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Cleveland: Transit Ideas for the Future

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1 hour ago, KJP said:

 

Never heard of a lease-to-buy situation when it comes to railroads. Users of rail corridors either lease them or buy them.

 

 

Because they either don't think it's necessary and/or don't think it will pass. They would rather cut services/raise fares to make ends meet. They see Greater Cleveland as a dying community to which they're just along for the ride in however things end up. They don't see transit as an economic development instigator.

Sounds like they’re doing a solid job.

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@KJP Is it fair to say that Birdsong has done nothing whatsoever since coming in to RTA? It sure seems like it to this, more than causal, observer. 


And they reckon that the last thing she saw in her life was
Sting, singing on the roof of the Barbican

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2 hours ago, roman totale XVII said:

@KJP Is it fair to say that Birdsong has done nothing whatsoever since coming in to RTA? It sure seems like it to this, more than causal, observer. 

 

Nothing spectacular, no. However, the deal with Carnegie for the Ohio City station is pretty innovative.

 

She will step away later this year as she will go on maternity leave. Dr. Carver will likely serve as interim GM again.

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7 hours ago, Watertiger1962 said:

“They don't see transit as an economic development instigator”.

 That mentality has to change. I would think with one of the most successful BRT lines in the country, RTA would look at expanding heavy rail, light rail or BRT services. 

The HealthLine is a joke.  It is perceived as a successful BRT line because its rider counts are falsely inflated numbers.  RTA's officials cite the "increase" in ridership as compared to the counts of the preceding routes 6 and 6a that traveled from the Stokes-Winderemere and University Circle Rapid Transit Stations to Public Square via Euclid Avenue.  They omit the fact that several other bus lines also traveled downtown and ignore those rider counts from the overall comparison.  Some routes operated significant portions of the day downtown and others offered rush hour service downtown.  When the HealthLine started operation, RTA discontinued running those other routes downtown.  If somebody wanted to ride a bus to get downtown, they had no other choice but to use the HealthLine.

 

A strong argument can be made stating that the HealthLine did more to hurt the overall system ridership than help.  A bus trip downtown, already rather long from eastern Cuyahoga County, became longer.  A transfer takes time, even if a HealthLine bus is waiting for passengers.  If there isn't a HealthLine bus at the transfer point, people had to wait.  In addition, the buses from the outer routes made significantly fewer stops than the HealthLine buses.  More stops add to commuting time.  Many of those now truncated routes that once operated downtown provide a fraction of their former frequencies or have been completely discontinued.  People do not like long (and uncomfortable) bus rides and they don't like making transfers when they once had none to deal with.

 

It also doesn't help with RTA's financial picture as the HealthLine has well-publicized problems of people riding that line not paying fares.

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10 hours ago, JB said:

Why doesn’t RTA at least try to propose a levy like Laketran successfully did to try to raise revenue?

RTA was seriously talking about having ballot issues to increase the county's sales tax from its current 1.0%.  It can seek an increase to 1.5%.  At 1.0%, it is double the rate of what Columbus and Laketran's systems are funded (or any other transit system in the state).  The other option was to seek increased funding via a property tax increase.  As more and more bad publicity came out regarding the waste, theft, abuse and mis-management by the system's leaders, the board of trustees decided that either proposal would go down in flames on election day.

 

Furthermore, RTA has become an undesirable mode of transportation in the county.  Poor, infrequent or non-existent service coupled with lower gas prices, reasonable and abundant parking options make driving the commuting option of choice.  As jobs have left downtown, RTA has never adjusted service options for those companies that have grown in the suburbs.  Plus, people don't need transit or a car when they work from home.

 

Cuyahoga County already has the highest sale tax rate in the state.  It's property taxes are some of the highest in the state as well.  If people don't need or want the service that RTA provides and the system is plagued with massive problems, an increase to the tax burden will not be approved by the voters.

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^and now, after all these “studies” of the fiscal situation and potential route redesign, there hasn’t been a peep. Could’ve been a transformative moment, but instead was wasted.

 

I’m not sure if there are rules against this, but I always hoped they would diversify their portfolio similar to PHS. It would simultaneously bring in alternate revenue, increase ridership and spur other development. 😪 

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12 hours ago, LifeLongClevelander said:

Furthermore, RTA has become an undesirable mode of transportation in the county.  Poor, infrequent or non-existent service coupled with lower gas prices, reasonable and abundant parking options make driving the commuting option of choice.  As jobs have left downtown, RTA has never adjusted service options for those companies that have grown in the suburbs.  Plus, people don't need transit or a car when they work from home.

 

This rant isn't directed at you LifeLongClevelander.  I agree that that sentiment is widely shared, but it's shortsighted.  If we just say "RTA sucks" it won't be long before there is no RTA.  Our taxes will increase, however, and the desirability of living in Cleveland will fall.

 

Without transit, we will increasingly demand more and better roads out to outlying suburban jobs to absorb the volume of personal vehicles at rush-hour. Our taxes also fund road maintenance and repair, and we already have too many miles of roadway in Ohio to maintain in good condition.  Building more lanes is the opposite of economic efficiency in that situation. We subsidize the oil industry (including at the state level), which is another expense that we are paying for but not generally considering on the expense side of the ledger.  Oil prices are likely to fluctuate quite a bit and will rise significantly in the long term.  Low prices do not provide an incentive to maintain lower-quality wells or to spend vast sums to dig deeper or in deeper waters, etc.  While it seems that the day of the electric car is coming, and more electricity is coming from natural gas and renewable wind and solar, the roads are still asphalt.  Road maintenance that we cannot currently afford is only going to get more expensive in the long run.

 

More cars on the road also means also more pollution.  Even if we convert to all-electric and solar battery recharging, friction between tires and roadway lead to road wear, tire wear, and brake wear -- and those particles end up in our air and water. 

 

Spreading our jobs throughout the county also makes it much harder to have an efficient public transit system, making it even harder for the poor to get to their jobs.  And the working poor increasingly have all the jobs that require a physical presence -- it's the professional office-worker who is able to work from home.  And all this further increases wealth inequality in our community.  It's one thing to run a couple of buses from a central location in Cleveland to a central location in Solon -- but once you're in Solon how do you efficiently move people to the all the spread-out businesses?  I don't see how it can be done.

 

Transit greatly reduces, but does not eliminate those issues.  But when you're in a hole, stop digging.

 

So I disagree with those who argue that our first priority should be to provide what cannot be anything other than poor and inefficient transit from Cleveland out to "all the jobs" in Solon and other outlying suburbs.  Instead, I think we need to have a strong transit system in place in Cleveland first, then we can talk about running a line out to Solon. RTA should invest in a big way in TOD, own land and lease it to developers, to increase ridership while providing another source of revenue; and increase the quality of service in a more limited area (starting with the downtown rail loop we've been discussing forever).  The city should reduce the availability of cheap and abundant parking.  Make places in Cleveland that people want to visit and live near and make it easier to get around Cleveland without a car than it is with a car.  That will be a far more efficient use of our resources. 

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14 hours ago, LifeLongClevelander said:

RTA was seriously talking about having ballot issues to increase the county's sales tax from its current 1.0%.  It can seek an increase to 1.5%.  At 1.0%, it is double the rate of what Columbus and Laketran's systems are funded (or any other transit system in the state).  The other option was to seek increased funding via a property tax increase.  As more and more bad publicity came out regarding the waste, theft, abuse and mis-management by the system's leaders, the board of trustees decided that either proposal would go down in flames on election day.

 

Furthermore, RTA has become an undesirable mode of transportation in the county.  Poor, infrequent or non-existent service coupled with lower gas prices, reasonable and abundant parking options make driving the commuting option of choice.  As jobs have left downtown, RTA has never adjusted service options for those companies that have grown in the suburbs.  Plus, people don't need transit or a car when they work from home.

 

Cuyahoga County already has the highest sale tax rate in the state.  It's property taxes are some of the highest in the state as well.  If people don't need or want the service that RTA provides and the system is plagued with massive problems, an increase to the tax burden will not be approved by the voters.

 

So if we're choosing to support the sprawl, doesn't that mean that we want high taxes? Supporting pre-sprawl Greater Cleveland AND sprawl Greater Cleveland means financially supporting the infrastructure necessary to sustain and rebuild two communities -- the an older community and the newer community duplicating it. The pre-sprawl metro area is the one that existed before 1930 when all municipalities in Greater Cleveland were still growing and their densities were holding steady or intensifying. There was a minor sprawl occurring after World War II until about 1970 because the metro area was still growing in population even as the central city was slowly declining, although the overall density was dropping as the developed region spread, indicating the presence of sprawl. And after 1970s came the no-growth sprawl -- the worst kind of all. The Greater Cleveland area stopped growing in population and grew outward at a much faster rate. As people move farther out to avoid paying higher taxes necessary to rebuild older communities, thus forcing those taxes even higher, they ultimately demand services and infrastructure that require taxes until that infrastructure begins to age and requires even higher taxes. So they move farther out, pushed the edge of the developed area farther out and leave behind aging communities with less of a physical tax base necessary to renew itself, so the tax rates go up to compensate and more taxpayers are pushed farther out.

 

And that's why regional governments and urban growth boundaries exist in much of the developed world. 

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4 hours ago, KJP said:

 

So if we're choosing to support the sprawl, doesn't that mean that we want high taxes?

Here is the problem with high taxes and an increase in taxes to support RTA:  the general public does not want to pay higher taxes to fund an agency that is badly mis-managed and wastes a lot of money.  Most of the other major transit agencies in the state are currently funded by sales taxes except for Cincinnati (income tax) and Toledo (property tax).  The ones funded by sales taxes, aside from RTA, receive funding from 0.25% or 0.50% sales tax rates, while RTA receives 1.0% county sales tax.  Cuyahoga County is still the second largest county in the state in terms of population.  That should be more than enough in sales tax revenue.  The theft, waste and corruption in the system over many years has been extremely well documented.  The general manager was rewarded with contract renewals, pay raises and bonuses, even though the system was in a steep decline in ridership and services.  In a normal world, that sort of performance would have cost the general manager his job, not being rewarded for it.

 

To add to the problems, the county has high tax rates.  The sales tax (partly due to RTA) is the highest in the state.  Property taxes are high.  What do the residents get for high taxes?  Scandal after scandal of theft, corruption, waste and personal enrichment by its leaders.  It has been happening for decades.  The names change, but the scandals continue.  Even though taxes are high, services decline along with the overall quality of life.

 

Finally, many of the county's school districts are the worst performers in the state.  Year after year, the same districts are in the bottom 5% in performance.  More money thrown at the districts hasn't produced any measurable improvements in results.  The property taxes paid in these communities for these poor performing school districts contribute towards Cuyahoga County having collectively the highest property taxation rate in the state.

 

Has one ever wondered why there is urban sprawl in this area?  Maybe it is to get away from high taxes and quality of life issues.  They want to live where schools are better.  Taxes are a necessity of life.  Most people have problems paying high taxes that do little towards improving the community where they live.

 

   

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I think I just wasted a bunch of keystrokes that weren't comprehended. Let me try stating it another way.... The corruption, poor education, blight and taxes aren't pushing people outward anymore. Yes, 60-80 years ago they were but the outward push has been institutionalized and subsidized at the state and federal levels. The corruption/poor education/blight/taxes are chasing/being dragged behind wealthier people who are just as corrupt and that keep moving farther and farther out, subsidized by the people living in the older communities nearer the metro area's geographic center. So of course their taxes are higher. It's bad enough that it already costs more to rebuild old infrastructure than it does to build new infrastructure. Then add in the costs of older communities having to subsidize their own demise. Everyone keeps chasing nirvana in the next greenfield adjoining the previously built suburb rather than fighting for it where they already live. That nice suburb you live in today will be the next aging, tired, ill-maintained community 70 years from now, with young professionals leapfrogging over that ring of blight back into the urban core.

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1 hour ago, LifeLongClevelander said:

Has one ever wondered why there is urban sprawl in this area?  Maybe it is to get away from high taxes and quality of life issues.  They want to live where schools are better.  Taxes are a necessity of life.  Most people have problems paying high taxes that do little towards improving the community where they live.

 

Wide freeways and interchanges don't grow on trees.  The stuff is expensive!   I'm looking at you Avon Lake!  

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This is not the place for this sort of generalized sprawl discussion.

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Clevelanders for Public Transit pushes idea of a Flats Red Line station at the end of this article....

https://neo-trans.blogspot.com/2020/05/wolstein-goes-west-as-backer-of-flats.html?m=1

 

So, as a follow up to the idea of putting a Red Line station on the RTA viaduct above Canal Basin Park, it would probably cost about $20 million. That doesn't include possibly removing  the layover tracks and realigning the tracks across the viaduct so that the Greenway can be extended across the bridge.

 

An alternative could include operating circulator buses around the Flats but the buses would be stopped (and made unreliable) by bridges opened for passing ships and traffic resulting from the growth of the Flats as well as from the use of TNC's like Uber and Lyft on the Flats' narrow streets.

 

Plus, if you operate circulator buses (75% of the operating cost of a bus of any size is the driver) as frequently as the Red Line and during the same service hours, it would take two buses to provide 10-15 minute frequencies, 20 hours a day. Two buses x $140 for every vehicle service-hour x 20 hours x 365 days = $2,044,000.

 

The Red Line station will have an operating cost too but that would be limited to an elevator, lighting and salting. The cost could be about $25,000 to $50,000 per year.

 

So RTA saves money after 10 years by building the train station. And RTA can get a local TIF, state and federal funds to build/rebuild stations. It cannot get non-local funding for operating costs.

 

EDIT: if this station project was built partly as a connection point between the Red Line Greenway and the Towpath Trail, in partnership with the Cleveland Metroparks' extension of the Red Line Greenway across the bridge, RTA and the Metroparks could split the local share of the construction costs and the ongoing operating, maintenance and policing costs.

 

EDIT2: new and improved graphic....

 

Red Line mid-bridge station-2 platform-zoom.jpg

Edited by KJP
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I like this idea... unfortunately RTA is not as creative as you.  I wonder what the Metroparks would think of this plan?  Canal Basin really a connection to so many things here- plus it will be interesting to see what SW decides to do with its current HQ/R&D site plus the B&O Building which is now close to all of this development.

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I love it.  Part of the argument for this station should be that it serves not just the Columbus Road Peninsula, but also Scranton Peninsula and the Flats West Bank.  With all the development slated for all three of those areas, it should be a no-brainer- if RTA would realize it's role in creating and supporting urban development!

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A tweet thread....
Edited by KJP

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Has there been an endpoint identified for the Redline greenway?  Might it be the same endpoint as the towpath?  I looked for maps and barely saw any that get over the Cuyahoga river.  This might be a good tie-in project as the towpath is finishing up. 
    It seems that if other agencies are going to do the main lift on getting grants and it won’t cost them too much to run they might not need a 5 year study to decide if they could put in a stop there. 

Edited by audidave

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5 hours ago, audidave said:

Has there been an endpoint identified for the Redline greenway?  Might it be the same endpoint as the towpath?  I looked for maps and barely saw any that get over the Cuyahoga river.  This might be a good tie-in project as the towpath is finishing up. 
    It seems that if other agencies are going to do the main lift on getting grants and it won’t cost them too much to run they might not need a 5 year study to decide if they could put in a stop there. 

 

I couldn't find any maps that showed a definitive terminus near downtown. So an infill station above Canal Basin Park might be as good as any.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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On 5/21/2020 at 10:50 AM, mrclifton88 said:

I like this idea... unfortunately RTA is not as creative as you.  I wonder what the Metroparks would think of this plan?  Canal Basin really a connection to so many things here- plus it will be interesting to see what SW decides to do with its current HQ/R&D site plus the B&O Building which is now close to all of this development.

 

This is an interesting concept, but is it really worth the $20 million to invest in another rail station literally a few hundred feet away from one that already serves that area?  Just outside of the image image where the Waterfront Line's tracks curve under the Hope Memorial Bridge is RTA's Settlers Landing Station.  If money could be obtained for this new Red Line station, it could very well take away money from potential projects that would see far greater return or fill higher demanding needs.  From RTA's own rider counts, the existing station really doesn't serve a large number of passengers.

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The point though is this is the redline.  Instead of transferring to another train(waterfront) to go to the flats if one is coming from the east or west and really does want to go somewhere in the flats this is very convenient. This might be so convenient that people may choose not to drive and park in the flats which really is the goal. 

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Convenient, yes, but is the demand or need really there?  Is the potential demand enough to warrant spending $20 million when another alternative already exists?  RTA has been struggling to exist even before the Covid-19 crisis hit.  Their own statements have emphasized they have severe money issues.  They have not even identified the sources to fund the system-wide rail car replacement.  That $20 million could go towards purchasing 4 or 5 rail cars that they are desperately in need of acquiring.

 

Look at where the potential passenger traffic would come from.  I have serious doubts that the east side Red Line would significantly contribute towards any passengers using that proposed station.  Perhaps a few could come from the University Circle area.  Anybody coming from points east, beyond the ends of the existing rail lines, would more than likely use the Green or Blue Lines to get downtown.  Those riders already have a station in place at Settlers Landing.  They would not transfer to the Red Line to use that new station.  If somebody lives downtown, they have an option already with the Waterfront Line.  Those that could benefit would be west side Red Line users.  The question is that would that source of potential users be enough for such a major capital outlay.

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1 hour ago, audidave said:

The point though is this is the redline.  Instead of transferring to another train(waterfront) to go to the flats if one is coming from the east or west and really does want to go somewhere in the flats this is very convenient. This might be so convenient that people may choose not to drive and park in the flats which really is the goal. 

 

RTA could make this instantly more convenient by installing a direct transfer between the Red Line and Waterfront line at Tower City, without having to go outside the turnstiles.   Would would a wall between the two lobbies cost?   $10K?  

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16 minutes ago, Cleburger said:

 

RTA could make this instantly more convenient by installing a direct transfer between the Red Line and Waterfront line at Tower City, without having to go outside the turnstiles.   Would would a wall between the two lobbies cost?   $10K?  

 

Excellent point.  I even believe it is simpler than that.  I think the platform is continuous, but they have it gated off.  Put up a barrier between the wall and edge of the platform to eliminate the risk of falling on the tracks.  The wall(s) can be relocated to provide more space for passage between the two sides of the station.

 

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On 5/22/2020 at 11:50 AM, LifeLongClevelander said:

 

This is an interesting concept, but is it really worth the $20 million to invest in another rail station literally a few hundred feet away from one that already serves that area?  Just outside of the image image where the Waterfront Line's tracks curve under the Hope Memorial Bridge is RTA's Settlers Landing Station.  If money could be obtained for this new Red Line station, it could very well take away money from potential projects that would see far greater return or fill higher demanding needs.  From RTA's own rider counts, the existing station really doesn't serve a large number of passengers.

 

Point is, it wouldn't just be a group of stairwells/elevators/ramps etc between the bridge and ground for RTA passengers. It would also be an access point for the downtown end of the Red Line Greenway. What better location for this terminus than directly above the Towpath Trail, which is now under construction here?

 

As for the rail link, the Settlers Landing station is great if I'm headed to Shaker Square or to the Van Aken District (which has some amazing next phases coming!). But if I want to go to University Circle or the Airport, having to transfer sucks especially when the train I want is soaring past, right above my head.

 

I agree that this infill station is a tougher pill to swallow without the trail linkage. With it, the question becomes "Why aren't we putting a station here?"

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6 hours ago, KJP said:

"Why aren't we putting a station here?"

Would love to know just how many people are asking this question.  Where are the in-depth analysis reports backing up the call for significant demand or interest for this proposed station?  Right now, even before the COVID-19 pandemic set in, RTA, leadership was bemoaning the lack of money for capital projects.  They have so many other projects that need money just to maintain the services they have, $20 million could go a long way towards funding those projects.  There is no "bottomless pit" of money for RTA to dip into.  As for Red Line rapid transit cars "soaring by", they have had troubles even keeping enough of them in operation to provide basic service.  Until the rail fleet is replaced, it will be harder and harder to provide that basic service.

Hasn't this area seen enough of this "if you build it, they will come" mentality for projects that yield little based upon the money spent?   Until solid numbers are produced backing up this supposed demand, this is just a pipe dream that a few want the public to fund. 

 

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It's an idea, and exploring the idea is how to decide if it's a good one or not, and how to achieve it.  There's no need for someone like to you to come in and try to shut down discussion of it.

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What is wrong with questioning a proposed project and its feasibility?  $20 million isn't chump change.  RTA is cash-strapped and is getting close to being unable to provide the basic services that it was intended to provide.  There are many people who rely on RTA for their only means of transportation.  What happens if they cannot use the system to meet their basic needs--they cannot go to work, shop or go to the doctor?  If RTA cannot even provide enough serviceable rail cars, what point is it to build a station where they won't have any rapid transit cars to stop there. Unless some wealthy individual or corporation comes out funds this public project, who gets stuck with footing the bill?  The taxpayer. 

 

Where has the public been sold a bill of goods that ends failing miserably, but they get stuck with the cost?  Look no farther than the "Medical Mart".  Perhaps if there was more of a discussion and analysis of the information that was provided, it wouldn't have been undertaken.

 

Is this a forum fostering a healthy discussion and bringing up reasonable counterpoints or a one-sided lecture? 

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If only distant endpoints to and from were all that mattered to a train, it wouldn’t be very productive.  The stops in between are what build higher usage of the train.  To make whatever train cars there are left  more productive, is an idea worth pursuing.  We don’t even know that the money would affect RTA’s budget at all to do this project. 

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47 minutes ago, LifeLongClevelander said:

What is wrong with questioning a proposed project and its feasibility?  $20 million isn't chump change.  RTA is cash-strapped and is getting close to being unable to provide the basic services that it was intended to provide.  There are many people who rely on RTA for their only means of transportation.  What happens if they cannot use the system to meet their basic needs--they cannot go to work, shop or go to the doctor?  If RTA cannot even provide enough serviceable rail cars, what point is it to build a station where they won't have any rapid transit cars to stop there. Unless some wealthy individual or corporation comes out funds this public project, who gets stuck with footing the bill?  The taxpayer. 

 

Where has the public been sold a bill of goods that ends failing miserably, but they get stuck with the cost?  Look no farther than the "Medical Mart".  Perhaps if there was more of a discussion and analysis of the information that was provided, it wouldn't have been undertaken.

 

Is this a forum fostering a healthy discussion and bringing up reasonable counterpoints or a one-sided lecture? 

 

It was an idea that was just proposed on here a few days ago, and you're suggesting we shouldn't even be discussing it without reports and in-depth analysis of ridership potential, then saying we're not open to discussion?  You're all of 16 posts in, so maybe you don't need to be telling us what we should or shouldn't be talking about.

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6 hours ago, LifeLongClevelander said:

Would love to know just how many people are asking this question.  Where are the in-depth analysis reports backing up the call for significant demand or interest for this proposed station?  Right now, even before the COVID-19 pandemic set in, RTA, leadership was bemoaning the lack of money for capital projects.  They have so many other projects that need money just to maintain the services they have, $20 million could go a long way towards funding those projects.  There is no "bottomless pit" of money for RTA to dip into.  As for Red Line rapid transit cars "soaring by", they have had troubles even keeping enough of them in operation to provide basic service.  Until the rail fleet is replaced, it will be harder and harder to provide that basic service.

Hasn't this area seen enough of this "if you build it, they will come" mentality for projects that yield little based upon the money spent?   Until solid numbers are produced backing up this supposed demand, this is just a pipe dream that a few want the public to fund. 

 

 

Here's how transit plans become transit realities....

 

Guy like me proposes an idea to a small group, gets input, refines it (ie: what was done here).

Guy like me then takes it more people, usually community development types, to get more input, refines idea.

Guy like me then takes it to RTA staff who then tells me all the reasons why it won't work. I refine the idea.

Guy like me then takes it to elected officials, tells them RTA staffs hates the idea but might be willing to do it if someone gets them the money to conduct a feasibility study or, better yet, a project-level plan.

Elected officials secure money, tell RTA to study/plan it, which they do.

Plan shows the refined idea will work. RTA staff ask Board to add it to their strategic plan.

RTA now loves the idea. Advances the project level planning into preliminary engineering/environmental assessment, the final engineering, then construction.

On ribbon-cutting day, RTA tells everyone that they've been wanting to do this project for years and thanks elected officials for giving them the resources to make it happen.

Guy like me goes home happy because I'm not in it for the fame or money.

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17 hours ago, LifeLongClevelander said:

What is wrong with questioning a proposed project and its feasibility?  $20 million isn't chump change.  RTA is cash-strapped and is getting close to being unable to provide the basic services that it was intended to provide.  There are many people who rely on RTA for their only means of transportation.  What happens if they cannot use the system to meet their basic needs--they cannot go to work, shop or go to the doctor?  If RTA cannot even provide enough serviceable rail cars, what point is it to build a station where they won't have any rapid transit cars to stop there... 


It’s also important to understand that the money doesn’t, and more important CAN’T, come from the same places. If it was all the same source, then yes, other RTA projects would take priority. But it isn’t.  Federal matching is for new capital expenses, period. You can get federal money for new stations, extending lines, and sometimes rebuilding stations if specific new things are happening (like ADA Americans w Disabilities Act compliance).  Federal money typically makes up a big percentage of projects like this. It cannot be used for operating expenses.  It cannot be used for many of the necessary state-of-good repair items we know need to be fixed. So it is NOT a question of “what’s the best use of $20 million that RTA doesn’t have?”  Rather, the question is “what’s the best way to generate community interest and political clout to get more money for anything RTA related?”  @KJP specifically highlighted in his article the reasons why Metroparks might be interested in sharing costs on this proposal.  The thing he didn’t mention in this article (but has talked about before) is how the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is trying to extend downtown, and one potential end point is the old B&O terminal at Canal and Carter Roads, a short walk from this proposed station. How awesome would it be to get to anywhere in the CVNP or tow path trail directly from the Red Line?

 

Why do Metroparks levies pass?  Because everyone in the county uses them and most see the benefit of properly funding them. The most important thing that RTA needs to do is make themselves relevant to more people to increase their political support. Unfortunately most of the ways they could accomplish that are staggeringly expensive. But relatively small projects like this increase ridership. The development of projects in Ohio City (particularly Market Square / Intro) increase ridership.  And perhaps most important, any redevelopment of Rapid Station parking lots into Transit Oriented Development (TOD) will increase ridership. In turn, increased ridership increases political clout. Increased political clout makes it more likely that future levies pass. That’s the only way that RTA is going to get out of its current financial mass, much of it related to circumstances outside of their control, specifically sprawl and the stagnation of Northeast Ohio, both of which undermined the RTA sales tax passed in the 70s.

 

People don’t get excited about repair projects. People do get excited for new, useful stations and TOD. I’m all in for this proposal. 

Edited by Boomerang_Brian
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We have all seen lots of great ideas on this site, ideas to increase density around stations, improve connectivity, improve the rail system, etc.  Very few of the big ideas seem to be making any headway (of particular personal interest -- a downtown loop, and the lakefront intermodal bus/rail/rapid station).  I guess I'm just too impatient -- thank you for carrying the torch for so long, KJP!

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At RTA's citizen meetings, the rail car purchase issue comes up every now and then.  We got this high priced consultant that says we need light and heavy rail cars because of some HRT platforms cannot accommodate dual-level platform trains (Pittsburgh and St. Louis).  Projects like Ken's Canal Basin station would be well suited for these rail cars, so folks from Shaker Hts can ride to these west side destinations.

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2 hours ago, PaxtonMarley said:

At RTA's citizen meetings, the rail car purchase issue comes up every now and then.  We got this high priced consultant that says we need light and heavy rail cars because of some HRT platforms cannot accommodate dual-level platform trains (Pittsburgh and St. Louis).  Projects like Ken's Canal Basin station would be well suited for these rail cars, so folks from Shaker Hts can ride to these west side destinations.


@KJP was actively promoting the dual-level railcar idea for a while, but eventually he discovered that dual level cars aren’t possible on the RTA system - the difference between the platform heights is too much. You’d either have to rebuild all of the platforms or raise the track at Red Line stations. 
 

Now if you are suggesting to just build a separate platform for the Blue/Green cars at this proposed station (like how E55 station has separate platforms for Red and Blue/Green Lines), that could be interesting. Maybe if a low floor platform was also added to the W25 station, it might become worthwhile as a short extension of the Blue Line, enabling direct connections between Ohio City / West Bank Flats / Columbus Peninsula and Shaker Square / Van Akin Line. 

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Electric buses entering service in Washington state.

 

Quote

 

10 of BYD’s fully electric K9S buses have already arrived in Wenatchee — 8 before the COVID-19 crisis hit and 2 more recently. “We’ve been operating the first eight since mid-March and they have been a huge help to our system,” said Richard DeRock, General Manager of Link Transit. “They have far exceeded our expectations with their performance.”

 

The two 35-ft electric buses recently delivered were the first two BYD buses manufactured at BYD’s factory in Lancaster, California, since the coronavirus pandemic arrived. They each have a range of 215 miles on a full charge and seat up to 32 people. The buses can be fully charged in 3 to 4 hours. However, with on-route wireless charging via Momentum Dynamics, they’d basically never need to be charged from or near empty.

 

https://cleantechnica.com/2020/06/28/washington-transit-agency-getting-10-electric-buses-wireless-charging/

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23 hours ago, skiwest said:

 

Here's the direct link for the NOACA survey:

https://www.eneo2050.com/

 

There are also some upcoming virtual town hall sessions:

- Cleveland July 21

- Cuyahoga County Aug. 3

Register here:

https://www.eneo2050.com/virtual-public-meetings

 

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23 hours ago, skiwest said:

 

Oh I like this: a series of lunch & learn session, including one on Transit Oriented Design on August 20.  Sign me up!

 

https://www.eneo2050.com/lunch-learn-series

 

FYI, it seems registration doesn't open until July 7, for some reason.

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