Superior Ave to Remain Closed Through Cleveland's Public Square

Cleveland's Public Square [photo: Mark Simpson / ideastream]
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Buses will not be bisecting through Cleveland’s Public Square under a plan being mapped out by Mayor Frank Jackson’s office and the Regional Transit Authority.  RTA CEO Joe Calabrese says both the city and RTA want to see the renovated Public Square attract people to downtown.

“The discussion really intensified I think after the RNC when we saw so many people using the square and maybe what it could be,” says Calabrese in an interview with ideastream.  “The city -- no secrets about it --would like to see a unified square where we could do a lot of programming.  RTA says that’s wonderful, however, RTA was concerned about any operational efficiencies that might cause.”

In other words, it takes longer to route buses around Public Square rather than through it.  And RTA’s not the only one who’s concerned.

The Federal Transit Administration gave RTA millions of dollars in 2004 for the Euclid corridor transportation project, also known as the Health Line.  The deal required RTA to designate exclusive bus lanes on Superior Avenue through Public Square.  But that segment of Superior has been closed since last year.  It was supposed to re-open after the Republican National Convention, but Mayor Jackson and RTA’s Calabrese say they want to keep the road closed to traffic. And they’re working on a plan to convince the FTA they won’t violate the terms of the federal transportation grant.

“Their concern is the investment.  Their concern is that we maintain efficiencies through Public Square,” says Calabrese.  “So our goal -- joint goal between RTA & the city – is to show them that any time we may lose by not going through Public Square, we can make up in other sections of the corridor.” 

Calabrese says RTA can use some of the technologies being used on Euclid Avenue – such as exclusive bus lanes and traffic signals – to improve transit times on St Clair and other parts of Superior Avenue. Calabrese says RTA and the city are working together to figure out ways that buses can make up the time on other roads around downtown.  

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