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Shaker Heights: Van Aken District Transit Oriented Development

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I really like the mix of stores there and I hope its successful. It's a great example of TOD and something I wish could be copied elsewhere (future phase blocking the Blue Line notwithstanding).

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Today's the last day of Joe Calabrese's tenure as general manager of RTA. After Labor Day, efforts should be made to communicate with RTA on whether the agency still believes it should complicate its own transit expansions for decades into the future.

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Today's the last day of Joe Calabrese's tenure as general manager of RTA. After Labor Day, efforts should be made to communicate with RTA on whether the agency still believes it should complicate its own transit expansions for decades into the future.

 

The idiocy here is not Joe Calabrese is it? Was RTA going to build a building or parking deck to block its tracks from going further east? The idiocy or wrongfulness award belongs to Shaker Hts---they were the ones trying to stop transit growth by developing plans to put a building where future tracks would go. They're PLANNING to do that. They WANT that.

 

 

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The idiocy here is not Joe Calabrese is it? Was RTA going to build a building or parking deck to block its tracks from going further east? The idiocy or wrongfulness award belongs to Shaker Hts---they were the ones trying to stop transit growth by developing plans to put a building where future tracks would go. They're PLANNING to do that. They WANT that.

 

 

No, the developer approached the city about the Blue Line extension plans and if they could develop up to the corner of Chagrin/Warrensville. So the city approached RTA. City Planning Director Joyce Kaverman said Joe Calabrese replied that RTA has no plans to extend the Blue Line and it didn't care what the developer did between the end of its tracks and the NW corner of Chagrin/Warrensville.

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^Yes, that may be true. But that doesn't mean the city of Shaker Hts has to believe that Joe Calabrese will not only live forever but be in charge of RTA forever AND think that its a good idea to block the tracks. 

 

If I tell you i'm NOT gonna stop you from eating 10 pounds of spaghetti tonight at dinner, it doesn't mean you should eat 10 pounds of spaghetti tonight.

 

Yes, Calabrese is a fool for saying that. But the bigger issue with with Shaker Hts who plans to kill the right of way even though it doesn't have to--it just wants to.

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A parcel was created earlier this year for the phase blocking the Blue Line. Not sure who owns it and there is nothing in the county GIS.  The ship has probably sailed if the right-of-way is out of RTA and city's hands.

chagrin_vanakin.thumb.jpg.b959b50843dfec5d80f057913e09b86f.jpg

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Pugu, The only two entities that might care about that parcel are the developer and RTA. The city couldn't care less. The developer wanted to develop the whole parcel but was willing to leave a 25-foot ROW for RTA. Calabrese punted. Sure, the city could have reserved a right of way but what would be their legal standing for doing so, especially if RTA said they didn't want it?

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^The city is putting lots of money into the project. If it wanted to reserve a ROW across the lot, it had plenty of leverage to do so. But if RTA showed no interest, not sure how much I'd really blame the city for not wanting to further complicated their development arrangement with RMS.

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RTA is a joke. Though maybe it's hard to imagine possible expansion in the future when you're trying to keep your head above water, handing out free medical coverage and settlements in the meantime... In my opinion the current Highland golf course should be developed with high to medium density over most of the site with multiple connections to an extended blue line down Northfield. It took me 8 seconds to recognize that by looking at Google Earth.

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Pugu, The only two entities that might care about that parcel are the developer and RTA. The city couldn't care less. The developer wanted to develop the whole parcel but was willing to leave a 25-foot ROW for RTA. Calabrese punted. Sure, the city could have reserved a right of way but what would be their legal standing for doing so, especially if RTA said they didn't want it?

 

The city is putting lots of money into the project. If it wanted to reserve a ROW across the lot' date=' it had plenty of leverage to do so. But if RTA showed no interest, not sure how much I'd really blame the city for not wanting to further complicated their development arrangement with RMS.[/quote']

 

City of Shaker Hts is not a private entity. It has the moral obligation to do what's right. Even the developer saw the issue. This sh*tty behavior is fully Shaker Hts's.

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No, it has the obligation to do what is politically and legally justifiable. Governments do things in response to constituencies. No constituency was asking to preserve the right of way. Thanks for coming.

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No' date=' it has the obligation to do what is politically and legally justifiable. Governments do things in response to constituencies. No constituency was asking to preserve the right of way. Thanks for coming.[/quote']

 

KJP, we have a representative democracy. Do you want Joe Appalachian to make delicate decisions about US policy on China and Taiwan and whether or not we should recognize Taiwan? You think the average citizen of Shaker Hts knows the real value of preserving the ROW for the blue line? No. We have experts in each area that is supposed to look out for the public good. In the case at hand, city planners at Shaker Hts should be doing the right thing---and that is very much "politically and legally justifiable". No constituency was asking to preserve the right of way because they don't know enough about what that means nor should they be expected to. That's why they use tax dollars to hire a city government.

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The developer would have sued the city (and probably would have won) by presenting to the court a deposition from RTA, explaining they didn't need the land. Furthermore, RTA would have shared with the court their federally compliant alternatives analysis for the Blue Line extension which said a rail transit extension wasn't eligible for federal funds under then-current federal criteria and therefore could not be built.

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I disagree that the developer would have sued and won, as its a ROW, and by asking about it, demonstrated their understanding of its relevance and future potential use. Federal funding eligibility is irrelevant--an extension could be built with non-federal funds if the community wanted it, just as it did with the Waterfront Line. 

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You see things as they should be, which they almost never are. The city is far more interested in aiding a imminent civic improvement (the Van Aken District) than inconveniencing a ready-and-waiting investment group by preserving a rail ROW and forcing them to design and build around it (and also sacrificing square footage of leasable space in the process). Someone had a plan to use that property (the developer) and another had not (RTA). The city, when seeing the developer's plans, went out of its way by asking RTA if they would ever use that right of way and RTA said "no." All RTA had to do was to say "yes." Sure, the city could have told the developer they wanted to preserve that right of way. But a city isn't going to accommodate the unplanned when they have a bonafide development plan that was already prompting the city to sponsor nearly $20 million in road infrastructure improvements. The city was already married to these guys.

 

And "those guys", the developer, are far less interested in the transit access than you imagine. The primary reason why this site was selected was because current and former Forest City Enterprises executives saw this underperforming FCE-owned shopping center and sought to redevelop it separate from FCE business. They were able to work out a good deal with their buddies at FCE. That's why they were interested in this site. It was an undervalued asset that could become something special. And they needed the $20 million in road infrastructure improvements to make it happen. You know how much transit infrastructure improvements they sought to enhance the rusty, weed-choked Warrensville Station site? Zero. Don't get me wrong -- the transit access is a nice thing for them. But they could take it or leave it.

 

As for RTA using local funds for a rail extension....that was another era, back when RTA's sales tax revenues were stable albeit starting to slip a little. RTA can't even keep their existing rail system running, let alone afford the non-federal share of even a federally funded rail extension. It tried to bring about a modest rail extension to a new transit hub at the SE corner of Chagrin/Warrensville but couldn't afford even the local share (50%) of this $48 million extension. As you probably know, RTA has cut one-third of its revenue-service-miles since 2004 and doubled its fares. RTA is far more likely to eliminate rail service than to add to it. I'm sure the community does want some rail extensions. But RTA isn't interested in asking the community what it wants and what it is willing to pay for.

 

And with that, I'm pretty sure the mods are about to lock this thread. Let's move on.

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Without going into the details, I will say that I've already learned in my short time in local government that developers will threaten (and follow through with) suing when the city tries to take a "moral" obligation to tweaking a development when they otherwise have no legal reason to do so.

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And with that' date=' I'm pretty sure the mods are about to lock this thread. Let's move on.[/quote']

 

Ha! We've actually remained fully on topic---so no need for locking. Nonetheless, sure let's move on. Shaker Hts is culpable and you think they're doing the right thing. You and I are not going to convince each other otherwise, so, no need to continue the back and forth.

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I never said they're doing the right thing. But this isn't a binary issue as you've made it out to be. It seldom is. I hope you can at least recognize that. If you feel so strongly about it, contact Calabrese's successor and urge that he reconsider RTA's stance. If you don't act because you don't think anyone will care, then you're starting to recognize the real issue.

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Agreed, RTA is the problem.  I've been calling RTA corrupt for years and had no idea just how bad it was.

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^Exactly. And if everyone knows RTA is a joke/is the problem/is corrupt/is incompetent, why make city [of Shaker Hts] policies based on it?

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Hey guys, changing firms and my new firm is located in Van Aken. Does anyone have a comprehensive list of all the tenants that are committed to the project. I'd love to see where I'll be walking to lunch and panic shopping three days before Christmas.

 

I couldn't find the list on their website - unless I'm just missing it under my nose

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Hey guys, changing firms and my new firm is located in Van Aken. Does anyone have a comprehensive list of all the tenants that are committed to the project. I'd love to see where I'll be walking to lunch and panic shopping three days before Christmas.

 

I couldn't find the list on their website - unless I'm just missing it under my nose

 

From the city, so it may be a bit out of date.....

 

https://shakeronline.com/departments/recreation/21-departments/1131-van-aken-district-tenants

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Hey guys, changing firms and my new firm is located in Van Aken. Does anyone have a comprehensive list of all the tenants that are committed to the project. I'd love to see where I'll be walking to lunch and panic shopping three days before Christmas.

 

I couldn't find the list on their website - unless I'm just missing it under my nose

 

They're all listed on the website. Click "Shop" (http://thevanakendistrict.com/shop/) or "Eat and Drink" (http://thevanakendistrict.com/eat-drink/) on the main page and it will take you to a page with all the tenants listed

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Oh, nice Yabo.  Ive been watching this project closely, running through there about once per week and going to the farmers markets.  Its shaping up really nicely, i think you will enjoy working there.  The food hall will be very unique and a great place to grab a happy hour beer.  You are an OC guy, right?  not a bad commute by train

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Oh, nice Yabo.  Ive been watching this project closely, running through there about once per week and going to the farmers markets.  Its shaping up really nicely, i think you will enjoy working there.  The food hall will be very unique and a great place to grab a happy hour beer.  You are an OC guy, right?  not a bad commute by train

 

When the Blue/Green lines are running, sure. Considering RTA is using trains that should have been retired and replaced nearly 20 years ago, expect to ride some shuttle buses in your future. I'll be interested to hear your experiences.

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Oh, nice Yabo.  Ive been watching this project closely, running through there about once per week and going to the farmers markets.  Its shaping up really nicely, i think you will enjoy working there.  The food hall will be very unique and a great place to grab a happy hour beer.  You are an OC guy, right?  not a bad commute by train

 

When the Blue/Green lines are running, sure. Considering RTA is using trains that should have been retired and replaced nearly 20 years ago, expect to ride some shuttle buses in your future. I'll be interested to hear your experiences.

 

When RTA replaces rail cars, I hope they replace them with cars that can run on the light rail and heavy rail tracks.  It would likely be easier to maintain one type of rail car than 2.  Also could create more flexible routes.

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Oh, nice Yabo.  Ive been watching this project closely, running through there about once per week and going to the farmers markets.  Its shaping up really nicely, i think you will enjoy working there.  The food hall will be very unique and a great place to grab a happy hour beer.  You are an OC guy, right?  not a bad commute by train

 

My issue is that we live on W. 50th. I don't think there's a great way for me to get to the train. I'd love to be able to walk there, but the logistics in the neighborhood may compel me to drive :(

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Oh, nice Yabo.  Ive been watching this project closely, running through there about once per week and going to the farmers markets.  Its shaping up really nicely, i think you will enjoy working there.  The food hall will be very unique and a great place to grab a happy hour beer.  You are an OC guy, right?  not a bad commute by train

 

My issue is that we live on W. 50th. I don't think there's a great way for me to get to the train. I'd love to be able to walk there, but the logistics in the neighborhood may compel me to drive :(

 

26 to Public Square, Blue Line to work. Or bike ride to the square, then take the train from there.

 

 

When RTA replaces rail cars, I hope they replace them with cars that can run on the light rail and heavy rail tracks.  It would likely be easier to maintain one type of rail car than 2.  Also could create more flexible routes.

 

Not a guarantee. But we can discuss more in the RTA thread.

 

OK, I'm going to stop now before we get "moderated."

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I'm not sure if this was mentioned earlier but Downtown Cleveland Alliance is providing clean and safe services for Van Aken. The area is pretty well maintained already but I think DCA is making a noticeable difference. 

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2 minutes ago, PoshSteve said:

Very interesting. Did the developer contract with them? Or is it the city?

My guess is the city since they patrol beyond the new development, I believe the clean/safe territory is all the commercial space north of Chagrin and west of Warrensville.  

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Heard some very cool news about this project over the weekend. 

 

It will expand, ambitiously, in scale and target tenants over the next 3-5 years - and this isn't just talk, actions are already being taken. Very exciting. 

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Makes me worried that this development expand before more stable transit funding can be secured for RTA and its expansion. Otherwise, the extension of the Blue Line may well be choked off.

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