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Cleveland: North Coast Transportation Center

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Cross-posted from the Cleveland Convention Center thread at...

http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php?topic=1782.msg339569#new

 

I've just heard something AMAZING from a source at the city. The source says that representatives for the Medical Mart have grown tired of dealing with the Ratners for the Tower City Center site.

 

So apparently the old convention center site is back in play! I consider this to be wonderful news.

 

Also, the source said they are dusting off old plans for the North Coast Transportation Center for Amtrak, the Waterfront Line, bus services and pedestrian accessways to North Coast Harbor.

 

So I dusted off old images of the North Coast Transportation Center. This one (and those in my later message on this thread) is in the public domain from the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (and from a 1998 preliminary engineering document)....

 

NorthCoastTransportationCenter-s.jpg

 

And of course here's a rendering of the rebuilt convention center with a hotel (medical mart) at the left side where the current county administrative offices are located:

 

MallConventionCenter.jpg


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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^All very true in that the NEPA is just as much a study of the impacts on the built environment as the natural environment. 

 

One of the difficulties (in terms of the NEPA process) of the projects mentioned above is that they are running on the premise of economic development (and justifiably so) in addition to congestion relief, safety, less carbon emissions, etc.  However, the inclusion of economic development as a reason to build a project nearly doubles the amount of work needed to complete the NEPA coordination.  Not only does the impact of the project have to be studied, but also the developments that will accompany it.  By no means is this is a reason to not pursue a project (whether it be transit, highway, aviation, or bikeway), but you'll have to realize that the intense NEPA process just got tougher.

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I scanned some more pictures from the Parsons Brinckeroff preliminary engineering document for the North Coast Transportation Center, conducted for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in 1998. Here's some more pretty pictures.....

 

NCTC-siteplan2s.jpg

 

NCTC-siteplan-mezz-s.jpg

 

NCTC-siteplan-interior1s.jpg

 

NCTC-siteplan-cross1s.jpg

 

NCTC-trackage1s.jpg

 

I have a larger, more detailed image of the above, but I can't save it in Photobucket because it's too large. I'll see if I have enough bytes to host the large image somewhere else. If I do I'll post it here.


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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Wow.

 

I think that, if this happens, along with the lakefront CC/MM, this will be one of the smartest planning moves Cleveland pulls off in a long time. I think that renewed interest in rail travel makes this such an opportune time for something like this, and it's high time Cleveland got a better inter-city rail station. The Amtrak platform it has now is so out of the way, and it's ridiculous.

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I've advocated for Tower City for MM/CC in the past, but at this point, I'm starting not to care: JUST DO SOMETHING – a novel concept that seems beyond the grasp of our current inept county commissioners – but it’ll only get worse if Debbie Sutherland gets elected.  In truth, though, a North Coast transportation center should not be dependent on where they put MM/CC.  It's obvious we can't have Ohio Hub or the Midwest Initiative or the Keystone Service extension or the 3-C corridor (or any serious commuter rail, either)... or whatever, at the crappy train facility we currently have – you’d think you’re in Peoria or Dubuque and not Cleveland (sadly/actually, those to burgs may best us Amtrak-wise). 

 

btw, what kind of federal share under current FTA guidelines could we expect for a new North Coast Trnsp Center?  What guidelines changes could we expect under an Obama Admin?  As noted in the above article and elsewhere, congressional Dems have already kicked aside Bush's Amtrak starvation funding for a much more stable $$ base ($13B/5 years is a start to which lame-duck Bush has capitulated)... If anything, Amtrak alone should be Exhibit A as to why anyone on this board who truly cares about finally, seriously expanding our beleaguered inner-city rail system should soundly reject McCain at the polls on Tues.  McCain bristles at Bush comparisons, but on Amtrak (among many other issues), the 2 are Siamese twins.

 

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btw, what kind of federal share under current FTA guidelines could we expect for a new North Coast Trnsp Center? 

 

Under current FTA policies, the NCTC would probably get a 50 percent share from the FTA. But if federal funding were provided under the new Amtrak law, then the federal share would jump to 80 percent.

 

Now comes the interesting debate point:  would you rather try for 50 percent from a larger pot of funding or 80 percent from a smaller pot? The size of the pot will likely determine how soon you might get your money.

 

On the other hand, there are more transit mouths to feed than intercity rail ones. The wait might be similar.


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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KJP and I have talked about this for years and it finally looks like it has a real chance to happen... :-D

 

One thing I want to add at this point is that the thing can be done in stages. You could easily put in additional tracks and platforms, while continuing to use the existing Amtrak station on an interim basis. Then develop the air rights over the station.

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Created a new thread for this. The NCTC (or some small version of it) is going to have to be built just to deal with the existing rail traffic issues, not just the gradual introduction of the Ohio Hub or any further expansion Amtrak wishes to seek.


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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If there's a sentient afterlife, Daniel Burnham probably smirks when he looks at the North Coast Transportation Center proposals.

 

They put Cleveland's rail station right where he said it should have been, albeit without his imposing Union Station.

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Does Burnham's smile come at the expense of the Van Swerignens'? All three of these men were brilliant. Each had their salient arguments to make.


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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Time post some of the REEAAALLY BIG pictures....

 

Overall site and surround areas, as proposed (this report assumed the convention center would be built where the municipal parking lots are today). OK I had to use a smaller version to fit:

NCTC-siteplan1S.jpg

 

Proposed trackage, but with more clarity (personally, I don't think this would work):

NCTC-trackage1L.gif

 

 


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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This is great news!  It is EXACTLY the type of infrastructure Strickland and Obama want to support.  To be able to tack it on to a serious development improvement that makes this a big intertwined effort is the best kind of improvement the state and nation can make.  Strickland understands that the crucial inner city infrastructure has been neglected over the past 50 or so years and he knows its vital to fix it to help the cities to grow again.  This is the most important infrastructure project in Ohio as its a crucial domino in Cleveland downtown development.  It has to be done anyways, why not now.

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Here's what PB's NCTC report from 1998 said about a linkage with a rebuilt convention center (cross-posted from the Cleveland Convention Center thread -- each of these is about 1mb):

 

http://members.cox.net/neotrans2/NCTC-convctr1.pdf

http://members.cox.net/neotrans2/NCTC-convctr2.pdf

http://members.cox.net/neotrans2/NCTC-convctr3.pdf

http://members.cox.net/neotrans2/NCTC-convctr4.pdf


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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Does Burnham's smile come at the expense of the Van Swerignens'? All three of these men were brilliant. Each had their salient arguments to make.

 

It's a shame they couldn't have come to an agreement.

 

The Van Sweringens' development put something noteworthy on Public Square in a run-down area that previously hadn't been considered developable because of the soil structure. They were able to spend the enormous amount of money it took to sink concrete caissons up to ten feet in diameter, some going down as much as 200 feet to reach bedrock, to support their massive building above unstable old river-delta sediment.

 

Still, it looked then and is beginning to look again as though Burnham's proposal made more sense from a logistical standpoint, and the Van Sweringens' political and financial manipulations kept Burnham's integrated design for a civic center from ever being completed.

 

I guess it did come out as a sort of compromise in the end, though. Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, successor firm to D.H. Burnham & Co., created the Vans' tower, and although it's no longer Cleveland's tallest, in my book it's still the city's iconic building. Burnham's Union Station was more on the scale of the courthouse and city hall.

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Still, it looked then and is beginning to look again as though Burnham's proposal made more sense from a logistical standpoint, and the Van Sweringens' political and financial manipulations kept Burnham's integrated design for a civic center from ever being completed.

 

 

The rail logistics would be greatly improved if the Lakefront Bypass for freight were implemented. Some crank wrote a study about this five years ago:

 

http://www.ecocitycleveland.org/ecologicaldesign/blue/rail_bypass_sum.html


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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Quote from: KJP on Yesterday at 04:52:42 PM

 

    I've just heard something AMAZING from a source at the city. The source says that representatives for the Medical Mart have grown tired of dealing with the Ratners for the Tower City Center site.

 

    So apparently the old convention center site is back in play! I consider this to be wonderful news.

 

    Also, the source said they are dusting off old plans for the North Coast Transportation Center for Amtrak, the Waterfront Line, bus services and pedestrian accessways to North Coast Harbor.

 

    So I dusted off my old images of the North Coast Transportation Center....

 

 

This is GREAT news.  :banger:  :clap: The NCTC would be an outstanding development generator for downtown.  Who knows, it might also dial up the pressure for the Waterfront line extension.

 

Besides, our Amtrak station is nothing but a glorified bus station.  A classy station would sure help for when the 2-C/3-C gets going.

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The rail logistics would be greatly improved if the Lakefront Bypass for freight were implemented. Some crank wrote a study about this five years ago:

 

http://www.ecocitycleveland.org/ecologicaldesign/blue/rail_bypass_sum.html

 

Yeah, I know that guy.  Crank doesn't even begin to describe him...  :wink:

 

 

Proposed trackage, but with more clarity (personally, I don't think this would work):

 

why not? 

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Proposed trackage, but with more clarity (personally, I don't think this would work):

 

why not? 

 

Because it has the CSX tracks from Buffalo bending southward to join up with the NS tracks in the area of East 13th Street. I don't understand the rationale of having the CSX tracks rise up in gradient to meet the NS tracks, which are on the descent toward the Cuyahoga River drawbridge.


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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As long as Daniel Burnham's name has been mention here, it's worth re-posting a postcard image of "what could have been", had Burnham's design for a Cleveland train station been realized.

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Hey, let's build that!


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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Hey, let's build that!

 

no lets not, I'd rather have lake access.  I say build that in a modern scale on superior and West 6. and make it a transit connection with condos on top. 

 

Oh..silly MTS...stop it now.

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KJP and I have talked about this for years and it finally looks like it has a real chance to happen... ;D

 

One thing I want to add at this point is that the thing can be done in stages. You could easily put in additional tracks and platforms, while continuing to use the existing Amtrak station on an interim basis. Then develop the air rights over the station.

 

 

 

I am almost 100% certain Cleveland already owns the air rights from East 9th west to the courthouse, north to the stadium.

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Good news (see below) for the prospects of developing a truly big-city passenger rail station in Cleveland again. For $20 million to $50 million, a decent station could be added to the north end of the convention center. For $100 million, this could be built:

 

NorthCoastTransportationCenter-s.jpg

 

OK, here's the article.....

 

Mall location picked for Cleveland medical mart/convention center

Posted by Joe Guillen/Plain Dealer Reporter January 22, 2009 17:37PM

CLEVELAND -- The downtown mall area -- home to the current Cleveland convention center -- has been selected to be the home of that building's successor.

 

The new center will be paired on the site with a medical mart in a two-step bid to pump up the region's economy.

 

Cuyahoga County commissioners made their decision during a series of meetings today with Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., its Chicago-based partner in the deal.

 

More at

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/01/mall_location_picked_for_medic.html


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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^this would be very nice indeed.  With the 3-C and CLE-PGH service on the horizon, Cleveland desperately needs a better station. 

 

I have a question?

 

I really don't want to see that on the Lakefront.  I feel there is a more creative way to open up / connect the CBD to the water.

 

KJP, is there anyway that the PHASE TWO section of Tower City could be used retrofitted/renovated/revamped and used as a train station?

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I have a question?

 

I really don't want to see that on the Lakefront.

 

Too bad. There's no other place to put the station in a pedestrian-oriented area near downtown without breaking the bank.

 

I feel there is a more creative way to open up / connect the CBD to the water.

 

Do tell.

 

 

KJP, is there anyway that the PHASE TWO section of Tower City could be used retrofitted/renovated/revamped and used as a train station?

 

Not at the Phase Two/Riverview section of Tower City. The Stokes Courthouse Tower blocks rail access from the west to that area. You could build a wye track southeast of Tower City to use the NS (ex-NKP) bridge below the Inner Belt for trains to/from the west/southwest. But the capacity of a station at that location would be very limited since it could offer few tracks and be a stub-end station. Plus the Inner Belt project will screw up the possibility of building the wye track.

 

To offer a through station would require relocating the Red Line tracks, probably to the lower level of the Detroit-Superior bridge and then down West 25th. The access ramps for the Waterfront Line on the west side and the Blue/Green approach tracks on the east would have to be relocated, as would the Tower City Center rapid station to where the old Shaker platforms are. In the place of the existing, currently used rapid station would be the new railroad passenger station for Tower City, subject to many modifications to the station itself, including possible removal of the concourse/turnstile area.

 

All of this is physically possible. Financially? That's another story. Some estimates put the cost at better than $1 billion.

 

That's hardly worth it when you could build a very nice station on the lakefront for $100 million (based on PB study done in 1998 with the $80 million cost adjusted for inflation). If you wanted to relocate all the freight trains from the lakefront too, add $175 million to the price tag (based on a NEOtrans study I did six years ago).


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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This could be a HUGE breakthough! And yes, we STILL could have some form of access to the lakefront. Present access isn't so good any and if done right the new development could actually benefit lakefront access.

 

We need this.

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Not to mention that we need to get these drawings before the eyes and ears in local, state, and federal officials ASAP now that there is talk of federal investment in infrastructure projects!

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So I'm a little confused on this.  There was no mention in the announcement when they picked the mall site about a NCTC.  If MMPI isn't going to push for this to happen, how do they expect it to come about?  Maybe they have no leverage to say to the state of Ohio, ODot and Commerce that they want and need for this to be done in one big elaborate deal ala the Goodyear HQ complex in Akron.

 

I was expecting some kind of link to this or at least hinted at that they want to pursue a transit center at the north end of the Mall.  Making the CC a TOD is the most obvious thing.  So theoretically someone getting on a train in downtown Pittsburgh coming from UPMC could be at his destination when he gets off in Cleveland at the convention center.

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If there will be any activity on building the NCTC, it will likely be an outgrowth of the 3-C Corridor rail service which will need a more substantial station in Cleveland. The 3-C station could involve an upgrade of the existing Amtrak station or be located somewhere else downtown. But since the convention center will go to the existing site, that changes things. Cuyahoga County, the lead agency on the convention center, isn't necessarily aware of the current 3-C Corridor planning effort by the Ohio Rail Development Commission, an independent entity within the Ohio Department of Transportation. That planning work, including identifying station sites, has just gotten underway. When the planning work for the 3-C Corridor is completed in September, then you will likely hear a lot more about a meaningful train station for Cleveland. And now that the county has decided to go with rebuilding the existing convention center, that will influence the site selection process for Cleveland's train station/intermodal transportation ceter.


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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Where the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and its consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff proposed to put it, according to their study and graphics presented in this thread.

 

There are some things I'd do a little bit differently, but for the most part I like the overall plan.


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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Cuyahoga County, the lead agency on the convention center, isn't necessarily aware of the current 3-C Corridor planning effort by the Ohio Rail Development Commission. KJP

 

This is a very disturbing statement if it is true. How could the commissioner's who were charged with this critical decision of the placement of the CC not take this into account. I can only hope that these guys are not this out of touch.

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That kind of sucks then if we're now still 8 months away from the location announcement/re-build announcement for the 3-C station.  Since I would imagine the main design plans will be complete for the Convention center with perhaps some guesses for how the NCTC might work.  Hopefully they can keep the Mall D engineer/build plans in limbo until September since focus will be on Public Hall.  Also with some local pressure maybe ORDC can expedite the decision. 

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This is a very disturbing statement if it is true. How could the commissioner's who were charged with this critical decision of the placement of the CC not take this into account. I can only hope that these guys are not this out of touch.

 

I'll take part of the blame on that, because the last I'd heard was that the commissioners wanted to put the convention center at Tower City. There was no need to tell them about the location for a future Cleveland station. Besides, until there is a source of money at the state and federal levels to build passenger rail service, there wasn't any reason to take the prospects for rail seriously. That is starting to change with the recent actions of Congress and the desires of ODOT and the city. But it is only just starting.

 

And, audidave, eight months is a blink of an eye in transportation planning time. I've been advocating passenger rail in the passenger rail black hole of Ohio for 25 years. Some of my friends have been involved since the late 1960s on the state and national levels.

 

So first you have dog years, then human years, then geologic years and then transportation project planning years....


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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Digging for fossils since 1974 here and still looking...I don't know what has kept me going thru all these years of Ohio's stupefying myopia. At least things seem to be moving forward.

 

Still crazy after all these years!!! :-P

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This is a very disturbing statement if it is true. How could the commissioner's who were charged with this critical decision of the placement of the CC not take this into account. I can only hope that these guys are not this out of touch.

 

I'll take part of the blame on that, because the last I'd heard was that the commissioners wanted to put the convention center at Tower City. There was no need to tell them about the location for a future Cleveland station. Besides, until there is a source of money at the state and federal levels to build passenger rail service, there wasn't any reason to take the prospects for rail seriously. That is starting to change with the recent actions of Congress and the desires of ODOT and the city. But it is only just starting.

 

 

Understood. But my larger point was that if I know about the various proposals that are being discussed concerning development in Cleveland, how come they don't. It's not like a larger train station is a new idea. It has been discussed for years in some form or other. But unfortunately we put people in charge who really do not have the same passion for Cleveland as we do.  Which I always think is the bigger problem. They don't think and dream about the same things that we do when it comes to Cleveland. It is merely a job to them.

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You are correct. They have a passion for whatever they think will get them re-elected, which is the first objective of any elected official. If they don't hear from their constituents and funders that a train station connected to the convention center is a good idea, they won't think it is a good idea. They won't even pay attention to it.

 

We don't elect leaders. We elect followers. When elected officials see enough people care about an issue, then the elected person announces he/she will lead them.


"Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous -- an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering" --Dalai Lama

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