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Cleveland: Opportunity Corridor Boulevard

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"There is plenty of developable land in Cleveland.  The city chooses to use much of it for parking lots."

 

One, if it's used as a parking lot, it's likely that the city DOESN'T own it. Two, there may well be developable land but we're talking brownfields here. Again, the industrial landbank initiative should remedy a lot of these cases.

 

"As it is, Cleveland is sending jobs to both Strongsville AND Mississippi."

 

And the Heart Center at the Clinic will bring 1,500 to 2,000 jobs; the West Quad project will bring anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 jobs. I don't see the Clinic or University Hospitals opening world-class facilities in either Strongsville or Mississippi.

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BS.  There is plenty of developable land in Cleveland.  The city chooses to use much of it for parking lots.    

 

Does this one really have to be explained??  The city desperately wants to use its downtown surface lots for housing.  Are you suggesting that we use this land for industrial purposes?  Cleveland is losing a lot of industrial business each year because of the lack of clean, accessible and aggregated land parcels.  This is an opportunity to open and clean up this land for land that is currently grossly underused.

 

Transit options for this corridor have been proposed and ignored,

 

Thank God that they have been ignored.  Previous proposals would have placed a highway through the this part of the city and University Circle. Those proposals would have been horrible.  That said, not roads are evil.

 

Furthermore, this roadway will do nothing to improve traffic circulation in University Circle.  It will simply add several thousand cars a day to the existing mess.   

 

How will it add several thousand cars?  Additionally, there are two other studies being done that are focusing on future parking and traffic issues within UC, and that focus on MLK from Cedar Hill all the way to the West Quad.  There is nothing less than 100% communication between the studies.  A lot of people are working on these issues.

 

Wimwar, I resent your implication that I have provided a knee-jerk response.  I can assure you I am well-studied in transportation issues.

 

From your arguments, it appears that don't understand the nature of the problem.  I never challenged your knowledge of transportation.  I challenged your knowledge of the ills that affect this part of Cleveland.  It appears to be a knee-jerk reaction because it takes the general new urbanistic thinking and imposes it on a situation that is unique and complex.  I am all for new urbanism, but a city cannot be survive on storefronts and coffee shops alone.

 

As it is, Cleveland is sending jobs to both Strongsville AND Mississippi.

 

So you suggest that we enable more jobs to leave the city?

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Dan,  there is plenty of empty land in Cleveland, which is not the same as plenty of developable land.  It takes serious time and money to make empty land into developable land.  It often requires environmental remediation, land assembly, and/or access improvements.  The area that the OC is supposed to go through will require all three for it to be "developable" land. 

 

At any rate, allow me to repose the question "what do you think we should do?"

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Well, the City does own their fair share of parking lots in prime locations, but the browfields and vacant land issues are definitely true as well.  I had the privilege of witnessing a lecture by Brooke Furio, who is "on loan" from the US EPA to the City of Cleveland.  As is the case with many of the people who are "in the know," his perspective was sobering. 

 

It is, in fact, true that there is a ton of vacant land in Cleveland...about 10-25,000 properties, depending on whose estimates you use.  This includes homes, commercial buildings, industrial space, empty lots, and on and on.  The process of getting these properties back to productive, legal use either via a private investor or through public investment is very complex and the methods that the City and County have taken in the past to address these issues has been inefficient and ineffective. 

 

Bottom line, there's tons of land out there, but finding it, acquiring it, clearing or cleaning it (of liens, pollutants, etc.), marketing it, selling it, and eventually collecting taxes on it is more than we know how to do right now.  Furio and others have ideas, but they won't come quickly or easily.  If the real estate market heated up in Cleveland, we'd have a much easier time of it, because the private market would take care of a lot of these things on its own.  However, as it stands right now, Cleveland is far riskier than cities like Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul and continues to suffer as a result.

 

Sadly, there are companies out there who are interested...with jobs in hand and an interest in locating or remaining in Cleveland, but we just don't have the land that they want ready to go.  The land, as it stands, is too risky for them to do without significant prior site prep, but our means of bringing this land to a point where the risk is low enough for a profit to be certain are lacking. 

 

Enter, the industrial land bank.  This is new and very underfunded.  Ideally, a few pilot projects will help it to gather support that will bring more funding into the program.  If this happens, then larger groupings of land can be tackled and made ready for development.

 

As this pertains to the Opportunity Corridor, the assembly of these large amounts of land that the City can market to developers and employers is an important step.  Providing key infrastructure improvements (the boulevard) is another.  But will the land be attractive enough without further subsidy?  Who knows?  I think that's the theory, but if it doesn't prove to be true or if the market doesn't heat up enough on its own, then the City could be stuck with a ton of land that still needs additional subsidies before it becomes attractive enough to lure developers.  Pretty depressing, right?

 

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^ re the first point, i agree with what i think dan meant --- the city does not have to own parking lots, they could just as easily declare the oceans of parking lots a blight and shrink them or get rid of them as allow them to exist. mayday i think you forget who is lining politicians pockets, thats why nothing is ever done about the lots. however, of course this topic is more to do with downtown, it's not really a uc issue is it?

 

and as for the other comment, i dk about strongsville or mississippi, but the clinic has facilities in florida and i think in the mideast. that's expansion not job loss.

 

finally, the loss of jobs in cleveland around the "opportunity corridor" has already happened. so some action needs to happen to open up that brownfield land for redevelopment. i think time & money are better spent right now further cleaning up sites and promoting tod and urban forms. that does not rule out beefing up roadways and auto access, but that should not be the primary change as odot and others try to force it to be. that area begs for a serious detailed master planning guide rather than these piecemeal ideas.

 

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In this case, I think a "do nothing" option is better than installing a high-speed boulevard through the East Side.  The entire premise of economic development was drummed-up to justify what is essentially a highway project.  Does anyone realistically think that factories are going to make a sudden comeback if this road is built?  Why would development occur along this boulevard, when it isn't occurring along Euclid, or Chester, or on any of the other empty lots on any of the other major roads in Cleveland? 

 

I'm not trying to argue that the entire economy of the city should be predicated on coffee shops.  There are, however, many underutilized roadways and parcels of land in the city as it is.  What makes this project absolutely necessary?  To me, it seems that this entire project was concocted and foisted on the public rather quickly and abruptly.  Failure to follow-through with this project will not bring about impending doom for Cleveland.  I honestly think this is a case of misplace priorities.

 

TOD is needed to re-grow urban density and produce thriving neighborhoods, as this is the one competitive advantage Cleveland has over its suburbs.  By promoting the development of an automobile-oriented city, Cleveland will soon resemble its suburban counterparts and lose that advantage.  As it stands, public transit in Cleveland is relatively weak.  The money would be better spent improving access to the Rapid from University Circle, as that mode could move potentially more people than the boulevard could ever hope to do, but without taking up any additional real estate. 

 

It all depends on what kind of a city Cleveland wants to be.  Should it be an urbane place for people to work, live, and recreate?  Or should the urban fabric be sacrificed for an ever-expanding network of freeways that encourages long-distance commuting via automobile, with little interaction with one's surroundings?  If you had to pick a model for developing a city, why not choose a successful model instead of the same approach that has failed this city for 60 years?  It is ideas like this boulevard that convince me Cleveland has plainly forgotten how to be a city, and hence it is no wonder the jobs and the residents and the money are fleeing.

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well i disagree doing nothing is the right approach, but certainly redevelopment of this area will take a lot of thought and consideration. developing a master plan as a guide is a good start. also, at the very least brownfield cleanup should remain ongoing.

 

also, fyi the uc access boulevard/highway plans are hardly new or abrupt, it has been talked about on and off over the years for quite a long time. however, unless the city gets much more deeply involved, odot will rule the process and that will ceratainly only lead to the most anti-urban action we can imagine. nocoa is no help either, so i put this issue squarely on the new mayor's plate.

 

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Dan, I think you are really giving us the "false dichotomy" fallacy here.  You are assuming that we are either going to build a massive highway in disguise and make everything auto oriented, or we will go all out TOD.  You are giving us a clash of ideologies while we are trying to discuss the future of a specific neighborhood.  Two different conversations, really.

 

For example, what if this ends up being a boulevard a la the boulevards that we see in Cleveland Heights/Shaker Heights with the Rapid running down the middle?  I am thinking something similar to Van Aken, but with a more varied set of land uses.  Perhaps some of the land opened up is used for industrial, and other land is used for TOD.  What goes where should be predicated on how it would  integrate into surrounding neighborhood land uses.

 

I think that a master plan, as mrnyc is suggesting, is a good approach to looking at that neighborhood.

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Screw them, if you don't like your commute, live closer."  This is another attitude that will not help bring back residents to Hough, Fairfax, Glenville, etc.

...

Matches, have you driven the corridor?  What negative impacts could you see?  Overall, its as blown-out as any neighborhood in the US.  Also, TOD is definitely part of the foreseen developments that would be targeted for this area.

 

I apologize if my message wasn't clear.  I was just being honest about my knee-jerk reactions when I hear that kind of talk.  Perhaps the Shoreway is good enough for use by drivers with access to it but connecting 490 opens up areas served by 71, etc.  I'm mildly aware that the area is "blown-out", as you say.  My fears were not necessarily negative impacts on the area but places such as Cleveland Heights and East Side neighborhoods whose potential attractiveness for a comeback would suddenly lose a major benefit - namely their proximity to this developing center of employment.  If jobs are being added to the area, my gut tells me to say that the residential areas nearest to said area should be developed or re-developed.  If someone is getting a job in or near UC, shouldn't we try to support residential development in areas closer to it?  If the boom is what it's expected to be, does it help the city more or less by building a road make it easier for those workers to live in Strongsville?  By building the road only you take away potential areas near UC for residential development.  What will NOT bring residents back to Hough, Fairfax and Glenville is a road that encourages them to suck up the commute that comes with living in any farther-flung west side neighborhood.

 

All that negativity I tried to temper by saying if the jobs aren't going to come without the boulevard then it's a lot harder to argue against the boulevard.  But are there not enough places in the city and in inner-ring east side suburbs that DO have decent access to UC?  My point was that it really looks like you can achieve two worthy goals by combining the UCAB with rail realignment that KPJ proposed - you provide access for west siders and their cars, AND add redevelopment opportunities by increased visibility of the rail line and TOD.  I'm just afraid that the boulevard alone will remove a significant chunk of UC-area workers who live nearby largely because they don't want to deal with the strange commute from the west side.  I do not know what route they currently take but it's significant that this was originally dubbed an "access boulevard" and is now called "opportunity corridor".  Call me a cynic but I think it hints at what the initial goals of the project were.  "Opportunity Corridor" is easier to sell, I guess.

 

unless the city gets much more deeply involved, odot will rule the process and that will ceratainly only lead to the most anti-urban action we can imagine.

This is a key point and we kind of just saw this with the Innerbelt bridge.  ODOT when crazy with the cheese whiz and then suddenly city officials got all up in arms just when ODOT was about to try and close the deal.  People need to get involved early, and if you're dumb, surround yourself with smart people; if you're smart, surround youself with smart people who disagree with you.

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Don't expect a rail line down the Opportunity Corridor boulevard. RTA planning folk liked the out-of-the-box thinking, but said it would be a tough sell with the feds unless it saved RTA a meaningful chunk of change. I disagree, because I think the rail line consolidation via the boulevard would boost ridership (better visibility, safety and access to more developable land) and warrant the federal dollars. And I think it would save RTA a little bit of money because it would involve fewer track miles and give them a newer right of way that they would share with ODOT in its upkeep.

 

But, it opened some eyes at RTA to opportunities in the Opportunity Corridor, which includes looking at better access to existing rail stations, what bus services could be adjusted or added on the boulevard or to connect with it. While that doesn't "do it for me" -- perhaps them taking a harder look at the corridor will make them realize that the rail line in the boulevard actually makes some economic sense. RTA is a big bureaucracy with lots of regulations, attached strings, politics and dreams that seem out of reach. But if they talk through the issues enough, maybe their actions will be close behind.


"Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you Buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it." -- Gordon Gekko.

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hey, isn't UC served by two red line stations?

 

(rhetorical question)

 

Actually, I think it's a very valid question. Is UC truly "served" by these stations? Moving the Euclid/E120th station a little closer to Mayfield will help, but the Red Line misses the heart of UC and requires long walks to reach most of the traffic generators. The ultimate solution (see below) is to relocate the Red Line northward from near the Cedar station, via MLK's median, then east down the Euclid Corridor as a shared bus/rail right of way. Then, return to the Red Line just east of Euclid's underpass of the existing Red Line. My estimate for building all of that is $65 million, something I don't see RTA doing in the cost-conscious mode they are in. Sometimes they seem more interested in saving money than in raising revenue. Ironically, capital dollars can be had more readily than operating subsidies.

 

uc%20red%20line%20segc-small.jpg


"Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you Buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it." -- Gordon Gekko.

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I don't think people would ride the Red Line if it were 'more visible' in the middle of this UCAB freeway folly.  In fact, I don't think people shun the Rapid for lack of visibility, at all.  I think they shun it for reasons most Americans shun public transit: they believe, falsely or not, that driving is easier and more convenient to them than transit.  Therefore, UCAB will only hurt Rapid riding not help it.  In fact, I believe the long-term goal or fallout of this project is total abandonment of the Red Line.  I can very much here officials opine that, what, with ECP and UCAB, who needs the Red Line which, after all, is more expensive to operate anyway, right?  These people know exactly where the Rapid and how to access it.  You see them with their kids riding trains downtown to big events like the tree lighting, or Browns games, fireworks, etc... Why?  Because they perceive downtown traffic during such events as too much a pain in the ass during such events  (and, frankly, the growing popularity of off peak downtown along with the parking lot robber-barons are, in part, fueling the up-tick in Rapid riding we've seen in recent years).

 

Also, some of you are mischaracterizing UCAB opposition—at least, mine.  Obviously there is little housing that would be destroyed if the too-narrow RTA/Norfolk Southern path is taken (although, as the PD maps noted a few weeks ago, planners are moving away from the railbed right-of-way along routes that would take down several neighborhood homes).  I object because, with all the great, true city building rail transit proposals (Dual Hub, the North Olmsted Red Line leg, the WL lakefront extension) left on the table allegedly because of cost (which is laughable since we're dumping $250M into that street-landscaping bus project called ECP), I strenuously object to My Tax Dollars being spent on a street-clogging freeway for a bunch of suburbanites who want to quickly skirt the city to get to Cleveland Clinic and (new) West Quad jobs with their fat asses in their gas-guzzling SUV's --- that's why.

 

Plus, it's a ridiculous folly to believe that businesses are going to sprout up along this freeway.  It’s also a flat out ODOT lie that this road will, somehow, help neighborhoods where most people don’t even own cars to begin with.  This fiction of this “opportunity boulevard” aiding “the Forgotten Triangle” as an auto-club ruse… Like most urban freeways, it's only going to dump more cars and cause more traffic-clogging traffic in U. Circle then will happen without it.  This will be even more so since the plan is for UCAB to replace a section of E.105 so that long lines of cars will clog and cut across the grain of our main east-west Euclid/Carnegie/Chester corridor out from downtown -- the route these UCAB proponents should be using, anyway, along with the mass transit that serves the area.

 

Fortunately, the RTA and City are doing the right thing with such TOD projects like the planned Juvenile Justice Center next to the new Quincy-E.105 Red Line stop.  Of course, the judges are beefing b/c they, too, neither want to use transit or drive through ‘the hood’ to get to the planned new digs.  Btw, that rapid station is only half complete -- a major station head-house and platform lengthening is planned once the dilapidated E. 105 Street bridge over the RTA tracks is replaced.  But that plan is 'indefinite' at the moment, probably because planners are waiting to see what's going to happen with UCAB.  What a joke.  Even the replacement of the rundown, ratty E.105 stop is with the new partial station/stop is attracting a trickle of CleveClinic interns and nurses to the Rapid.

 

Such a waste.  I'm surprised and disappointed that so many normally-wise posters on this board are drinking the ODOT Kool-Aid viz UCAB.

 

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KJP, I while I think your proposal to relocate the Red Line would put trains closer to the popular U.Circle museums, I think it would put them further from where people live and work in the U.C. area. 

 

If you do a GOOGLE overhead map of the area, you'll note that the huge expanded U. Hospitals buildings actually sit back and well off Euclid and are actually closer to the existing U. Circle Red Line station.  Also, the greatest residential population core density is in tight Little Italy which hugs the existing Red Line and would more convenient to the proposed relocated E.120 RTA stop.  What's more, Case's new E.115 St. dorms is juicing the once downtrodden area near the current E. 120 stop with students who are mixing in with CIA’s McCullough Building kids.

 

And if you ever check out the University Circle station during rush hour, you'd see it's a beehive of commuter traffic with commuters heading both east and west (but mainly west, towards downtown and the West Side).  The overwhelming number of these people are from U. Hospital, who have managed to still find their way to the station even with the closure/reconstruction of the Adelbert Rd. bridge.  And let’s face it, even in its aging, dog-eared current existence, the U. Circle RTA station is textbook for how to correctly design a bus-rail feeder-transfer station.  In short, it works and works very well. 

 

For all these reasons, I think the Red Line is fine right where it is.  I would only move the E. 120 station, as proposed, a few hundred feet east/south – although, I think a new, modern open and safe station on-site would attract a lot more riders than the dank, dirty  dangerous station that exists.

 

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Cleveland Plain dealer Editorial

Rerouting the future

Putting an 'Opportunity Corridor' on Cleveland's map could be a boon to residents and commuters alike

Monday, December 12, 2005

 

...

 

The prospect of a grand boulevard is appealing. University Circle is this region's second-largest employment center; given the importance of health care, higher education and research to Greater Cleveland's economic future, its growth should only accelerate. Then there's the chance to revitalize hundreds of acres, mostly former industrial property, in East Side neighborhoods so impoverished and abandoned that they are known as the Forgotten Triangle. With better access, the area could be reborn with industrial parks, commercial properties and housing.

 

...

 

Despite such questions, this is a project worth exploring in depth and without delay. And if further study indicates that the benefits would be as great as they appear, this community's leaders need to make the "Opportunity Corridor" a priority - and a reality.

 

http://www.cleveland.com/editorials/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/opinion/1134293544264570.xml&coll=2

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Fantastic.  I love how the Plain Dealer editorial board blindly accepts everything you can spoon feed it.  I don't think the editors of the PD have ever questioned a single damn idea that was ever floated out there. 

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DaninDC.... I agree.  Unfortunately, most media are far too dazzled by the story of a new highway project and fail to seriously ask the question: "At what cost?"  And that question goes beyond the dollars and cents "cost". I'd like to see the P-D and other media take a braoder and more critical apprach to transportation and transportation projects.  Their former transportation reporter, Rich Exner, would often do some very good, in-depth pieces on other modes and various projects.  I don't see much from his replacement that I've been impressed with, but maybe he's still settling in to the job.

 

I know from where I speak, as I spent over 20 years in television news.  Now there is a medium that absolutely does not get it when it comes to transportation reporting.  What we get that passes for transportation reporting are either rush-hour traffic reports of some NIMBY story related to a road project.  What's ironic is that what other issue has such a deep and immediate impact on all of us than our mobility: how we move either ourselves or other and how we move the products and services we consume on a daily basis.  It all has to be transported in some way.  And as highways and air routes become more heavily used ... and congested.... mobility becomes an even more critical issue.

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Oh, I agree with your wholeheartedly, noozer.  Issues like this speak to the kind and quality of places we want to create for ourselves.  The PD wants to isolate this one thing in a bubble and pretend it's a foregone conclusion, much like the "need" for a new convention center. 

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I don't like your question, particularly because it implies that *something* must be done with the corridor *immediately*, and this is not necessarily the case.  This is not unlike the convention center debacle, where the necessity was never debated, but the first question became, "What is the best option?".  There are many other, better located areas of Cleveland that could stand the investment before this forgotten corridor.  In this case, I propose do nothing with the corridor, and invest the money elsewhere, preferably in expanded public transit infrastructure like commuter rail.

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The truth is, this is a redux of the Shaker Lakes Freeway being rammed down Cleveland's throat by ODOT.  No one was concerned with this area at all until ODOT started imposing its will on this area. 

 

I simply fail to understand how more of the same is going to lead to different results. 

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The following is an excerpt from the book Suburban Nation by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.  It has been reprinted on the internet at [glow=red,2,300]http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/roadbuilding-futility.html[/glow].

 

Why building new roads doesn't ease congestion

An excerpt from Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream

by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck

North Point Press, 2000, pp. 88-94.

 

There is, however, a much deeper problem than the way highways are placed and managed. It raises the question of why we are still building highways at all. The simple truth is that building more highways and widening existing roads, almost always motivated by concern over traffic, does nothing to reduce traffic. In the long run, in fact, it increases traffic. This revelation is so counterintuitive that it bears repeating: adding lanes makes traffic worse. This paradox was suspected as early as 1942 by Robert Moses, who noticed that the highways he had built around New York City in 1939 were somehow generating greater traffic problems than had existed previously. Since then, the phenomenon has been well documented, most notably in 1989, when the Southern California Association of Governments concluded that traffic-assistance measures, be they adding lanes, or even double-decking the roadways, would have no more than a cosmetic effect on Los Angeles' traffic problems. The best it could offer was to tell people to work closer to home, which is precisely what highway building mitigates against.

 

Across the Atlantic, the British government reached a similar conclusion. Its studies showed that increased traffic capacity causes people to drive more--a lot more--such that half of any driving-time savings generated by new roadways are lost in the short run. In the long run, potentially all savings are expected to be lost. In the words of the Transport Minister, "The fact of the matter is that we cannot tackle our traffic problems by building more roads."2 While the British have responded to this discovery by drastically cutting their road-building budgets, no such thing can be said about Americans.

 

There is no shortage of hard data. A recent University of California at Berkeley study covering thirty California counties between 1973 and 1990 found that, for every 10 percent increase in roadway capacity, traffic increased 9 percent within four years' time.3 For anecdotal evidence, one need only look at commuting patterns in those cities with expensive new highway systems. USA Today published the following report on Atlanta: "For years, Atlanta tried to ward off traffic problems by building more miles of highways per capita than any other urban area except Kansas City…As a result of the area's sprawl, Atlantans now drive an average of 35 miles a day, more than residents of any other city."· This phenomenon, which is now well known to those members of the transportation industry who wish to acknowledge it, has come to be called induced traffic.

 

The mechanism at work behind induced traffic is elegantly explained by an aphorism gaining popularity among traffic engineers: "Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt." Increased traffic capacity makes longer commutes less burdensome, and as a result, people are willing to live farther and farther from their workplace. As increasing numbers of people make similar decisions, the long-distance commute grows as crowded as the inner city, commuters clamor for additional lanes, and the cycle repeats itself. This problem is compounded by the hierarchical organization of the new roadways, which concentrate through traffic on as few streets as possible.

 

The phenomenon of induced traffic works in reverse as well. When New York's West Side Highway collapsed in 1973, an NYDOT study showed that 93 percent of the car trips lost did not reappear elsewhere; people simply stopped driving. A similar result accompanied the destruction of San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway in the 1989 earthquake. Citizens voted to remove the freeway entirely despite the apocalyptic warnings of traffic engineers. Surprisingly, a recent British study found that downtown road removals tend to boost local economies, while new roads lead to higher urban unemployment. So much for road-building as a way to spur the economy.·

 

If traffic is to be discussed responsibly, it must first be made clear that the level of traffic which drivers experience daily, and which they bemoan so vehemently, is only as high as they are willing to countenance. If it were not, they would adjust their behavior and move, carpool, take transit, or just stay at home, as some choose to do. How crowded a roadway is at any given moment represents a condition of equilibrium between people's desire to drive and their reluctance to fight traffic. Because people are willing to suffer inordinately in traffic before seeking alternatives--other than clamoring for more highways--the state of equilibrium of all busy roads is to have stop-and-go traffic. The question is not how many lanes must be built to ease congestion but how many lanes of congestion would you want? Do you favor four lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic at rush hour, or sixteen?

 

This condition is best explained by what specialists call latent demand. Since the real constraint on driving is traffic, not cost, people are always ready to make more trips when the traffic goes away. The number of latent trips is huge--perhaps 30 percent of existing traffic. Because of latent demand, adding lanes is futile, since drivers are already poised to use them up.4

 

While the befuddling fact of induced traffic is well understood by sophisticated traffic engineers, it might as well be a secret, so poorly has it been disseminated. The computer models that transportation consultants use do not even consider it, and most local public works directors have never heard of it at all. As a result, from Maine to Hawaii, city, county, and even state engineering departments continue to build more roadways in anticipation of increased traffic, and, in doing, create that traffic. The most irksome aspect of this situation is that these road-builders are never proved wrong; in fact, they are always proved 'right': "You see," they say, "I told you that traffic was coming."

 

The ramifications are quite unsettling. Almost all of the billions of dollars spent on road-building over the past decades have accomplished only one thing, which is to increase the amount of time that we must spend in our cars each day. Americans now drive twice as many miles per year as they did just twenty years ago. Since 1969, the number of miles cars travel has grown at four times the population rate.· And we're just getting started: federal highway officials predict that over the next twenty years congestion will quadruple. Still, every congressman, it seems, wants a new highway to his credit.·

 

Thankfully, alternatives to road-building are being offered, but they are equally misguided. If, as is now clear beyond any reasonable doubt, people maintain an equilibrium of just-bearable traffic, then the traffic engineers are wasting their time--and our money--on a whole new set of stopgap measures that produce temporary results as best. These measures, which include HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes, congestion pricing, timed traffic lights, and "smart streets," serve only to increase highway capacity, which causes more people to drive until the equilibrium condition of crowding returns. While certainly less wasteful than new construction, these measures also do nothing to address the real cause of traffic congestion, which is that people choose to put up with it.

 

We must admit that, in an ideal world, we would be able to build our way out of traffic congestion. The new construction of 50 percent of more highways nationwide would most likely overcome all of the latent demand. However, to provide more than temporary relief, this huge investment would have to be undertaken hand in hand with a moratorium on suburban growth. Otherwise, the new subdivisions, shopping malls, and office parks made possible by the new roadways would eventually choke them as well. In the real world, such moratoriums are rarely possible, which is why road-building is typically a folly.

 

Those who are skeptical of the need for a fundamental reconsideration of transportation planning should take note of something we experienced a few years ago. In a large working session on the design of Playa Vista, an urban infill project in Los Angeles, the traffic engineer was presenting a report of current and projected congestion around the development. From our seat by the window, we had an unobstructed rush-hour view of a street he had diagnosed as highly congested and in need of widening. Why, then, was traffic flowing smoothly, with hardly any stacking at the traffic light? When we asked, the traffic engineer offered an answer that should be recorded permanently in the annals of the profession: "The computer model that we use does not necessarily bear any relationship to reality."

 

But the real question is why so many drivers choose to sit for hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic without seeking alternatives. Is it a manifestation of some deep-seated self-loathing, or are people just stupid? The answer is that people are actually quite smart, and their decision to submit themselves to the misery of suburban commuting is a sophisticated response to a set of circumstances that are as troubling as their result. Automobile use is the intelligent choice for most Americans because it is what economists refer to as a "free good": the consumer pays only a fraction of its true cost. The authors Stanley Hart and Alvin Spivak have explained that:

 

We learn in first-year economics what happens when products or services become "free" goods. The market functions chaotically; demand goes through the roof. In most American cities, parking spaces, roads and freeways are free goods. Local government services to the motorist and to the trucking industry--traffic engineering, traffic control, traffic lights, police and fire protection, street repair and maintenance--are all free goods.·

 

-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1

This article is an excerpt from Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck. Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, North Point Press, 2000, 88-94.

 

2

Donald D.T. Chen. "If You Build It, They Will Come…Why We Can't Build Ourselves Our of Congestion." Surface Transportation Policy Project Progress VII.2 (March 1998): I, 4.

 

3

Ibid., 6.

 

·

Carol Jouzatis. "39 Million People Work, Live Outside City Centers." USA Today, November 4, 1997: 1A-2A. As a result of its massive highway construction, the Atlanta area is "one of the nation's worst violators of Federal standards for ground-level ozone, with most of the problem caused by motor-vehicle emissions" (Kevin Sack. "Governor Proposes Remedy for Atlanta Sprawl." The New York Times, January 26, 1999: A14).

 

·

Jill Kruse. "Remove It and They Will Disappear: Why Building New Roads Isn't Always the Answer." Surface Transportation Policy Project Progress VII:2 (March 1998): 5, 7. This study, in analyzing sixty road closures worldwide, found that 20 percent to 60 percent of driving trips disappeared rather than materializing elsewhere.

 

4

Stanley Hart and Alvin Spivak. The Elephant in the Bedroom: Automobile Dependence and Denial; Impacts on the Economy and Environment. Pasadena, Calif.: New Paradigm Books, 1993, 122.

·

Jane Holtz Kay. Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America, and How We Can Take It Back. New York: Crown, 1997, 15; and Peter Calthorpe. The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community, and the American Dream. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1993, 27. Since 1983, the number of miles cars travel has grown at eight time s the population rate (Urban Land Institute traffic study). The greatest increases in automobile use correspond to the greatest concentrations of sprawl. Annual gasoline consumption per person in Phoenix and Houston is over 50 percent higher than in Chicago or Washington, D.C., and over 500 percent higher than in London or Tokyo (Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy. Winning Back the Cities. Sydney: Photo Press, 1996, 9). Currently, almost 70 percent of urban freeways are clogged during rush hour (Jason Vest, Warren Cohen, and Mike Tharp. "Road Rage." U.S. News & World Report, June 2, 1997: 24-30). In Los Angeles, congestion has already reduced average freeway speeds to less than 31 mph; by the year 2010, they are projected to fall to 11 mph (James MacKenzie, Roger Dower, and Donald Chen. The Going Rate: What It Really Costs to Drive. Report by the World Resources Institute, 1992, 17).

·

Almost any situation seems acceptable to justify more highway spending, even the recent road rage epidemic. Representative Bud Schuster, the chairman of the U.S. Congressional Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, made this recommendation: "The construction of additional lanes, the widening of roads and the straightening of curves would decrease congestion and reduce the impatience and unsafe habits of some motorists" (Thomas Palmer. "Pacifying Road Warriors." The Boston Globe, July 25, 1997: A1, B5).

·

Stanley Hard and Alvin Spivak, The Elephant in the Bedroom: Automobile Dependence and Denial, 2. Much of the information here on the science and economics of traffic congestion comes from this book, which should be required reading for every professional planner, traffic engineer, and amateur highway activist.

 

The logic behind the desire to make use of free goods is suggested by an argument overheard at a recent planning conference: "Of course there's never enough parking! If you gave everyone free pizza, would there be enough pizza?"

 

 

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Dan,

 

I don't disagree with most of what you say.  However, your reasoning doesn't apply to the Forgotten Triangle.  No one is trying to put a road through Shaker Lakes.  No one is trying to give E

 

This is what frustrates me with the reactions that some people have towards the OC: some people are so anti-highway that they are can't calm down enough to see that this is not another highway that would wipe out neighborhoods or open up cornfields for development.  Its not that I believe that the OC is a panacea for Cleveland's ills, but we do need to carefully look at all the ways to improve the city.  To sit and think that commuter rail is the only way to improve our city is short-sighted. Creating an area where  industrial businesses can set up shop is vital to growing this city's tax base.  Without improved revenue, we are never going to improve our schools and neighborhoods.  Without improved schools and neighborhoods, we will be severely limited in our attempts to improve the economy, built dense and vibrant urban cores, and support TODs. 

 

I love that we are calming the Shoreway.  That is a fantastic idea that will improve that part of Cleveland.  I wish that we could do away with the innerbelt bridge altogether.  Let's turn I-490 into the the first leg of the innerbelt and route traffic through I-77 till it hits deadman's curve. I wholeheartedly agree that the elimination of roads can improve a city. Yet, the Atlanta and Los Angeles examples show a poor ability to compare and contrast the unique situations that each city faces. 

 

I don't like your question, particularly because it implies that *something* must be done with the corridor *immediately*, and this is not necessarily the case.  This is not unlike the convention center debacle, where the necessity was never debated, but the first question became, "What is the best option?".  There are many other, better located areas of Cleveland that could stand the investment before this forgotten corridor.  In this case, I propose do nothing with the corridor, and invest the money elsewhere, preferably in expanded public transit infrastructure like commuter rail.

 

How will that help open up this place for industrial redevelopment?  Or, do you think that is not a priority? 

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The problem as I see it is that we are debating the merits of individual projects, rather than our overall transportation policy and the spending choices that stem from it. When we debate individual projects, the result is that they tend to get built because there is a fear that the areas they would serve won't be able to compete without it. In a respect, that's true, because the same kinds of transportation facilities (ie: highways) have been built in other parts of the metro area with which the affected area must compete. Plus, in the absence of funding for transport alternatives, regions like the Forgotten Triangle or University Circle feel they have no choice but to tap into highway funding to compete within the established structure.

 

Yet, the policy ultimately results in urban replacement and hemogeny, in which the older, denser parts of the city lose their density, and land use design looks more and more like the suburbs. It has to, in order to accommodate the increased number of cars as well as the "geometry" of cars. This geometry refers to the actual size of each car, the number of parking spaces per car (I think it's something like four spaces per car), and the need to be able to maneuver cars at a speed to give it an advantage over walking, biking and transit.

 

This will put more pressure on local officials to implement zoning, building design codes and other land use controls, while resisting widened roads or sweeping turning lanes that discourage a safe pedestrian setting. In the absence of these controls, the affected areas are likely to become less walkable, more heavily trafficked with cars, and offer fewer characteristics that distinguish these areas from other parts of the metro area.

 

I believe we need to have a "Greater Cleveland Transportation Summit" to decide what our transportation future, and thus our land use future, should be. As it happens, I'm drafting a "Citizens Transportation Study of Greater Cleveland" for a local environmental organization. The study will deal with many of these issues and, as it turns out, shows we already possess the tools (and funding) to reshape our transportation system in more sustainable ways. The question is, do we possess the knowledge and the will to make better decisions?


"Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you Buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it." -- Gordon Gekko.

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All,

 

On Monday, Dec. 19, RTA and ODOT staff will meet to discuss the possibility of including in the Opportunity Corridor study a consolidation of existing RTA Rapid lines in the median of the proposed boulevard to University Circle. Please click on the link below to view a presentation of this concept, and why a study of this proposal is worth pursuing (feel free to copy and paste this message in an e-mail to whomever you wish).

 

http://members.cox.net/neotrans/OpportunityCorridorRapidREV.pdf (2MB)

 

ODOT appears interested in the idea, but RTA staff may not be, even though it is in their best interest to participate in a study to consider the financial and ridership potential of this project. Therefore, please contact RTA General Manager Joe Calabrese (216-566-5219 jcalabrese@gcrta.org ) or at least one RTA board member this week to ask that RTA staff work with ODOT on undertaking such a study.


"Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you Buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it." -- Gordon Gekko.

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Great work, KJP!  That presentation makes a very stong case.  Hopefully RTA and ODOT will agree.  I think that this is the sort of multimodal approach that has the best potential for improving the neighborhood.

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Wimwar, the truth is that there are already highways all over Cleveland.  It's not that commuter rail is a panacea for Cleveland's ills, but one has to admit that the transportation system is heavily tilted in favor of cars.  What will a continuation of failed Eisenhower-era policy produce for Cleveland now that it hasn't done already?  Never mind that this boulevard will directly undermine the existing Red Line infrastructure that has been bought and paid for. 

 

Simply stated, Cleveland is ceasing to be a city for people, and is accelerating its progress toward becoming a city for cars.  The two goals, as KJP described, are mutually exclusive, as cars and people function better in spatial relationships that are drastically different from one another. 

 

Much like the convention center "debate", backers of this boulevard have automatically assumed that new investment will occur along this corridor.  This is NOT a foregone conclusion!  It's even more disingenuous to extend the argument to claim this roadway will benefit schools.  What it will do, is allow Unversity Circle employees to live further away on the West Side, contributing to sprawl, and introduce increased traffic and congestion along the corridor and in the University Circle area itself.   

 

Let me reiterate that this project was never intended to open up this corridor for development.  It's a highway project rammed down Cleveland's throat by ODOT, nothing more.  The "development" aspect was concocted by ODOT's PR team in an effort to sugar coat the bitter pill of a highway on the East Side, knowing full well that the vulnerable residents who live in under-invested neighborhoods will bite.  I have every reason to believe the alleged economic benefits have been overstated.  There are plenty of other areas in Cleveland, notably along Chester Avenue, that could stand to be redeveloped, and already have access to both roadways and transit.  Why would this corridor develop when the existing corridors have not?  Why spend money to do something that doesn't need to be done?

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finally, the loss of jobs in cleveland around the "opportunity corridor" has already happened. so some action needs to happen to open up that brownfield land for redevelopment. i think time & money are better spent right now further cleaning up sites and promoting tod and urban forms. that does not rule out beefing up roadways and auto access, but that should not be the primary change as odot and others try to force it to be. that area begs for a serious detailed master planning guide rather than these piecemeal ideas.

 

 

Burton, Bell, Carr is working on a Master Plan for the Forgotten Triangle.  It would be interesting to see some of what they are considering.  It sounds like they are in the early stages right now.

 

http://bbcdevelopment.org/bbc/forgottentriangle.htm

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"pretend it's a foregone conclusion, much like the "need" for a new convention center."

 

:roll: Roldo, is that you? I know this is off-topic but I get tired of people suggesting that the current facilities are just fine and dandy. I'm not saying a new center is the answer to all of Cleveland's ills, but to suggest that what we have now is sufficient is as disingenuous as it gets.

 

The simple fact of the matter is that the current convention center is functionally obsolete. It's not a matter of "ooh, looky - Pittsburgh and Columbus have new shiny centers, we need one too!!!". And we KNOW that convention centers have historically required hefty subsidies. It's a matter of what the industry requires - a middle-of-the-road center has around twenty loading docks in order to stage standard shows. Cleveland's convention center has TWO. That results in East 6th Street becoming a clusterf#ck of a marshalling yard - and let's not forget that the truck drivers aren't idling for free.

 

The center's main exhibit hall is unusable for a majority of shows - the columns prevent exhibitors from displaying any kind of sizable booth, the wiring is run under carpets creating 'speedbumps', and of course the cave-like ambiance doesn't help.

 

Is a new center the answer? I don't know, but I do know the current center is woefully inadequate for the market that Cleveland serves.

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KJP,

 

help me out.  How is your rail in the so-UCAB freeway plan re the beneficial:

 

- in helping spur rail traffic when UCAB will induce more people to drive directly in a corridor already inhabited by the Red Line?  Why won’t your plan ultimately destroy the Red Line, traffic-wise while simultaneously damaging Blue/Green ridership and spurring freeway driving?

 

- In making it easer (per DaninDC's comment) for people to live further away from the urban University Circle (mainly on in the Western burbs) and drive in easer?

 

- in making the Blue-Green lines slower by removing them from their current direct, high-speed/car-free  right of way to a more circuitous route down the middle of Buckeye stopping at traffic lights?

 

- in supposedly saving RTA money (even with the token $2.5 'scrap' amount you mention), w/ RTA having to rebuild rail right-of-ways RTA has just poured millions into (ie, in eliminating the Kingsbury tunnels at the junction as well as the total rehabbing of the E. 75-to-Woodhill Blue/Green line segment?

 

- In supposedly helping local residents with a brand new freeway in an area that features both the lowest income and lowest auto ownership in the metro region?

 

- In smashing a freeway through an area the Burton, Bell & Carr firm already has a more transit-oriented master plan for, and in fact, has already developed new housing in (on and just off Kinsman and near the current Blue/Green Line embankment off the E. 79th stop)?

 

- making rail access for the locals even more difficult in moving rail stations further away from the large Garden Valley CMHA development as well as the one at Woodland/E. 79th low income housing development?

 

- In helping RTA while not adding any rail mileage while adding/encouraging more urban freeway growth, esp to an area with comparatively modest rush-hour traffic and an overabundance of freeways?

 

- In lending the ODOT highway backers a boost by getting RTA (and transit backers) support with a project that’s supposed assist to transit is merely illusory?

 

Since this freeway-rail ‘vision’ is your baby, I think it only fair for you to answer these questions.  Thanks in advance.

 

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Ask some fair questions, and you'll get some fair answers. You seem to be operating under the assumption that the OC Boulevard won't be built. I am operating under the assumption that it will. Under my assumption, wouldn't it make more sense to pull the Red Line out of the trench than let it sit there and wither invisibly while cars speed by on the visible land above?

 

If the OC Boulevard is built and the rail line isn't consolidated in the middle of it, here's what I see happening:

 

1. RTA puts express buses on the OC Boulevard, heading toward Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights, via UC. Their staff has already told me this is a desire of theirs.

 

2. Single-level, low-density light-manufacturing plants and distribution centers are built along the OC, sitting behind parking lots, making them difficult to serve with transit. This style of development is the preference for industrial and commercial users because it puts all production/distribution on the same floor. The promise of these jobs will be too enticing for city officials to insist on more compact land uses.

 

3. While overall transit ridership goes up, a percentage of the rail ridership is diverted to the express buses. RTA staff look at their worsening balance sheets and see the glaring rail expenses in their operating and capital budgets. Even though rail represents 11 percent of RTA's ridership, it comprises 26 percent of RTA's 5-year $524 million capital budget and a like amount of its operating budget.

 

4. As RTA began facing a budget crisis in 2005, RTA raises fares (if they haven't done so already by the time the OC Boulevard is opened) and further reduces rail service frequencies on the east-side rail lines to cut back their cost per hours of service. Ridership on the rail lines slides further.

 

5. By 2020, despite a total rebuilding of the light-rail and heavy-rail fleets 10-15 years earlier, the equipment is nearly 40 years old and continue to show their age. RTA cannot justify afford to replace them with new equipment at their current fleet levels. RTA decides to replace the Green Line and the east-side Red Line with express buses. RTA orders high/low-floor light-rail vehicles and sells the old rail fleets while they still have some useful miles left on them. The new equipment comprising the much smaller rail fleet is used to combine the Red Line on the west side with the Blue Line on the east side as a single route. The Waterfront Line is operated by historic trolleys during special events.

 

Don't laugh. RTA isn't sure how it's going to be able to afford the operating and maintenance costs associated with the Euclid Corridor! Expect a fare increase soon, and if gas prices keep going up, expect service cuts to accompany the fare increase. RTA has the WORST performing rail lines in the U.S. and while I've argued that TOD will help change that, RTA has made only token gestures to pursue TOD. The only thing that keeps RTA from ripping up the rail lines is that they represent a 50+ year investment and would rather just maintain them than expand them. I say that two of the oldest rights of way be modernized to reduce operating costs with the financial assistance of an interested project partner -- ODOT.

 

Those two rights of way are the 85-year-old elevated Shaker line between East 93rd-Kinsman, including its substantial bridge structures. The other is the Red Line between Kinsman and University Circle, which was built in the late 1920s by the Van Swerigens. While the tracks and stations were built in 1955 and much of it since rebuilt, the bridges, catenary poles and concrete retaining walls were all built more than 75 years ago. The reconstruction or replacement of infrastructure along these two rights of way will come due someday, and the cost will be substantial.

 

Wouldn't it make more sense to join with ODOT now and share the costs of a new right of way, rather than wait to shoulder the full cost of modernizing two rights of way in the next decade or two? I believe the very existence of these rail lines in the not-too-distant future is at stake. And, unless state and federal policy is more supportive of transit in the future, I am convinced this is the only way to save the quantity of rail transit we have on the east side.


"Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you Buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it." -- Gordon Gekko.

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Good god.  Is the head cheese at RTA appointed?  Can someone please call Frank Jackson and nominate KJP?!  (or at least ask KJP who is right for the job if he doesn't want it)

 

Seriously, KJP your answers are almost always well thought out and well written.  Such clear and reasoned thinking is needed at RTA. 

 

Keep up the good fight.

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Shoot me first, then make me general manager.  :shoot:


"Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you Buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it." -- Gordon Gekko.

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it's insane to think that odot is finally tenatively coming around to supporting rail investment just at the time when rta is backing off. so in that spirit, i am heading down to charlotte to get some hair clippings from ron tober's barber, maybe someone at the cleveland clinic can clone him and we can install him back to run rta!!! frankentober is better draculabrese.

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^ Not true. Tober has a track record of building beyond the capability of the transit system's revenues to sustain itself. He did it in Seattle and he did it in Cleveland. In both places, the transits were faced with serious budgetary problems as a result of his over-building. Now, he's doing the same thing in Charlotte.

 

There are a select few pro-urban, pro-transit people at ODOT. One of them is John Motl, a modes olanner at District 12. And he was likely the person who put the bug in Craig Hebebrand's ear about rail in the Opportunity Corridor. It's not insane that ODOT made the overture. I have a copy of the e-mail Hebebrand sent to RTA. He really did say it!

 

Tomorrow's the meeting between ODOT and RTA. All that I'm hoping for is that RTA says: "We can't afford rail in the OC right now but maybe we might in the future. Go ahead and study it so we can see what the numbers look like, and so we can make an informed decision."


"Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you Buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it." -- Gordon Gekko.

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KJP,

 

been on the run but have wanted to address some of your comments -- guess it'll have to be piecemeal [rippin’ ‘n runnin’, holiday shopping; parties, & all, you understand]. 

 

One thing that I take issue with your take on the expense of the old Rapid right-of-ways and the costs to maintain them.  In Philly, among other places out east, they have ROWs, supports and wire much older than RTA's, (which is what, 75 year-old?), in particular Philly’s famed Main Line, which went electric, I recall, before WWI, and whose superstructure was the 1st of the old Penna RR’s original service to Pittsburgh spanning the state of, you guessed it: Pennsylvania.  What's more, much of the structure and bridge supports on those old lines (including the former Reading Co. lines which were united in the 80s Center City commuter tunnel) were built back when Abe was in the White House -- many bridges carrying still have wooden beam supports over streets – some bridges over tracks are so old, only one auto in each direction can pass.  Philly’s a lot like London and England, in many ways.  It’s rather neat, in my book, on that score.

 

Keep in mind that, re the Shaker ROW from Woodhill to Tower City, it has been completely rehabbed, over the course of the decade since the WL went online -- at the cost of $millions.  The Ambler Rd. bridge was the last to rehabbed.  One engineer I know said its good for another 100 years.  As for the couple mile stretch of Red Line from the current junction (which, itself, was rebuilt just a year ago to replace those old tunnels), there's no rebuilding to do: it sits entirely in a trench from E. 55 all the way to the MLK overpass (what, 3 miles?)  What's to rebuild?  Where’s all this money we’re supposed to be saving if it’s practically all sunk costs – costs already borne by taxpayers.  Besides, even if you want to rebuild the wire support bridges (which, again, I've seen much older, esp w/ Eastern and Chicago commuter RRs), these can be done one by one.  Indeed, I believe RTA has been doing that on main portion where all 3 lines share track into TC.

 

Then there’s that little issue of rerouting/rewiring RTA’s multi-million dollar, gold-plated cab signals program they installed in the late 80s.  Sounds like your proposal would just burn more money for very little benefit.  (plus, you still didn’t address my Qs about the “benefits” of this highway to the low/mod income folks living there.

 

As for any idea that, say, the Green Line would be converted to buses:  forget it.  Shaker Hts may be a tired, old "inner ring" burb to some, but it still houses some of the highest cost RE owned by some of the state's most powerful individuals.  The Shaker Rapid -- today's Blue/Green lines, are as much a part of the heritage of that grand old community as those giant Georgians and Tudor's lining Shaker, S. Woodland, N. Park and South Park, among others.  Not to mention the fact that Shaker Hts., like Cleveland and E. Cleve (you yourself noted in your TOD thread) are seriously and finally pursuing TOD activity across all the existing rail lines – seems like a bad time to discuss rail “poor performance” and abandonment, esp after the gasoline nonsense that we’ve recently suffered – and whose to say, at a whim, we won’t be paying, say, $5, $6/gallon next year?  They do it in Europe.  Israel, etc. 

 

Bottom line, if Joe C and his cronies even hinted of swapping their service for buses, they'd be in the unemployment line faster than you can say... ECP.

 

As for ending Windermere service, I think Case Western U. and their growing and powerful Univ Hospitals would have a few things to say about that.  The high-density growth around the current U. Circle stations is already bumping up rail ridership, esp near the Hospitals and the new Case dorms, and the big development at the Triangle (no, not the so called “Forgotten Triangle”, but the one at Euclid-Mayfield, hasn’t even gotten off the ground in earnest).. and Scott Wolstein, and others, may question turning the Waterfront Line into a tourist "Heritage Trolley" -- weak though the WL may currently be.

 

As much as I object to just about every premise you lay out on the subject, at least I appreciate your honesty and candor (more than anyone could expect from RTA).  At least we know the powers that be really do hope and plan for the abandonment for most of the East Side rapid rail service -- a move that would be unprecedented in the annals of American rapid transit -- at least since GM's Nat'l City Lines coordinated their 40s/50s campaign to buy out and condemn most of the streetcars and interurbans of yesteryear...

 

... at least I don't look like some wild-eyed conspiracy theorist.  Your incite gives my 'paranoia' some juice... again, thanks much.

 

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