February 17, 2000 A Laboratory Newspaper at Cleveland State University Vol. 1 No. 13

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Waterfront line to affect campus

Plans for revamping the Regional Transit Authority services and routes in downtown Cleveland could directly affect the Cleveland State campus.

The goal is to create a no-transfer, one-seat ride to important activity centers in Cleveland, said Maribeth Feke, property manager at The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority at the “Waterfront Transit Line Phase II Major Investment Study” public information meeting held Feb. 10 at the RTA headquarters on West 6th Street in the Warehouse District.
One of the activity centers mentioned was CSU with its more than 17,000 students, faculty and staff.

This project would take place in several stages, and several alternative routes have been suggested. However, the first segment of the plan, Alternative 1A, if approved, would lead to changes in the vicinity of CSU.

Of 21 possible alternatives identified 15 months ago, only three remain viable, one of which, Alternative 4 has three possible sub-alternatives.

Alternative 5, heading south on East 21st Street is not favored by the university because of interference with the university’s master plan, according to Andrew Juniewicz, spokesman for MK Centennial Engineering, Inc., which conducted the study.
Alternative 5 would also miss Playhouse Square.

If the project is built, Cleveland will become one of few U.S. cities with both a direct airport-to-downtown rail link and a downtown rail loop.The current system gets you downtown but not through the metro area, said one RTA official.

Phase II would extend the line south through the downtown area and reconnect with other rapid transit lines, forming a transit circulation loop around downtown, with connections throughout Greater Cleveland.

Alternative 1A begins at South Harbor Station in the Municipal Parking Lot, goes south on East 17th Street to Euclid Avenue and connects with the Euclid Corridor Improvement Project.

This segment would be constructed first in the event that there are insufficient funds to build the entire connection.

Alternative 4 takes off from there and continues with three possible alternatives south along either East 14th Street, East 21st Street and East 22nd Street. All three alignments would then follow Community College Avenue and East 30th Street and connect with the main line near East 30th Street east of the Orange Avenue U.S. Postal Service Complex.

The current 1.5-mile line begins at Tower City Center, and travels down to the Cuyahoga River to Settlers Landing. The line passes the new Cleveland Browns Stadium to North Coast Harbor, home of the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and ends at the lakefront Municipal Parking Lot east of East 9th Street.

Trains would run at 12-minute intervals, on tracks embedded in the street to accommodate other vehicle traffic.

In the Feb. 3 recommendation, Phase II received unanimous support with strong support for Alternative 4 from the Public Advisory committee. Members urged the board to continue advancing into the preliminary engineering phase.

Members of the board include Bob Criminger, executive director, Facilities Management Services at CSU, Joseph Marinucci, vice president of real estate at Playhouse Square Foundation, Ray Chan of Chinatown and Ira Krumholtz of the Jewish Community Federation.

Marinucci said he supports the project. The engineering studies are very preliminary at this point as to whether traffic will affect the needs of the Palace Theater and Keith Building, both of which have delivery openings on East 17th Street. The project warrants a more detailed analysis, he said.

A major shortcoming of the existing transportation system that would be fixed by the proposed alignment is that transit users coming from the east would no longer have to travel to Tower City, depart, transfer to a bus and double-back to reach destinations such as Playhouse Square Center or CSU.

Half of the westbound trains would turn north at about East 30th Street and continue north.

An estimated 13 million people a year attend events at venues throughout downtown, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Playhouse Square, and the CSU Convocation Center. The proposed Waterfront Extension would link these sites, making it easier to move about the metropolitan area.

According to the economic impact analysis done as part of the study, the completed line would spur commercial and residential development that might not otherwise occur in those extension areas. The study indicated the potential for $450 million in development, including 8,000 new jobs with a combined payroll of $245 million and more than $17 million in new tax revenues.

Projected costs range from $102 million to $118 million depending on the chosen alignment and construction variables. Operating costs were estimated at $1.6 million.

These findings will be under review for the next two months by the RTA board, the Cleveland Planning Commission, and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordination Agency (NOACA) before a final recommendation is submitted to the Federal Transit Administration for funding, according to Juniewicz.

The Cleveland Stater is a laboratory newspaper put out by students enrolled in classes in the Department of Communication at Cleveland State University.
Editor: Ray Cooney
Campus Editor: Becky Muncy
Design, Graphics and Photography Coordinator: Alex Marculescu
Advertising Manager: Iris McGinness
Proof readers: Bridgette Calandra and Maria Floyd
On-line Editor: Toni Muhammad
Reporters: Rebecca Grauel, Becky Muncy, Alex Marculescu, Iris Figueroa-McGinnis, Maria Floyd, Bridgette Calandra, Shawn Wickens, Ray Cooney, Toni Muhammad
Adviser: Betty Clapp

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