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Gee, how about one for the rail lines?? Provide a grant program to acquire and clean up properties as safe/comfortable pedestrian/bike routes to stations, then lease the land along them to developers. Use the revenues to support RTA policing services and maintenance. And provide a low-interest loan program to developers while you're at it......

__________

 

RTA Board of Trustees
February 18, 2020

 

2020-15 -- Authorizing Contract No. 2019-141 with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. to provide a West 25th Street Transit Oriented Development Plan, in an amount not to exceed $414,068.00 (RTA Development Fund, Programming & Planning Department budget)

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

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In regards to the Red Line rapid...

 

Is there a reason Tower City is the only station where you actually need a fair card to travel? Traveled through Hopkins last week and was shocked that it was essentially free from there too. I realize transit police are sometimes at stations to police this, but I am a new rider and am curious. By the way, I am not suggesting more policing on this as I am a big transit fan and love what Kansas City has been able to do in terms of making it more available to residents. 

 

Also, the Red Line Greenway seems to be making progress day by day, even after the substantial tree removal. 😑

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20 hours ago, ytown2ctown said:

In regards to the Red Line rapid...

 

Is there a reason Tower City is the only station where you actually need a fair card to travel? Traveled through Hopkins last week and was shocked that it was essentially free from there too. I realize transit police are sometimes at stations to police this, but I am a new rider and am curious. By the way, I am not suggesting more policing on this as I am a big transit fan and love what Kansas City has been able to do in terms of making it more available to residents. 

 

Also, the Red Line Greenway seems to be making progress day by day, even after the substantial tree removal. 😑

 

Yes, a significant majority of RTA rail travelers get on/off trains at Tower City, so they focus their police/fare-checking presence there. When the RTA police ride the trains, it is often between Tower City and East 55th because the trains are very frequent here and they can also check on the Central Rail Facility where there is a lot of expensive equipment sitting around.


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

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To be clear, though, the Red Line is not "free" if you board at other stations.  It's just that there are no fare gates to mechanically verify payment.  No one would ever say candy at CVS is free just because they don't ask for your receipt at the door. 

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As I've mentioned before, what is the estimated loss in fares for non payers vs hiring people at the ticket booths?  I would think that having people in the booths and turnstiles  would almost completely eliminate the free rides AND having someone there would give people on the platforms a sense of security.  Also, have they ever thought of revisiting the ticket machines?  I really hate the ones RTA uses.  The MTA machines in NYC seem so much more simplistic.  

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46 minutes ago, cfdwarrior said:

As I've mentioned before, what is the estimated loss in fares for non payers vs hiring people at the ticket booths?  I would think that having people in the booths and turnstiles  would almost completely eliminate the free rides AND having someone there would give people on the platforms a sense of security.  Also, have they ever thought of revisiting the ticket machines?  I really hate the ones RTA uses.  The MTA machines in NYC seem so much more simplistic.  


I’m sure there is a number out there somewhere, but my guess is it would be a net loss if you considered loss of fares vs paying a worker to be there ~19 hours a day.

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There is a third option.  Live, actively monitored cameras.  Not nearly as effective as a live person, but not nearly as costly either.

Edited by jtadams
Because I'm a moron.

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I'm getting to the point that I couldn't care less if RTA just disappears. The service is so infrequent, scattered, slow, unreliable and expensive that I never use it anymore. I either just drive to free/cheap parking places around town or, when I go to the airport or Amtrak station, take Lyft/Uber.

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

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I’ve not taken it to the airport for over a year now as the west side redline has been simply too unreliable to make me feel OK about making my flight in good time. 

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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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47 minutes ago, KJP said:

I'm getting to the point that I couldn't care less if RTA just disappears. The service is so infrequent, scattered, slow, unreliable and expensive that I never use it anymore. I either just drive to free/cheap parking places around town or, when I go to the airport or Amtrak station, take Lyft/Uber.


I understand the feeling, but I don't think it's even close to being time to give up.  Not yet.  These are dark times for transit, not just here but throughout most of the U.S.  However, keep in mind that just 12 years ago, we were named one of the best transit systems in the nation.  Could we get back?  It would require changes most of which are beyond the control of anyone here.  But they are not impossible.  $2/gal. gas will not last forever.  The long-term viability of ride-sharing services is far from certain.  A trend of re-urbanization continues in spite of many forces arrayed again it.  TOD is happening everyplace it's been given even half a chance.  While downtown Cleveland employment remaines more or less stagnant, its residential population is growing rapidly.  There is a growing understanding that our nation has been falling way behind on investment in infrastructure, not limited to transit, but certainly including it.  I think if the general public understood as well as those of us here how cost-effective transit investment can be, compared to the alternatives, their voice would lead toward broad bipartisan support for enough scraps (even if it's a rounding error compared to roads/highways/bridges) to more than rebuild our rail fleet and provide frequent service in the urban core as well as major suburban employment and residential centers.  The retiring baby boomer generation may well discover that transit is even more important to people in their golden years, beyond the point of being able to drive safely or legally, than it is to the rest of us.  There are no guarantees, and it won't happen without a lot of work and a bit of luck.  But even I, a fairly pessimistic person by nature, don't think it's hopeless.  Not yet.  It may feel that way, but that doesn't mean we give up.  It means we fight that much harder.  None of us were born transit advocates, and many of us, myself included, had to overcome some degree of ideological bias in order to join this club.  If we managed to learn enough to understand the vital importance of transit, others can too, but it's important that we find ways to educate them.  That may well prove to make the decisive difference.

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6 minutes ago, roman totale XVII said:

I’ve not taken it to the airport for over a year now as the west side redline has been simply too unreliable to make me feel OK about making my flight in good time. 

 

I wouldn't take it there unless I had an hour or two to spare.  But I'm more than happy to take it back home.

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2 hours ago, roman totale XVII said:

I’ve not taken it to the airport for over a year now as the west side redline has been simply too unreliable to make me feel OK about making my flight in good time. 

 

In my experience it has become way more reliable since about fall last year compared to rest of 2019. I have been using for the airport a lot, sometimes for the early 5 am departures and late night arrivals.  No issues.

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1 hour ago, viscomi said:

 

In my experience it has become way more reliable since about fall last year compared to rest of 2019. I have been using for the airport a lot, sometimes for the early 5 am departures and late night arrivals.  No issues.

Agreed.  For now it's ok.  RTA will probably wait for the next major event (NBA All Star or NFL draft) to schedule some major construction.  😑

Edited by Cleburger
typo

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On 2/19/2020 at 10:25 PM, Cleburger said:

Agreed.  For now it's ok.  RTA will probably wait for the next major event (NBA All Star or NFL draft) to schedule some major construction.  😑

Speaking of which I PRAY that we have enough cars to handle the (likely) influx of riders for Cavs all star weekend. I'd imagine West 25th Station and Little Italy station will get a major amount of riders. I hope we can operate two car trains pretty regularly by then.

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On 2/19/2020 at 12:28 PM, cfdwarrior said:

As I've mentioned before, what is the estimated loss in fares for non payers vs hiring people at the ticket booths?  I would think that having people in the booths and turnstiles  would almost completely eliminate the free rides AND having someone there would give people on the platforms a sense of security.  Also, have they ever thought of revisiting the ticket machines?  I really hate the ones RTA uses.  The MTA machines in NYC seem so much more simplistic.  

I think implementing turnstiles that require a card swipe (preferably a reloadable smart card) support mobile payments, and support the scanners that are down at Tower City could help with that problem of "free" riders. Yes it's an initial cost upfront but the long term gain from getting fares back from everyone would help offset that. 4 per station (2 for leaving the station and 2 for entering the station) would be sufficient. I can't remember if they had turnstiles at every station before (it's been over 10 years) but a newer more advanced style would be nice. 

Edited by MyPhoneDead
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On 2/19/2020 at 6:05 PM, roman totale XVII said:

I’ve not taken it to the airport for over a year now as the west side redline has been simply too unreliable to make me feel OK about making my flight in good time. 

What blows me away as a daily commuter on the Red line is how unreliable it is. It seems (and I could be VERY wrong here) to be the most popular rapid line, and the one with the most issues. This week alone I've had a one hour delay due to a power outage and a 30 minute delay due to bad brakers... Blows my mind for the $95/month I pay for a monthly pass (similar to Chicago and NYC prices, which are obviously WAY better systems) for such crappy service and options. 

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11 hours ago, ytown2ctown said:

What blows me away as a daily commuter on the Red line is how unreliable it is. It seems (and I could be VERY wrong here) to be the most popular rapid line, and the one with the most issues. This week alone I've had a one hour delay due to a power outage and a 30 minute delay due to bad brakers... Blows my mind for the $95/month I pay for a monthly pass (similar to Chicago and NYC prices, which are obviously WAY better systems) for such crappy service and options. 

MTA is not free of issues by any means and have signaling equipment arguably older than RTAs.

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I was taken by Tom McNair's tweet that Hingetown/Ohio City recent development is dense enough to support rail mass-transit. Recognizing that Cleveland probably can't afford a rail project, is it feasible, at reasonable cost, to connect the proposed west side BRT systems to the Tower City rail hub and run buses underground as far as W25th and Detoit via the Veterans Bridge lower level?  It would speed up the trip and appeal if they didn't have to contend with downtown/Public Square traffic. Maybe throw in a stop at W6th or W9th and Superior?

 

FWIW, the Paris Metro includes a couple of rubber-tired lines mixed with rail on shared right-of-way.

 

 

 

 

 

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46 minutes ago, Dougal said:

I was taken by Tom McNair's tweet that Hingetown/Ohio City recent development is dense enough to support rail mass-transit. Recognizing that Cleveland probably can't afford a rail project, is it feasible, at reasonable cost, to connect the proposed west side BRT systems to the Tower City rail hub and run buses underground as far as W25th and Detoit via the Veterans Bridge lower level?  It would speed up the trip and appeal if they didn't have to contend with downtown/Public Square traffic. Maybe throw in a stop at W6th or W9th and Superior?

 

FWIW, the Paris Metro includes a couple of rubber-tired lines mixed with rail on shared right-of-way.

 

 

 

 

 


This also reminds me of the MBTA's Silver line, which they brand as BRT. It starts out underground with catenary wires and then transitions to diesel not long after it goes above-grade.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Line_(MBTA)

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On 2/21/2020 at 9:36 PM, MyPhoneDead said:

MTA is not free of issues by any means and have signaling equipment arguably older than RTAs.

 

No argument there.  And if it happens someplace fairly far out like say Howard Beach/JFK (don't ask me how I know this), you can be well and truly screwed.   But, in Manhattan at least, you usually have a few reasonable alternate routes if a single line is having issues, including, most likely, a bus that will be there in less than 5 minutes (though it'll be 10x slower than the train).  With GCRTA, best case, we get shuttle buses that are neither fast, nor frequent.  You may well lose an hour or more, especially if you were counting on a once-an-hour connection to one of the many connecting buses that only run hourly.  You can leave 15-20 minutes for your connection, as I did back when I rode GCRTA more frequently.  But if the train suddenly breaks down, or just never bothers to show up, you still aren't going to make that connection.

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^ Yeah. I like them, they look sharp. However, it’s yet another branch on the RTA ‘brand standards’ tree. It really sets off my brand management OCD. 

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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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Yeah, I saw one for the first time earlier this week and it took me whole minutes to figure out if it was RTA or someone else.  It merged next to me on the highway and I couldn't see the logo at the back of the bus.

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

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On 3/8/2020 at 12:55 PM, KJP said:

 

 

This is what happens when you hook funding for public services with sales tax. Economy goes down, service got cut, economy goes up but people find ways to not pay (sales) tax, service got cut.

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I don't disagree, but do think a closer look might be useful.  Funding via sales taxes probably seemed like a good idea at the time GCRTA was formed (mid-70s).  The U.S. economy had not yet stopped growing in real (inflation-adjusted terms), until right about then, nor had suburbanization come close to reaching the pace it would during the following couple decades.  The ascendency of Amazon and other online retail, and their impact on sales tax revenues, could not yet have even been imagined.  It would take a while to learn the necessary lessons, and to foresee the impact to potential sales (and other) tax revenue, that would result.  By the time it became sufficiently clear, it was too late.  Now, as a libertarian, there is *no* tax I like.  None.  But if someone puts a gun to my head and asks me whom to tax in order to pay for better transit, I tend to think it should be the intersection of those who benefit the most, and those who can afford to pay it.  That would be downtown and (possibly) University Circle property owners.  The transit-dependent benefit greatly, but can't afford to pay, and other property owners may be able to afford to pay, but don't directly benefit to nearly the same extent.  In my perfect version of the universe, transit is supplied mainly by municipalities (or perhaps special districts including the dense inner suburbs as well), funded mainly by those municipalities, and the center city, in turn, derives the necessary funding by taxing downtown property, whose value depends directly on the availability of workers, which, in turn, depends on their ability to get downtown in sufficient numbers. 

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

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Greater Cleveland RTA Board re-elects president and vice president

 

https://www.masstransitmag.com/management/press-release/21131477/greater-cleveland-regional-transit-authority-rta-grater-cleveland-rta-board-reelects-president-and-vice-president


Mar 26th, 2020

 

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Board of Trustees has elected Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough to serve as president of the board and Rev. Charles Lucas to serve as vice president, each serving for another year. 
 

The 10-member board held the elections at its annual meeting.

 

Clough was appointed to the Greater Cleveland RTA Board by the Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association in 1999. He was elected board vice president in 2011. His has served as president since 2018.

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Just a few weeks ago I was lamenting the probability that transit in northeast Ohio was in a death spiral.  Now it's not just transit but the entire economy (not a new thing, but newly obvious to many).  Funny how fast things can change.  I can only hope that when the current crisis is deemed over, by those who created it, enough of the economy can bounce back that people on the margins, including the transit-dependent, don't literally starve to death first.  I don't advocate economic growth because it enriches me, or the wealthy, but because those at the margins literally live or die based on whether it happens.

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This is a good idea for RTA to protect drivers from COVID-19---but they'd have to suspend fare collection first, like other agencies have done:

 

"Laketran: Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Laketran is suspending fare collection for all services until Thursday, April 30, 2020. Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Route 13 is suspended. Routes 10-12 will operate on a modified schedule. Effective April 1, 2020—Passengers other than those who require the ADA ramp or bus kneeling can enter from the bus’s front door (near the bus operator). All other passengers must enter through the rear door."

 

https://www.centerforcleveland.org/covid-19

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Collecting fares right now is like trying to patch a gaping chest wound with a speck of dust.  Since farebox revenues at this point are likely to be negligible anyway, I see no downside to doing something like this temporarily. 

 

Serious but hopefully temporary service cuts need to be on the table as well.  On my infrequent jaunts around the block to get coffee, I see the same 3-4 #26 buses an hour that normally run, but with barely any riders on them.  No agency, and certainly not GCRTA, can afford to run nearly-empty buses and trains for very long.

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GCRTA is the only Ohio transit agency still collecting fares.

 

BTW, GCRTA is considering temporarily switching to a Saturday or Sunday schedule for weekday services during the pandemic -- meaning lots more routes will be reduced to hourly service.

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

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Sunday schedule kills access to a lot of job sites.  I could live with Saturday service schedules, so long as it is well understood by drivers that keeping the schedule, now that it should be trivially simple to do so (almost no riders + almost no traffic), is absolutely essential.

 

I'm horrified by all this.  But something has to be done to stop the bleeding.   It's not just loss of fares, which as noted above is almost trivial at this point.  It's that sales in Cuyahoga County have been reduced to near zero and will stay way lower than before for a very, very long time.

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"Effective Sunday, April 12, RTA is reducing bus and rail service by approximately 15% in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Peak frequency on all rail lines will be 15 minutes on weekdays. Rail schedule is unchanged for Saturdays and Sundays."  

 

scroll down to "LOCAL TRAINS & BUSES"

 

https://www.centerforcleveland.org/covid-19

 

 

 

 

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FYI. if my math is correct, GCRTA will eligible for a total of about $128,380,356 funding through the CARES Act. Details: https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/apportionments/table-1-fy-2020-cares-act-appropriations-and-apportionments-grant-programs

 

These grants can be used only for capital funding and do not require a local match. They are 100 percent federal. So the question is, what should GCRTA invest that in to spare it from spending a local share on a capital project that might be redirected to operations?

 

Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Program $81,853,969

Section 5337 State of Good Repair -- $43,280,436 (this can be used for rail, BRT or high-intensity bus systems, with about $934,857 available from the $43 million for high-intensity bus) 

Section 5340 Growing States Program  $3,245,951

 

Again, these are approximate numbers.


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

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Fix rail now.  Bus can come later.  And let's hope that by the time this money is spent, there will be enough of an economy left for at least some of us to be able to afford bus or rail tickets.

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