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Cleveland: Opportunity Corridor Boulevard

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I haven't had the courage to ask!


"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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Thought you all might get a kick out of this little graphic I put together. This represents about 215 new single-family homes (in addition to the 50 or so still standing in the area), 630 multi-family units, 50 live-work units, roughly 200,000 square feet of ground-floor retail/restaurants and some 50,000-100,000 square feet of office/medical space. All of this is a very broad brush of course, but I developed this to get a handle on possible ridership from a TOD at East 79th and the Opportunity Corridor. Consider that about 20 percent of TOD residents and visitors typically use transit each day.

 

My guesstimate is that the ridership at this station would be about 700 transit trips per day, or approximately 255,000 additional transit trips per year. (By the way, I envision the joint Rapid-NEOrail station would a part-time station, since NEOrail commuter trains would likely operate rush-hours only, at least for the foreseeable future, so having two stations so close together wouldn't slow down Rapids all day). But, a single station might be considered, between East 79th and the NEOrail route (which are 1,750 feet apart at that latitude).

 

oc_e79_tod-s.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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What did you do? Walk to Kinsman or Woodland?


"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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What did you do? Walk to Kinsman or Woodland?

 

ended up calling a friend. I explained my situation to a few other dead train operaters who stopped to contemplate a random white guy standing on a platform. They basically told me "call a cab" and "sucks to be you"

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Sorry about your life, pope!

 

KJP, great graphic.  Were you able to share this with anyone at ODOT, RTA, Cleveland or NOACA yet?  This is the type of thing that we need to really drive our development agenda surrounding ginormous infrastructure investments like the Opportunity Corridor intends to be.

 

At present, we're talking about throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at Innerbelt work that will do nothing to improve the situation for surrounding neighborhoods.  That's a huge waste if you ask me!  The Opportunity Corridor, on the other hand, aspires to be a huge economic development tool and I think that TOD and your proposals in particular are a necessary part of it.

 

I'd gladly write letters to officials that have seen or should see this.  Any names you'd like to drop?

 

One final note, the housing element over here is a no brainer as well.  The economic and development impact of the successful projects in Central along Woodland in the E. 30s is already spreading east.  Rysar, for example, recently bought a run down old development on Woodland next to the cemetery and is planning on rehabbing the units, in addition to adding another 100 or so new homes...all for sale at market rates!

 

Imagine the potential along this corridor...

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I wish that University Circle could truly be a "Dual Hub."  It would be very difficult to do, but it would be great if the Blue and Green lines split from the redline at the University Circle station.  When I think about living in Shaker Square, it would be great if there was direct rail transit to University Circle.  The community circulator is nice, but it still leaves you stuck in traffic.

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oh yeah, there was a point to my story, after standing at the platform for a while, KJPs graphic demonstrates how amazingly obvious and easy/simple some of these TOD projects could be. Especially since i did really nothing but stare at the empty lots and the standing housing stock.

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I wish that University Circle could truly be a "Dual Hub."  It would be very difficult to do, but it would be great if the Blue and Green lines split from the redline at the University Circle station.  When I think about living in Shaker Square, it would be great if there was direct rail transit to University Circle.  The community circulator is nice, but it still leaves you stuck in traffic.

 

But what about the people who live on Shaker Blvd between 79 & Shaker Square.

 

I like the Shaker Rapid the way it is!

 

I suggest changing the Red Line to an Express and Local line.  where one train stops at every station and other trains on a second set of tracks hits stations like Airport, Brookpark, W117, W65, TC, E55 Univ. Circle and Windermere.

 

I've also thought how nice it would be to have a line starting on south / north moreland, fairhill right into the wade oval traveling down to UC.  =

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But what about the people who live on Shaker Blvd between 79 & Shaker Square.

 

I like the Shaker Rapid the way it is!

 

The Dual Hub Corridor envisioned the Blue/Green lines heading north from Shaker Boulevard at East 116th, then following Doan Creek/Fairhill/MLK to University Circle.

 

Here's the beauty of running the Rapids down the Opportunity Corridor:

1. the Blue/Green lines stay along Shaker to its westernmost endpoint;

2. it offers a transfer point with the Red Line at Buckeye/OC Blvd to University Circle that involves traveling 3 less miles by rail from Shaker to UC;

3. it opens the possibility of a wye track at the location mentioned in #2 for some westbound Blue or Green line trains to make a right turn and go to University Circle, but that would probably be done only if a "sufficient" number of people are making transfers in the arrangement in #2

 

I hear a big industrial park is planned for the area where I've proposed the East 79th TOD. Too bad, cuz my back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest this TOD and another at Buckeye could generate up to 500,000 new rides annually for RTA. And that's a very conservative estimate!


"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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But after what I heard about that site being preferred for an industrial park, all of this is probably just academic. It was fun doodling it, though.

 

An industrial park...Another failure of local imagination like the Inner Belt!


"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,

 

That area is already pretty much exclusively an industrial zone.  At least half of the area is abandoned with some serious brownfield issues.  Orlando Bakery is also located there.  They employ a lot of people and desperately need to expand. 

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Given the amount of land, I don't see why it all has to become industrial. In fact, the area where Orlando Bakery is would stay industrial and have triple the area of industrial land for them to expand onto under my scenario (that's the brown area to the upper-left of the TOD). There is plenty of land for industrial/commercial AND for high-quality neighborhood uses.

 

With the Opportunity Corridor shaping up as a low-density commercial corridor and the Inner Belt eviscerating the east and south sides of downtown, I sense the city is losing a major opportunity to remake itself. It can become an urbane 21st century community of brains, not braun that was Cleveland's hallmark of first half of the 20th century. And all the mistakes we made in the last half of that century, that eroded a dense and diverse city, are being repeated merely because that modus operandi is familiar to us.


"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 can re-check some maps and let you know. I wouldn't worry at this point. The maps look at the current uses and show how previously isolated industrial acres would become open to redevelopment. There are not any concrete zoning plans for anything at this point. Its way too early in the process.

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^ Yeah, I suspected, but I'm just in a wiggin'-out mood. Lots of little things have not gone well today.


"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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By the way MGD, I have not sent that graphic to anyone other than posting it here on the forum. I drew the graphic Wednesday night (Feb. 8 ), so I haven't had any time yet to distribute it. But feel free to print it out and attach it to a letter to folks like Councilman Cimperman, Mayor Jackson, RTA's Joe Calabrese, NOACA's Howard Maier and ODOT's John Motl.

 

In fact, if you have a color laser printer, could you save an extra printout for me? I've not been able to afford replacing the toner cartridges in my printer for a long time and it will be a while before I can swing the expense! I know, very pathetic....


"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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This second TOD (below) represents about 245 new single-family homes (in addition to the 25 or so still standing in the area), 565 multi-family units, 50 live-work units, roughly 150,000 square feet of ground-floor retail/restaurants and some 25,000-50,000 square feet of office/medical space. Like the other TOD estimate, this is a very broad brush. Considering that about 20 percent of TOD residents and visitors typically use transit each day. My guesstimate is that the ridership at this Buckeye/OC TOD would be about 600 transit trips per day (or about 219,000 trips per year).

 

oc_buckeyetod-s.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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Nice job.  I think I see that you left St. Elizabeth's intact on Buckeye.  Its on the National Register of Historic Places.  I know that Micelli's is located in that area as well, but I am not exactly sure where.  They are another good company that the city would not want to hinder.

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I really like these TOD designs that you're showing, KJP.  If anything, though, I might scale back the retail component.  We have so much vacant retail space and even 800-900 new units of residential supports surprisingly little retail.

 

It looks like there is plenty of potential for further housing infill to the SE of the station, as well.  Are you thinking about further TOD at the next Blue/Green Line and Red Line Stations?

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Thanks. I estimated the square footage for the residential and then based my retail estimate by dividing the total residential square footage by six and then by eight. That's half the retail-to-residential/office ratio of Crocker Park and equivalent to that which Stark proposes for downtown. I figure I should use the lesser retail quantity for this two TODs. But my goal was to make it possible to live within a half-mile of the Rapid system and be able to take care of much of your day-to-day needs (work/school, shopping, recreation etc) without having to venture more than half-mile from the Rapid system. Plus, some of the retail can be exchanged for civic/recreation uses, community theaters, social/public assistance needs and so on.

 

BTW, I didn't have much time to delve into developing a TOD concept in the area near the Woodhill station. I needed get these land-use maps done in advance of a meeting tomorrow morning.


"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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Yes, but the meeting was postponed until later this month.


"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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Sorry about your life, pope!

 

KJP, great graphic.  Were you able to share this with anyone at ODOT, RTA, Cleveland or NOACA yet?  This is the type of thing that we need to really drive our development agenda surrounding ginormous infrastructure investments like the Opportunity Corridor intends to be.

 

MGD, I was meeting with Tim Donovon today of the Ohio Canal Corridor who mentioned that those two TOD graphics have found their way to ODOT (or, actually, that ODOT found their way to them). A meeting on an unrelated subject was held recently in which someone congratulated John Motl (I understand second-hand that he's one of the good guys at ODOT) on the TOD graphics. He corrected the person, saying it was me who did the imagery. I couldn't pick Motl out of a lineup, but would like to meet him someday.

 

Anyway, the word has gotten out, but nothing will happen unless RTA says they want ODOT to include in their analyses a median rail line. Keep sending the communications to RTA (GM Joe Calabrese and Board President George Dixon). Contact info is available in another message I posted earlier in this string.


"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 modified the East 79th graphic near the top of this page to more accurately portray and emphasize the scale of the industrial sites in the Opportunity Corridor.

 

Here's another graphic (below), to show the juxtaposition of fixed-route transit services in the Greater Cleveland area (current, under construction, planned and proposed). Planned and proposed as still-active is a Lorain-to-Akron area NEOrail route, which is authorized to receive funding (no amount specified) in the recently passed federal surface transportation reauthorization. Also, RTA has the Cleveland-Akron route in its long-range capital budget to advance the planning. And the Waterfront Line extension is in the city's lakefront plan.

 

ocneo00-s.jpg

 

Note one of the service flexibilities of the Opportunity Corridor Rapid Line/Route consolidation.... The combined Red/Blue/Green line crosses the NEOrail route at a single location, as opposed to the current situation of the Red Line crossing it a bit farther north and the Blue/Green Line crossing it a bit farther south.

 

Consider the benefits of this joint NEOrail-consolidated Rapid line station:

 

+ It would allow someone riding a NEOrail commuter train from Summit County or Southeastern Cuyahoga County to be able to easily connect with rapid transit to Tower City, University Circle, Hopkins Airport and two rail lines into Shaker. Consider the ease of reaching University Circle--almost a straight shot by rail (as opposed to the roundabout routing via the region's most congested highways).

 

+ For Cleveland and inner-suburban residents wishing to reach jobs in the booming areas of northern Summit County (or western Cuyahoga County), rail transit lines would approach the joint Rapid-NEOrail station from four directions, with additional access from numerous bus lines. It's an ideal location for such a collector point -- any other station location along the NEOrail line would negate access from one or both of the Rapid lines, or involve making additional transfers.

 

+ For a NEOrail customer going to the airport without this joint station would require two transfers (one from the commuter train to the Waterfront Line and another from the WFL to the Red Line). With the joint station on the OC Boulevard, only one transfer is needed (a joint station could be offered at West Boulevard, but this station would be more costly to build and requires a NEOrail extension west of downtown Cleveland into Kucinich Country).

 

+ For Shaker Heights or University Circle residents wanting to go to the lakefront, they would have a more direct, faster route by NEOrail than what is currently available by all-Rapid. I estimate the NEOrail trip from the Opportunity Corridor station (as a point of traveler decision-making) to the lakefront would be about 10-15 minutes, versus 17-33 minutes for the existing Rapid services (the 33 minutes is assumed for travel involving all Red Line trains and most Green/Blue line trains, accounting for transfers to the Waterfront Line).

 

+ NEOrail would also give Shaker Heights residents a faster transit trip to the MidTown area (I assume a NEOrail-Silver Line-East 55th/Euclid station would be desired--MidTown Inc. has it in their long-range masterplan).

 

Without the Opportunity Corridor and a consolidated Rapid line in its median, two NEOrail stations would be needed at present, which is highly unlikely for these reasons:

 

> NEOrail trains would be regional commuter trains, which typically make station stops every 3-15 miles. These two stations serving the two Rapid lines are just 2,000 feet apart -- too close for commuter trains to make dual station stops and too far to ask customers to walk twice each day.

 

> The existing Red Line station at East 79th could be retrofitted to provide access to an immediately adjacent commuter rail station on the overhead NEOrail line, but the Blue/Green line station at East 79th is about 2,000 feet from the NEOrail line.

 

> Both station sites are in troubled neighborhoods. The Blue/Green line passes through a formerly high-density residential area that has a great deal of vacant land for redevelopment using transit-supportive land uses. The Red Line (in the vicinity of the East 79th station) is in a trench which it shares with a moderately busy freight railroad line, and is surrounded by active and abandoned industrial structures (many of which are contaminated sites) that seriously compromise the station area's potential to be redeveloped with transit-supportive land uses.

 

> Building a joint NEOrail-Blue/Green Line station will be very costly owing to the Rapid line crossing the NEOrail route on a large truss bridge that continues west of the NEOrail tracks for a short distance, requiring a full complement of overhead walkways, ramps, escalators or elevators. Furthermore, this site is not very visible to passersby or street traffic, making it difficult for the community to police it. A similar situation exists on the Red Line, as it is located in the railroad trench. It will also require at least one elevator, and possibly as many as three -- again in a unsecure setting.

 

> With the Rapid lines consolidated in the median of the Opportunity Corridor, a very simple and low-cost (to build, operate, maintain and secure) station could be built to link the Rapid line with the overhead NEOrail route. A signaled crosswalk from a Rapid station in the median of the OC Boulevard would get transit customers to the side of the boulevard where the NEOrail station access is located. NEOrail station platforms would be on the west and east sides of the two-tracked Norfolk Southern freight route (which could be triple-tracked in the near future), reached from the street by switchback ramps and stairwells (no elevators or escalators). Grade-separated pedestrian access would be via the boulevard sidewalk, under the NEOrail tracks. With platforms built over the busy boulevard (like at the Cedar, Superior or West 117th Red Line stations), passengers waiting at the station would be highly visible.

 

Is that enough to chew on for a while?


"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,

 

Is all this a possible reality in the Cleveland area?  I am a rail freak, and would love to see this stuff happen!  I am not even a fraction as informed as you about possible projects when it comes to rail in Cleveland and NE Ohio, but reading this stuff made me pretty excited! (maybe I need to get laid more!)  Is there anyway RTA and there anti rail attitude will somehow screw all this up and turn it into another highway that only allows buses that LOOK like trains on it!?!?!  If the NEohio rail thing happens, I hope it spurs more light rail lines around the city(region)....

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All of these projects and concepts are formalized to some degree by the city, CDCs, RTA, Congress and so on. But consolidating the Rapid lines in the OC Boulevard median is just an idea that exists in my over-active imagination and which hasn't been formalized yet by any public body. I hope to change that, and it needs to start with RTA. So if you want to see these things happen, get the word out to RTA, to Cleveland City Council representatives, to the CDCs and so on. RTA has a lot of stuff on their plate, and the only thing that will get their attention is noise (harmonies are better!).

 

Will RTA seek this? Right now, there's no way to know. Only if they can be convinced that simply offering bus service on the OC Boulevard is not beneficial to them. I think I've shown that, because it creates an oversupply of transit service in the area -- already served by two parallel rail Rapid transit lines that are not performing well. I contend that there already is an oversupply of transit there, given the abandonment which that area has seen.

 

So what do you do?

 

Like a business, you use someone else's money to reduce your capital costs, your operating costs and increase your revenues....

 

> Use ODOT funding to create your right of way (the OC Boulevard median).

> Develop TODs at west-side stations by recognizing that those station parking lots are untapped cash machines. Use federal CMAQ funds (through NOACA) to build parking decks to avail land for development.

> That development will generate parking/real estate revenues for RTA.

> Use those revenues to float bonds to raise funding up-front for the local share of the OC Boulevard rail facility construction costs. Leverage federal funding for the remainder (at least a 50/50 matching basis).

> Sell the abandoned portions of the Blue/Green and Red lines to reimburse part of the capital costs, or to undertake other transit capital investments.

> Work with the city, the CDCs, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and developers to develop the areas around stations with walkable neighborhoods, which in turn would be surrounded with light/heavy industrial uses.

 

Add all that up, and RTA has just reduced its operating cost centers, replaced two 70- to 80-year-old rail transit routes with one brand-new route, created potent ridership/revenue generators in the Forgotten Triangle (as well as at the West Side stations), enhanced the connectivity of transit routes and turned an economic dead zone into a highly accessible magnet for jobs, housing, shopping and upward economic mobility.

 

I don't think I can state it more plainly than that.


"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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Here is a link to revised report I drafted on including a consolidated rail line in the OC Corridor. Enjoy, but dial-up users beware that the document is 2MB. If it doesn't load properly right away, try clicking the link again....

 

http://members.cox.net/neotrans/OpportunityCorridorRapidREV.pdf


"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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wow that is awesome work kjp. very concise and saleable too, which is so important for the key people who need to see it. my only worry is that they would take your plan and the new parkway as an excuse to get rid of the rail altogther and put in their steenkin pet project brt busses instead. so i hope you could tweek it to include more benefits of fixed rail before it gets passed along too much.

 

actually another & bigger fear is that rta will sit back and just let odot run the show and that means new highway only. so this draft report would help promote more rta involvement and set up a true win-win possibility. what a great, heartening and visionary read. you know its funny to talk about being visionary when a plan like that is really just common sense isn't it?

 

bottom line is that oh man, if rta cannot look at something like that and become enthused and involved in this gift horse of an opportunity i dk what to say. esp since this kind of planning is what they should have been doing all along and now here it is done for them.

 

 

 

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Wow KJP... awesome work.  Trust me, I'm on my hands and knees right now praying that they look at your plan with the exact same enthusiasm it has created here on this forum.  I must admit, I share the same fears as mrnyc with regard to BRT; we can only hope that they are able to see the increased opportunity for development with an investment in the existing Rapid system.  Again though, great work!!!

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Thanks for the feedback. I don't think RTA will get rid of the rail service if they add buses to the OC Boulevard, at least not intentionally. They have too much invested in the rest of the Red Line on the East Side to simply throw it away. And two more stations are in the redevelopment pipeline -- East 55th and relocating East 120th to midway between Mayfield and Euclid.

 

Having said that, I believe that adding buses to the OC Boulevard for access into the heights would weaken all East Side rail lines, and lead to the eventual downgrading or possibly abandoning one of them (namely, the east-side Red Line). I referred to that rail-weakening in this revised report. Odd thing, as RTA tries to limit increases in service hours, adding duplicate bus service to OC Boulevard would cause an increase in their service hours.


"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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Well, this plan here is what really makes the project into an "Opportunity Corridor".  That nomenclature bugs the crap out of me - opportunity for what, Strongsville residents to shave a couple minutes off their commutes to the Clinic and UC?  Whee..  Without something comprehensive such as that which KJP outlines here it's just an "Access Boulevard" to me, and should be declared as such.  This plan appears to offer real development opportunities to this corridor - well done.

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Well, this plan here is what really makes the project into an "Opportunity Corridor".  That nomenclature bugs the crap out of me - opportunity for what, Strongsville residents to shave a couple minutes off their commutes to the Clinic and UC?  Whee..   Without something comprehensive such as that which KJP outlines here it's just an "Access Boulevard" to me, and should be declared as such.  This plan appears to offer real development opportunities to this corridor - well done.

 

Matches,

The "opportunity" is to open up acreage to industrial redevelopment. 

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I noticed a few typos in the report, so I corrected them and put the updated report at the same web location as I listed several messages ago.


"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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Matches,

The "opportunity" is to open up acreage to industrial redevelopment. 

 

So they say.  I'm saying they couldn't sell "Access Boulevard" so now it's the "Opportunity Corridor."  That kind of fluff bugs the crap out of me.  Incorporating transit in this corridor is where the real "opportunity" (for TOD, revitalization, etc) lies.

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