|FTA Repayment||Increase in Late Buses||Redeveloping Superior|
At 5:39 pm on November 15th, the same day the PD article appeared, Mayor Frank Jackson announced a press conference for 5:45 pm. Allard, reporting for the Scene, said that Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Regional Transit Authority General Manager Joe Calabrese announced together that Public Square would remain closed to buses.
The PD's Mark Naymik published an article today, November 16th, detailing correspondence between Jackson and Calabrese. Interesting quotes include:
In light of this new information, I have updated the figures above to reflect the added $12 million cost of repaying the FTA.
The City of Cleveland is blocking RTA from using the bus lanes in downtown Cleveland's redesigned Public Square. RTA says that "although the original plan was to resume RTA bus service on Superior Avenue through Public Square on Aug. 1, the City of Cleveland and RTA are in discussions regarding when and if the buses will be allowed to use the designed, exclusive transit lanes."
While Public Square was previously divided into four quadrants, the reimagined space includes bus-only lanes on Superior Avenue through Public Square. RTA was scheduled to begin using these lanes on August 1, 2016.
A 2012 transportation study conducted by Nelson Nygaard calculated the costs of different design options for the new Public Square. The above link describes several scenarios, including Scenario D in which the square is open and Scenario H in which it is closed. Scenario D places the added cost at $1.3 million and Scenario H at $2.8 million, a difference of $1.5 million. The graphic accompanying this Plain Dealer article has slightly different figures for the costs of the two scenarios: Scenario D is listed at $1.05 million and Scenario H at $2.6 million, a difference of $1.55 million.
We have used the latter figure here. Neither figure accounts for productivity lost to the additional time Clevelanders are forced to spend on the bus or in traffic. If you have any additional or more accurate data to share about the cost of a closed Public Square, please let us know on Twitter: @CLEPublicSqundr.
From a Cleveland.com article: "[RTA CEO and General Manager Joe] Calabrese said that removing buses from the square, or relegating them to the outer roads, would be out of the question. RTA currently runs about 4,000 buses through the square daily, he said. The big civic space remains a critically important hub because of the concentration of jobs in downtown Cleveland, and because of the square's proximity to the Red, Blue and Green rapid transit lines that converge in Tower City Center nearby."
Call (216) 505-4730 or visit the Ohio Organizing Collective to let Mayor Jackson know why keeping Public Square open to transit is important!
In addition to contacting Mayor Jackson, please time your bus trip(s) around Public Square and tweet the results under #transitbelongs.