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The Debate Over Convenience and Safety Continues as Cleveland Public Square Remains Closed to Buses

An RTA bus driving around Public Square

The wrangling continues over the decision by the City of Cleveland and theGreater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s to close Public Square to buses to reduce the odds of a terrorist attack. If it remains closed, the Federal Transit Administration says RTA must return $12 million from an agreement that helped build the Euclid Corridor HealthLine.

Now, RTA says Cleveland is legally obligated to pay the FTA sanction. Meanwhile, WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports on the impact the closure is having on RTA passengers.

RTA buses carrying an average of 40,000 people stop at Public Square each weekday. And moving the stops to the square’s outer edges is a major inconvenience for these riders, according to Akshai Singh of Clevelanders for Public Transit, a group opposing the closure. He disputes the city’s study on delay times.

“They had estimated delays at about 2 minutes. We think if they’d ride the bus with RTA’s customers that they’d find that at peak hours it would be about 5 minutes to as much as 10.”

Singh says the delays are particularly hard on the riders who need to get transfers on Public Square.

Correction:  This story originally indicated that Mr. Singh felt if thwarting a terrorist attack was the main reason for the closure, then other public spaces should be restricted as well.   That was a misrepresenation of his position.  He says "the Mayor is using an absurd standard, without any public input process, out of line with federal standards, to close Public Square, when we have public gathering spaces across the city that are just as vulnerable and deserve rational safety planning and design."