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Cleveland: HealthLine / Euclid Corridor

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Hello. It has been a while since I posted, and I apologize for the absence. As some of you may know, as of July 1, I was given additional responsibilities. I am now Publications Manager AND Media Relations Manager, so I really have to prioritize all of my duties, and returning calls from reporters dominates my time. I see that many people have asked questions in the last few weeks. I am reviewing the questions, and will forward them on to people here who know more than I do. I will share the answers as I receive them.

 

Things are on schedule for the grand opening weekend, Oct. 24-25-26. Full revenue service starts on Monday, Oct. 27. I will share more details with you when they are final.

 

I can always be reached at jmasek@gcrta.org.

 

Thanks for missing me.

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I was disappointed to find that the contiguous stretch of open Euclid Avenue has already been disrupted east of 6th street, due to the demolition of the Dollar Bank Building.  It would've been nice if that were done earlier!  All the buses were being re-routed to Superior this morning.

 

There is a lot of work going on around Euclid Avenue, and that is good, because it shows the project is attracting new development. As our orange barrels disappear, you may find them replaced by barrels from other projects. There is nothing we can do about that. Our plans and timetable have been known to all for years.

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I think one of those articulateds would eat a trolley for breakfast...

 

FYI, as of Oct. 27, the E-Line trolley will return to its previous hours of 7am-7pm, so both trolleys will be on the same time frame. The Health Line will provide late-night service to Playhouse Square and CSU.

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They also seem to be in the process of replacing the old stations on superior with ones smiliar to the ones on the ECP. This evening the one in front of the fed was gone, and a new one was errected in front of the keith building.

 

A word, if I may, about terms, so if you are talking to someone, we all speak the same language. Rail lines have "stations", and the HealthLine is being added to RTA's rail map. The large enclosed structures on Euclid Avenue and Public Square are "stations." The small curbside structures are "shelters." Thanks.

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At one time a canopy of some sort was proposed for Playhouse Square - perhaps coming out of the theater buildings and hovering over the marquees?  I note this is one stretch with no trees and I think it looks a bit bare.  Also, we see these elegant marquees and all and yet the same stark lightpoles and other amenities.  I'd have thought this would have been a place for some sort of traditional and more decorative lighting, for example.  Many cities did, after all, bring back (or even keep) their old and dignified and graceful light standards for their "Main Streets" - or order replicas.  University Circle, of course, would also be an excellent choice.  Yes, I know it all costs a lot of dough but this could take higher priority to some of the other "public art" forms....

Also, and rather important, does anyone know what became of the plans for the bus substation that was to be located at the n.w. corner of Prospect and E. 21st?  I assume the parking garage currently being constructed between E. 21st and E. 22nd, between Prospect and Carnegie, is the property of CSU, but is GCRTA part of the mix for buses to be stationed in the piece between the garage and Prospect?  I've seen no announcement or publicity (even Steve Litt relates he is not aware of it) nor is there any sign up, even though construction has been going on several months.

Finally, does anyone know know what is going on along E. 83rd - across the street from the Play House parking lot?  Again, no sign!  The apt. houses that had stood there were to be used for individuals temporarily connected with the Play House but they got demolished....  McDonald's on Euclid end.  New townhouses?  Thanks!

 

1. I have never heard of such a marque covering being planned, but if it were, it is WAY out of the project scrope. I suggest you contact the staff at Playhouse Square.

 

2. According to federal guidelines, 1-5 percent of the construction costs must go to public art.

 

3. Plans are progressing for the East Side Transit Center. You should hear something concrete (no pun intended) later this year.

 

4. This is a private development. I suggest you contact Midtown Cleveland or UCI for details. If there is actual work being done, a building permit has to be on file at City Hall.

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That blizzard brought to you by RTA!


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

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These answers were provided by Mike Schipper, Deputy General Manager of Engineering and Project Support, who is supervising the Corridor project.

 

"We are aware of the tilting pedestrian lights. They are part of the Cleveland Clinic's work and are being addressed."

 

"The decision to go to an asphalt rehabilitation design from East 107 to the City Limit Line instead of the original concrete replacement concept was made in late 2003 as a cost savings to the project, in order for the project to be eligible for the FTA New Starts grant."

 

"On the gravel beds, the original design had many more of the beds from East 17th to the Innerbelt. However CSU committed to maintain grass in those beds adjacent to their campus so they were changed to grass. Other property owners would not commit to maintain grass in that area, so they have gravel per the original design."

 

"RTA is using the revenue from our naming rights agreements to have a dedicated maintenance crew to maintain the stations and station areas. The City of Cleveland is responsible for the maintaining the street lighting."

 

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I believe I am all caught up on your questions, but I know you will have others. I will make every effort to stop in more often, especially as the project races toward completion.

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Come to think of it, however, most of the tilted lightpoles are not in the Cleveland Clinic area.... :roll:

 

Exactly, and not necessarily pedestrian lights...  (Is it possible they do not realize?)

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just curious as mta has been giving these 'tryouts' this year, but were mercedes-benz citaro articulated busses or double-decker busses ever considered for the healthline?

 

mta-new-bus.jpg

side-acordion-bus.jpg

 

090808VanHool-Double-Decker-Bus.jpg

 

http://gothamist.com/2008/09/09/open_wide_for_the_mta_double_decker.php

 

^ "Manufactured by Van Hool of Belgium, the D Squared has a 450 HP engine with clean air technology, runs on "ultra low sulfur diesel," and seats 81, with 59 on the upper level and 22 seats on the lower level. By way of comparison, the city's articulated buses can seat just 62 riders and cost about $900,000, while the double-decker comes with a $650,000 price tag."

 

 

 

 

 

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The double-decker busses seem like a no brainer on the park-n-ride commuter bus lines!  Even if it's too much $ to increase frequency, there's twice the capacity!

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Were mercedes-benz citaro articulated busses or double-decker busses ever considered for the HealthLine?

 

"considered" is the key word here. I have no idea what project designers may have discussed and discarded, or what was even available at the time the purchase was made. To my knowledge, there was no public discussion of these options.

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I think there are several negatives on double decker busses

1. More limited space for wheelchairs and bicycles on board

2. More difficult to facilitate quick loading and unloading of passengers.

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I was a bit disappointed to see sections of the new roadway being removed west of E. 6th today (sorry I don't have pictures).  JMasek/Jetdog, can you provide some enlightenment as to why that had to occur?

 

 

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^I think it's safe to say that no "off-the-shelf" bus products fit the criteria for the ECP, so there were non to be considered.  For instance, the ECP has doors on both sides, the door docking system and the hybrid engine, none of which are part of the citaro lines.  So the question is really about the bidding process for fabricating a custom vehicle. 

 

According to  this article from Mass Transit Magazine (http://www.masstransitmag.com/print/Mass-Transit/BRT-Improving-the-Environment/1$3959), the ECP vehicle was the result of New Flyer (which makes the NYC's current high floored articulated buses) winning a joint bid for a custom vehicle issued by RTA and a transit authority from Eugene, OR.  I'd guess the criteria used to award the contract are publicly available via a FOIL request if you want to know the technical dirt.

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I think there are several negatives on double decker busses

1. More limited space for wheelchairs and bicycles on board

2. More difficult to facilitate quick loading and unloading of passengers.

Well besides that they often aren't as fuel efficient, don't fit under traffic lights, and underpasses etc.

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I was a bit disappointed to see sections of the new roadway being removed west of E. 6th today (sorry I don't have pictures).

 

There were some sections that were replaced at no cost to RTA. In some cases, cracks had developed. I am told (I am no concrete expert) that this could have been caused by not giving the concrete enough time to cure, or by setting something heavy on it, as in the case of a building being demolished.

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Focus group time.

 

Here are some simple directions, IN DRAFT FORM, for using proof-of-payment on the HealthLine. I would appreciate it if you could give me some feedback on whether you understand them, or if you have questions (that the copy needs to address). We are walking a fine line here between having too much copy for the space we have, and not saying enough, from a legal point-of-view. There are our problems, not yours.

 

Again, this is draft form. Please do not distribute to others. Time is critical to prepare some written materials by Oct. 27.

 

HealthLine

 

A“proof-of-payment” system to collect fares is in effect at this station.

1. If you already have an activated RTA pass with you, hang on to it. You may be asked to show it.

2. If you have a pass that has not been activated, you must activate it at a machine before you board.

3. If you do not have a pass, you need to purchase one before you board. Use the fare vending machine. (there will be one nearby)

4. Once you are on board, a fare enforcement officer or the vehicle operator will ask you to show a valid pass as proof-of-payment.

5. If you are found on-board without a valid RTA pass, you will be issued a “violation fare notice.” This is equal to the cost of a monthly pass, and must be paid within 14 days.

6. Non-payment of the violation fare may lead to criminal prosecution.

 

What needs to be activated         

· Monthly Passes – never

· 7-Day Flex Pass – before first use

· All-Day Pass – Yes, if purchased off-board

· 5-trip Farecard – Yes, unless you use the 2.5-hour option for free transfers

 

Thank you. You may post your responses here, or send them directly to me at jmasek@gcrta.org

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2. If you have a pass that has not been activated, you must activate it at a machine before you board.

3. If you do not have a pass, you need to purchase one before you board. Use the fare vending machine. (there will be one nearby)

 

Is the machine that activates the pass different from the fare vending machine?  The direction in #2 sounds vague.  "Activate it at a machine..." 

 

The parenthetical "(there will be one nearby)" seems awkward as well.  "Use the nearby fare vending machine."

 

Also, numbering the items makes it appear to be a process that is 6 steps long, which it isn't, really.

 

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<<The parenthetical "(there will be one nearby)" seems awkward as well.  "Use the nearby fare vending machine.">

 

"There will be one nearby" is a phrase that was added for you, because you are reading this at your desk, rather than at the station.

 

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With all the modernization coming through the Euclid Corridor project, I'm just wondering why not go the extra step and implement the reloadable cards that are seen in Chicago, NYC, etc?  Absolutely the most rider friendly, and it seems that it would help with the recent efficiency problems.  Was this ever considered as another improvement to the lines?

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Jerry, am I understanding that you would buy a farecard from one machine, and then you're required to activate it at a separate machine?

 

It sounds like if you have a farecard that you purchased elsewhere (say at a Dave's Market), you would need to activate it (and thus have the correct date and time stamped on the back), but if you purchase a fare at the HealthLine station, it will be pre-activated with the present time.  I think.

 

It's not really clear.  This instruction: "3. If you do not have a pass, you need to purchase one before you board. Use the fare vending machine." should state whether a second swipe is needed, or if you are set to board.

 

EDIT:  Looking at the HealthLine website, it appears that folks who arrive at the station and purchase a pass there need not swipe the card a second time.

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Is GCRTA supposed to come through and actually convert entirely to the new buses along the Corridor on the Oct. 25th weekend?  Hope so!

How about the proposal for the 32 bus to change its route from Carnegie to Euclid?  I was told several years ago this would be the case and I've been looking forward to it!  The idea is the 32 would stop at the Cedar rapid station and then go to Euclid along MLK - remaining on Euclid all the way to E. 17th, where it will turn north and assumably follow the route it does now.  I was told originally this would be the plan "to take advantage of the new technology"; it had better still be the plan! And would this begin the same weekend?  If the 6 buses will be replaced with the new vehicles at that time I can't imagine why there would be a delay in the 32 buses changing their route.  But of course the public would have to be educated in advance, and I've seen nothing announcing the change, which would be less than a month away.... 8-)

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^ On Oct. 27, routes 7, 9 and 32 will return to routes on the new Euclid Corridor. That will be formally announced soon; we did not want to mix those changes in with the earlier service changes, which were all for budget cuts. Proof-of-payment will be in effect for those routes, as long as they are on the Corridor.

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Thanks, but what do you mean the 32 "will return to....the new Euclid Corridor?"  I'm waiting for the 32 to not only get onto Euclid Avenue from E. 22nd Street, as it did for many years, but to be on Euclid Avenue all the way from MLK to E. 17th - for the first time.  That's what someone at GCRTA said would be the new route - several years ago - and, although one line on your website had implied otherwise, when questioning it I was assured last year this would probably still be the plan.

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^ On Oct. 27, routes 7, 9 and 32 will return to routes on the new Euclid Corridor. That will be formally announced soon; we did not want to mix those changes in with the earlier service changes, which were all for budget cuts. Proof-of-payment will be in effect for those routes, as long as they are on the Corridor.

 

Will these buses have the same gps technology that the RTV vehicles have, allowing them to be on the move more instead of stopping and waiting at the lights?

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