its rail yard at East 55th to an unspecified location.

 

Traffic count estimates and preliminary site maps show the UCAB would dump tens of thousands of additional cars per day into a new intersection at the convergence of the following roads in University Circle -- Carnegie, Cedar, Stearns and the Fairhill/MLK Boulevard combination. Innerbelt project consultants Burgess and Niple are predicting that the UCAB could handle up to 1,800 vehicles heading west and 1,600 heading east per hour during the rush hours.

 

UCAB's proponents argue that the road would create redevelopment where the Red Line has not. Why hasn't there been redevelopment? Quite simply, there are 43 EPA Superfund (extremely contaminated) sites along this short segment of rail corridor, where factories once stood, or still do, but sit abandoned or underutilized. Conservative estimates show that 20-30 apartments and 20 active business operations between E. 75th and E. 79th streets will have to be demolished in order to build the boulevard.

 

The lack of state and federal funding to clean up these sites is hampering the area's redevelopment. Construction of the UCAB would obliterate some of these sites and effectively clean them up in part by removing them, and the rest by providing a funding share from the boulevard project to leverage additional dollars for cleanup. In other words, without the six-lane boulevard project and its associated earthmoving, we lack the funds in this state to remedy some very environmentally troubled properties.

 

There is a sad commentary in this, that Ohio fails to provide the funds to urban areas to allow for their redevelopment unless a road project is involved. In this case, that road is next to a competing rail transit line. The addition of parallel transportation capacity will disperse ridership from the Red Line, for which Greater Clevelanders already have made a substantial investment. Together with the Euclid Corridor Project, such a dispersal could result in a call for the Red Line's eventual abandonment on the East Side, just when the Red Line is starting to regain lost ridership.

 

Consider instead what Portland, Oregon did, which was to change land use rather than expand the capacity of the roadway network. In the late 1990s, Oregon officials wanted to build a new freeway, but advocates redirected the process to develop land around a new rail transit service. Using Portland's model here, ODOT could establish a link deposit program or a revolving loan with that $100 million or similar funding for the UCAB and target it instead for residential development downtown and at Red Line stations on the East and West sides, while still providing a matching funds for environmental cleanup.

 

Additionally, to improve Red Line access to UC destinations, consider relocating the Red Line, between Stokes Boulevard and East 120th Street. RTA is considering replacing its rail fleet in the coming years, possibly with an all-light rail fleet. If they do, run the Red Line as a light-rail line on a mix of private right of way and down Euclid Avenue, sharing station facilities with the new busway.

 

Furthermore, since many UC employees come from the West Shore suburbs, operate several commuter trains in each direction during the rush hours only from Lorain, Avon Lake, Westlake, West Boulevard Red Line station, pass south of downtown, the new Stokes Red Line station, Windermere, and east to the Euclid Park-n-Ride (it's next to the NS line). If there was a time-of-day separation with NS freight traffic, a lightweight commuter train could be used and switch over to RTA tracks on the east and west sides to serve Tower City Center.

 

The question is, do we want a road to shape the land uses of redevelopment along the Red Line and around University Circle, or do we want transit to shape it? Look at the issue from a regional perspective first, in terms of what of what you want Greater Cleveland to be, then decide.

 

KJP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

while they are at it, they should go ahead and build that freeway over the shaker lakes.........damn two-bit duck pond

 

 

anywho, regaring moving the redline to parts of euclid just doesn't make sense to me. KJP, you know construction costs for an overhead cantenary system the size of say the red lines eastern branch, or just a per-mile oneway estimate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cost of building an overhead catenary is about $2 million per mile for a double-tracked railway.

 

My rationale for wanting to relocate the Red Line down Euclid Avenue through the University Circle area (sharing the ROW with the ECIP busway) is to place it between the sources of ridership in that area, rather than off to one side. Putting it in the middle of the action is where transit should be. Consider this map and all the places that would be within a closer walk of the new, 1.1-mile segment.....

 

uc%20red%20line%20realign2.jpg

 

Even the existing University Circle station at Cedar would be moved only slightly. Of course, all of this would depend on the Red Line's heavy-rail trains being replaced with light-rail rolling stock. RTA is expected to start procurement on a new rail fleet as early as next year, with a possible delivery in 2011.

 

KJP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KJP, by that logic, wouldn't it be better to move the Red Line to Euclid for the entire route and merge that initiative into the Euclid Corridor?  That way, the Red Line would be getting to the heart of Midtown, Playhouse Square and CSU as well as University Circle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

two things

 

1) maybe i'm confused or riverviewer is but shaker square is served by the blue/green lines, not the red

 

2) we do have the silver line coming, did we already forget this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2) we do have the silver line coming, did we already forget this?

 

Pope, that is exactly my point.  If we are to move part of the Red Line onto the same ROW as the Silver Line, does it not make more sense to roll the two together since several of the most important stops (Public Square, University Circle, Windemere) on either line are going to be so close?  Instead of a heavy rail going through industrial ruins and a half-assed BRT, we could have one well done LRT line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

or redevelop the areas around the red line stops.......43 superfunds.......eww

 

i wish rta would break their ridership down by station, i'm pretty sure E 34th campus has five people a day get off there

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KJP, by that logic, wouldn't it be better to move the Red Line to Euclid for the entire route and merge that initiative into the Euclid Corridor? That way, the Red Line would be getting to the heart of Midtown, Playhouse Square and CSU as well as University Circle.

 

Two problems with that:

 

1. As Pope points out, the Silver Line is already a "go" -- it's designed and funded.

2. Even if there was a sudden, strong desire by community leaders to put rail down Euclid Avenue all the way from University Circle to downtown, the cost would be at least double the busway. Most of the added cost would come in the downtown area, associated with getting trains from Euclid Avenue back onto the existing Red Line from Tower City westward.

 

Keep in mind that RTA has up to $7 million in hand for relocating the East 120th/Euclid station to someplace, which might be reprogrammed to instead relocate the University Circle station per this proposal. The East120th/Euclid station would be removed.

 

Here's two cost estimates for realigning the Red Line through University Cirlce:

 

via Euclid under Stokes/NS/CSX and across Cedar/Carnegie

 

$1m - property acquisitions

$6m - bridges under NS/CSX

$3m - University Circle station

N/A - Wade Park station (included in ECIP)

N/A - Mayfield/Ford station (included in ECIP)

$3m - ROW gradient changes/cuts

$4m - new tracks

$2m - track-in-street enhancements, road signals, etc.

$1m - coded track circuits

$3m - overhead catenary

-------

$23m - subtotal

$7m - contingencies

$3m - engineering

-------

$33 million - total

 

via Euclid over Stokes/Cedar/Carnegie/NS/CSX:

 

$2m - property acquisitions

$7m - bridge over NS/CSX

$3m - bridge over Cedar

$3m - bridge over Carnegie

$7m - University Circle station

N/A - Wade Park station (included in ECIP)

N/A - Mayfield/Ford station (included in ECIP)

$15m - ROW gradient changes/approach embankments

$4m - new tracks

$1m - track-in-street enhancements, road signals, etc.

$1m - coded track circuits

$3m - overhead catenary

-------

$46m - subtotal

$14m - contingencies

$5m - engineering

-------

$65 million - total

 

 

KJP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand the difficulties in price and that the silver line is almost a go, but I'm thinking more in terms of end product.  Does it make sense to have two lines that are that redundant?  What will we achieve by doing this?  What does the one line take us to that the other doesn't?

 

I think that the two lines will poach from each other, as is. And only more so if the lines get even closer. Ideally, if the Red Line is moved at all, it should be moved the other direction.  Is there any way that light rail could make it up the hill into the Heights?  I'd think there'd be great ridership in the Cedar/Fairmount and Coventry areas.

 

Cleaning and reusing those superfund sites along the Red Line is a big if for the foreseeable future.  I don't think they are a priority for the city compared to the Euclid Corridor, the Lakefront, or neighborhood housing infill.  They're probably decades out. 

 

Simpsons is on, I will add more later....Priorities!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cedar Hill had a double-tracked streetcar line that ran on a private right of way, which can still be seen on the right side of the road going up the hill. At the top, it split into three lines -- 1. Euclid Heights Blvd to Coventry, then east on Mayfield; 2. east on Cedar; 3. southeast on Fairmount (some of the original trolley wire poles are still there in the median). In fact, the first Shaker Heights "Rapid" was an extension of the Fairmount line, which headed south on Coventry, but was replaced with the direct routing of the Rapid in 1920. BTW, Mayfield had a single-track streetcar that went up the hill, but it had its problems in certain weather, as you can probably imagine!

 

Ironically, if the UC Boulevard is built, it would actually make the proposal for rerouting the Red Line though UC less expensive, as a graded right of way past Stokes Blvd would be provided by the UC Boulevard. The Red Line could use the UC Boulevard's median.

 

As for the Silver Line vs. the Red Line, keep in mind that the #6 bus already carries about 25,000 riders per day, while the Red Line carries 20,000 (though that's for the whole Red Line, which is used less on the east side). Most of the Silver Line's new ridership will come from intermediate segments (UC, Midtown, CSU) when the redevelopment comes.

 

The Silver Line will work well for travel between downtown and UC, but for those coming from the west side and going to UC, the Rapid could still the better choice. West side riders will not have to transfer at Tower City, but they may have to transfer at UC to a Circle Link or the Heights Community Circulator to reach their UC destinations. That's why I propose the Red Line realignment so us west siders don't have to make a transfer anymore, and so the need for the UC Boulevard is reduced.

 

Plus, if a limited commuter rail service is started on the line out to Lorain, uses a lightweight diesel rail car, and NS grants a time-of-day separation from freight traffic, commuter rail could switch over to the Red Line near West Boulevard and use RTA tracks through Tower City to UC. How's that for making good use of existing transportation infrastructure, rather than building a 6-lane boulevard that will dump tens of thousands more cars into already-congested University Circle?

 

So, should I develop this idea further and submit it to Peter Lewis in exchange for fulfilling his offer of an "idea bounty"?

 

KJP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, you should.  I think its a really good idea.  I'd love to see the Red Line built down the median of the UC Boulevard.  I think that would bring the best possible redevelopment potential to that corridor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd love to see the Red Line built down the median of the UC Boulevard.  I think that would bring the best possible redevelopment potential to that corridor.

 

this should be especially pressed for at least four other reasons i could think of:

 

a) commuter rail was abandoned by noaca :x

 

b) the (phoney) rail options were all quickly dumped by odot during the innerbelt redo planning :shoot:

 

c) the west shoreway calming plans have made little mention of built-in rail transit

      or any transit ---- and that one is a gimmee! train to the beach anyone?  :-D

 

d) if they are going to do a uc blvd highway anyway, it should be alternative transit friendly

      as possible especially since all the other new major road projects are not considerate of any transit  :?

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it is. Here's the only way I can accept the UC Boulevard along the 6-10 track wide right of way (most of which has only 4-6 tracks) ....

 

1. Fill in the north side of the rail right of way, which is the unused part;

2. On this new fill, build the UC Boulevard with the Red Line running down the middle of it;

3. Relocate the two-track NS line to where the Red Line was located;

4. Fill in the vacated strip between the UC Boulevard and the NS Line (which would sit in a narrow, 2-3 track wide cut);

5. Redevelop along both sides of the UC Blvd and Red Line.

 

KJP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my experience riding the Red Line, I don't see it as a street-level type of operation...the way the old Shaker Rapid is (Shaker is sort of a hybrid between a light-rail "streetcar"

sort of operation and a heavy rail rapid transit system).

 

The Red Line reminded me alot of the CTAs old Skokie Swift.  Although the Skokie Swift was a shuttle (from Howard to Dempster Ave, with no stops in between) it had alot of "Red Line" features....one car trains, overhead wire (at the time), but "heavy rail" construction and operation, with high-level platforms and high speeds.    It was not really a "street running" kind of rail line.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See my earlier message...

 

http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php?topic=2267.msg21288#msg21288

 

...in this string about RTA possibly acquiring a standardized light-rail vehicle for use on all lines. RTA thought about doing it in the early 1980s, and some officials later regretted not doing so to save on maintenance costs and possibly route one of Shaker lines through to Hopkins Airport. Because the Breda LRVs and Tokyu HRVs were paid for in part with federal funds, a transit agency has to use them for at least 25 years before replacing them or they have to give back some of the federal funding. The Tokyu cars for the Red Line were delivered to RTA over several months from 1984-85. Since RTA said it doesn't expect to replace its rail fleet until 2011, that would "suggest"  RTA wants to go with the standardized LRV. However, they may start procurement as early as next year to identify the kind of rail car they want so that manufacturing can take place in time to meet that 2011 delivery date.

 

KJP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that there are some ideas floating about in University Circle's and Fairfax's master plans to reconfig the streets in the area around Ambler Park.  I don't remember how it was to be reconfigured just now.  Is that what you've shown with the streets you've drawn?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I didn't know they were, but I do now!

 

BTW, you like my "Grand Center Station"? I wanted to use a station name that suggested a transfer point, like "Metro Center" in D.C., but with Grand Avenue nearby, I couldn't resist. It's all about placemaking.....

 

KJP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dearest Pope,

 

Coming up with ways to make Cleveland a better place is my life.

 

I have to do something with my time ever since I quit drinking. Of course, just by bagging the booze, I immediately made Cleveland a better place!

 

Soberly yours,

 

KJP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thought many of you would find this letter of interest. The letter is a public record, so I'm not breaking a confidence here.  KJP

________________

 

June 3, 2005

 

David J. Coyle, Director

District 12

Ohio Department of Transportation

5500 Transportation Blvd.

Garfield Heights, OH 44125

 

Dear Dave:

 

The Opportunity Corridor project connecting I-490 to University Circle is a project that provides for the best interests of the City of Cleveland and the residents in the neighborhoods surrounding the proposed new boulevard. That is why I am allocating $10,000 to help fund the study that ODOT is conducting in partnership with University Circle, Inc. in hopes of moving this project forward.

 

The creation of a boulevard between I-490 and University Circle will improve access to University Circle and allow for economic development to blossom on more than 400 acres of underutilized land in the City of Cleveland, including the Forgotten Triangle, while relieving congestion on the Innerbelt, all at a significantly lower cost than building a new freeway.

 

Both the short-term and the long-term benefits that will arise from the Opportunity Corridor are substantial and in the best interests of the City of Cleveland and its residents. Therefore, it should be the priority over the reconfiguration of the Innerbelt, particularly until we can solve the issues surrounding the on/off ramps of the new Innerbelt and the negative impact they would have on our neighborhoods.

 

There are just a few of the reasons why I support this project and urge you to make the Opportunity Corridor the priority for ODOT in the Greater Cleveland area. I look forward to working with you to make the project a reality.

 

Sincerely,

 

Frank G. Jackson

President of Council

 

cc: Craig K. Hebebrand, Project Director, ODOT District 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OH H*LL NO!  I AM SO AGAINST THIS ACCESS ROAD.  MY BLOOD IS BOILING.  :x

 

HE SHOULD BE USING THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SPUR MORE DEVELOPMENT ON EUCLID, CARNIEGE, CHESTER AND EXPAND CURRENT RAIL!  ARGH!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In theory, I am not against the Access road.  I haven't really seen a presentation on it.  I know that the city and UCI are definitely in favor of it.  I would think that there are a lot of economic positives that could come from it.  There are at least 43 superfund sites in the area.  This could provide an opportunity to revitalize and lost area of Cleveland. 

 

It would be nice to get some more info on the benefits that it would bring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In theory, I am not against the Access road. I haven't really seen a presentation on it. I know that the city and UCI are definitely in favor of it. I would think that there are a lot of economic positives that could come from it. There are at least 43 superfund sites in the area. This could provide an opportunity to revitalize and lost area of Cleveland.

 

It would be nice to get some more info on the benefits that it would bring.

 

Here is a question?  if there are so many positives to this corridor, why build a road that is in DIRECT competition to Euclid (corridor project)?  We're spending millions to rebuild and attract infrastructure to EUCLID AVENUE. 

 

Have we not learned from the past?  We already destroyed the Westside with freeways, Cleveland does not have a congestion problem.  Use this money to campaign to make Cleveland LESS auto dependant.

 

Why build a road that is going to the same place, that would take, this so called traffic AWAY from a MAJOR development that the city went all half assed to have built?  We should have just gone all out and built a subway then built this "corridor" so that people just zip by neighborhoods that are trying to kick start themselves.

 

use this money to rebuild the lakefront roadways or develop more rail and improve all major city streets....or better yet BURY ALL THOSE DAMN UTILITY POLES/WIRES!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that it would be in competition with the ECP.  Its goals are: create better access to UC from 77 (presently, most people use MLK via 90 to get there); open up areas to light industrial development (the area has a large number of brownfields and superfund cites.), industry needs good access to highways and large tracts of land.  This would be a different use than the ECP.  Different goals.  I see them as complementary.  But again, its not like I studied it greatly.  I just think we have to take an honest look at all possibilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the point that wimwar is making, especially if this cooridor will open up large tracks of industrial wastelands to new development.  All future prospects for manufacturing in this city, or any older industrial city is smaller niche manufacturing. 

If Euclid is being reclaimed as the main street of Cleveland, this new access road could be lined with smaller factories, with efficient truck accessibility.

Thinking of it in that perspective, I now like the idea of the new road.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We need to reclaim our neighborhoods as neighborhoods!  We still have tons of vacant residential land in Hough and Fairfax and even in Ohio City and Downtown.  We need places to generate jobs, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MyTwoSense is dead on, wimwar, not only would this road be competing with ECP, it would lie directly in the railroad bed along with the parallel Red Line Rapid Transit.  It makes no sense at all -- no other city on the planet builds a roadway -- a pseudo freeway -- access to it would be limited, to compete against a high-speed rail line.  And don't believe this garbage about it creating opportunity.  The planners of this thing have no intention of developing the land in this area; it is strictly a design to help certain people from both the Heights and the West Side, speed to their jobs even easier than they can now in their private autos -- in case you hadn't noticed, Cleveland has very few rush hour traffic jams and the high-speed road access to the East Side via Chester and Carnegie with very well time traffic lights.  University Circle will see no gain with this roadway other than more auto traffic passing through so, again, don’t believe the parallel hype that this stupid road will somehow boost patronization of U. Circle institutions … newsflash, these institutions are doing JUST FINE without it and the UCI, Case, Peter B. Lewis and Little Italy, while not always in perfect harmony, are trying to work out commercial/retail and Case Western U expansion – the latter being well underway – and the U. Circle Boulevard is not, in the least, a part of their plans.

 

As for Frank Jackson, and Jane Campbell throwing their weight behind this, these folks have clearly shown they have no clue about TOD's or urban development. Both are on board with that stupid Steelyards big box Wal-Mart and both are behind an equally foolish suburban-type a Target Store recently-announced development for W. 117 at I-90; this one displacing over 100 residents who will have their homes demolished for Target’s big box.  Jackson’s merely a typical pol trying to see which way the wind is blowing to lift his flat sails for his mayoral bid.  And they call Kerry a flip-flopper --  well this guy, Jackson, was at first dead set against Steelyards but then, when it became politically expedient after Union Club types leaning toward Jane began putting out press releases that Frank’s Steelyard stance was costing jobs (a really bogus rant), he turned full circle… and btw, more sensible Green, grass roots city promoters (folks like EcoCity Cleveland) who REALLY care about orderly development and protecting grocery jobs from big-box Wal-Mart’s union-busting and grocery price gouging, are still fighting tooth ‘n nail against Steelyards – I say, bless ‘em!

 

Wimwar, I know you're a (very welcome) newcomer to Cleveland, but don't buy into the hype of individuals like Jackson and Campbell who are mere patsies for the ODOT auto lobby.  This silly road/boulevard/semi-freeway (oh, now they've cooked up a new ruse/moniker: the "Avenue of Opportunity" -- bullshit!) is very destructive to the sensible, high-density development of our City.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×