Public Comments to Cleveland City Council Public Hearing Regarding ODOT's Cleveland Innerbelt Project

Submitted by Ed Hauser on Sun, 01/21/2007 - 18:54.

Re: Formal request to get your answer to the questions of : WILL CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL DEMAND THAT ODOT CONDUCT A VALID ENGINEERING STUDY AND ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY TO COMPARE THE COSTS, FEASIBILITY, AND TRAFFIC INTERRUPTIONS FOR THE NORTHERN AND ORIGINAL SOUTHERN BRIDGE ALIGNMENT ALTERNATIVES?

 

To: Joe Cimperman

Cleveland City Councilman, Ward 13

Chair, Cleveland City Council-City Planning Committee

601 Lakeside Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44114

From: Ed Hauser

11125 Lake Avenue #402

Cleveland, OH 44102

cc: Interested Citizens, Organizations, Stakeholders, Public Officials, and the Media

Dear Councilman Cimperman:

Thank you for the standing up for the citizens of Cleveland and businesses regarding the "Trench" disaster. But now we need you, Cleveland City Council, Mayor Jackson, Senator Voinovich, Senator Brown, Representative Tubbs Jones, Representative Kucinich and Governor Strickland to stand up and support a complete investigation of OHIO'S BILLION DOLLAR BOONDOGGLE - THE CLEVELAND INNERBELT BRIDGE.

At this time nobody, the citizens and public officials, have valid information to make informed decisions on the Innerbelt Bridge alignment. I have calculated that ODOT's proposal for the Innerbelt Bridge segment alone could be 1.6 BILLION DOLLARS, which accounts for the future eastbound bridge. We need an independent engineering and economic impact study, which could save the taxpayers $1 BILLION DOLLARS and have a positive economic impact, be aesthetically more pleasing, and allow pedestrian and bicycle access.

The city of Cleveland's claim to approving ODOT's Innerbelt Bridge proposal is invalid if not illegal. The January 23, 2006 meeting did not evaluate public comments for the Conceptual Alternatives Study which was not released until August 11, 2006. That information was not available to make informed decisions.

It's time to "Turnaround" the Ohio Department of Transportation and it seems like Governor Strickland has started that mission. We need to usher in a new age of public involvement, accountability, and transparency to the way ODOT operates.

I received feeble answers to selected questions that I submitted to Cleveland City Council on November 1, 2006 (attached below) from Director Gordon Proctor. The ultimate question I need answered from you is:

WILL CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL DEMAND THAT ODOT CONDUCT A VALID ENGINEERING STUDY AND ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY TO COMPARE THE COSTS, FEASIBILITY, AND TRAFFIC INTERRUPTIONS FOR THE NORTHERN AND ORIGINAL SOUTHERN BRIDGE ALIGNMENT ALTERNATIVES?

Respectfully submitted,

Ed Hauser

Ed Hauser's Public Comments to Cleveland City Council

Public Hearing Regarding ODOT's Cleveland Innerbelt Project

Cleveland City Hall - Room 217 - November 1, 2006

Prepared by: Ed Hauser

11125 Lake Avenue #402

Cleveland, OH 44102

I. Overview

The Innerbelt Bridge issues seem to be ignored by our elected and appointed public officials. ODOT is proposing a deficient outcome that will cost taxpayers over a BILLION DOLLARS. Therefore, my testimony will focus on the Innerbelt Bridge. I will ask several questions that have been raised to our public officials, but have not been answered by our public officials. I answered these questions based on facts from public records and my observations from participating in the Cleveland Innerbelt Project for nearly six years, since the first public meeting in January 2001.

In the near future I will submit my sixth (6th) and final assessment of the Cleveland Innerbelt Project and Innerbelt Bridge. I was not able to submit it today, due to the short notification of this public hearing.

I am requesting that Cleveland City Council address the questions below and demand ODOT to conduct a valid engineering study and economic impact study to compare the costs, feasibility, and traffic interruptions for the northern and southern bridge alignment alternatives.

II. Cleveland Innerbelt Bridge & Public Process - Questions and Answers

Q: Is Cleveland the only city in the world building a one-way "Signature Bridge" out of downtown and repairing a "50 year old bridge" to be a one-way bridge into downtown?

A: YES. I never heard of anything like it in the entire world. After five years of studies, this is the outcome that is currently proposed by ODOT and our elected officials. ODOT invalidly removed the only alternative that would give us a "two-way" Signature Bridge in and out of downtown.

Q: Has ODOT and City of Cleveland updated the Project Development Process Schedule that was supposed to be implemented so the General Public can be involved in the decision making process?

A: NO. The existing schedule has not been followed and is 11 months behind. ODOT and the city of Cleveland promised the public that the Conceptual Alternatives Study (CAS) would be available for public comment in December 2005. They also promised that public comment would be open through January 2006 and be evaluated by ODOT afterward.

  • The public remains uninformed of how to participate in the in ODOT's Project Development Process and continues to be effectively removed from the decision making process. Public officials have made decisions about the "Northern Bridge Alignment" and the "Trench" prior to the release of the CAS. How can public officials make such critical decisions without reviewing the CAS and without reviewing public comments?

Q: Has ODOT notified the public if and when our comments on the CAS will be evaluated?

A: NO. The CAS was released on August 11, 2006- seven (7) months late. ODOT and the city of Cleveland have not notified the public that the CAS is available for comment. ODOT placed an ad in the daily newspaper on October 17, stating where it will be available for review. There is no mention when the updated public comment deadline is and whether public comments will be evaluated.

Q: Is ODOT's Project Development Process and Public Involvement Process flawed?

A: YES. Gordon Proctor, ODOT's Director, wrote a letter in May 2006 to Burgess & Niple, clearly stating their deficient performance. Director Proctor stated, "Deficient performance has been noted in several areas including but not limited to the following:

  • Changes in leadership…

  • General lack of understanding of the relationship of the NEPA process to timely project development, and failure to manage essential tasks that are critical to the timely completion of the environmental document…

  • Failure to adequately document the evaluation and disposition of alternative considered, and the results of the public involvement meetings…

  • Document "writers" that have insufficient experience in preparing complex environmental documents, and insufficient knowledge of project development to perform efficiently… The quality of the documents developed to date has fallen well short of expectations.

  • Failure to manage the schedule and inform ODOT of changes in project delivery dates. ODOT personnel recently discovered errors in Burgess & Niple's schedule documents that, when corrected, indicate the project is between six and seven months behind (best case)…

  • Furthermore, the slow development of this project and general lack of supporting NEPA documentation has served to create strain and tension in ODOT's working relationship/partnership with FHWA… "

Q: Should the taxpaying public suffer for the consultant's deficient outcome?

A: NO

Q: Has ODOT addressed the future "Eastbound Bridge" in its proposed Northern Bridge Alignment?

A: NO. The public and public officials cannot make logical decisions about the bridge alignments until future Eastbound Bridge is addressed. Is the future Eastbound Bridge even feasible? How much will it cost? How will it affect future traffic interruptions? A valid and fair comparison of the alternatives must be made available to make logical decisions.

Q: Will the Greek Orthodox Church be taken by the Southern Bridge Alignment Alternative?

A: NO. That was misinformation given to the public. ODOT has publicly stated that the church will not need to be taken. For the same reason ODOT claimed to remove the Southern Bridge Alignment Alternative from further consideration, they have to remove the Northern Bridge Alignment. There are historic properties that will be taken by the Northern Bridge Alignment. ODOT has purchased properties on the Northern Bridge Alignment and is anticipating the demolition of historic properties before completing the National Historic Preservation Act and National Transportation Act processes.


Q: Was there a valid Engineering Study and Economic Impact Study comparing the cost, feasibility, and traffic interruptions for the Northern and Southern Bridge Alignments?

A: NO. All information is based on speculation, until a valid Engineering Study and Economic Impact Study is completed.

Q: Can ODOT's correct its Project Development Process and Public Involvement Process?

A: YES. Stop the process now and correct all of the flaws that have been presented above.

  • CONDUCT A VALID ENGINEERING STUDY AND ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY TO COMPARE THE COSTS, FEASIBILITY, AND TRAFFIC INTERRUPTIONS FOR THE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN BRIDGE ALIGNMENT ALTERNATIVES.

III. Conclusion

CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL MUST DEMAND THAT ODOT CONDUCT A VALID ENGINEERING STUDY AND ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY TO COMPARE THE COSTS, FEASIBILITY, AND TRAFFIC INTERRUPTIONS FOR THE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN BRIDGE ALIGNMENT ALTERNATIVES.

I miss Ed Hauser

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Hauser

I plan on watching Citizen Hauser this Sunday...and having a good cry with my beer.

http://realneo.us/content/exploitation-corridor