Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Not So Fast on Van Aken Intersection Fix
Submitted by Roldo on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 19:47.
The article in the Plain Dealer this a.m. on plans to "fix" the "messy" intersection at Van Aken and Chagrin roads gives my tummy some growls.
No one doubts that the intersection could have been devised better at some point.
However, the costs being tossed around in the article for a "solution" I find rather alarming. Adding to the alarm is the fact that the Forest City crowd wants some help with its Van Aken shopping center.
What really upsets me is the casual talk in the article about a $50 million cost to the Regional Transit Authority (RTA). When RTA talks $50 million, no one knows that the true figure might be.
I will admit that I don't know that much about how much planning has gone into this solution but my political antenna is recording shock waves.
RTA, I believe, gets into these high-spending projects (Euclid Corridor) when they don't really add much to what I would consider the main reason for public transportation - to serve transit-dependent people and to provide cheaper and more environmentally good transportation. The Euclid Avenue project is more a $200 million plus beautification project meant to improve development in downtown.
I'd also warn taxpayers about another major project that involved RTA and Forest City - at Tower City. When RTA renovated its station below Tower City, Forest City became the construction manager of the heavily-subsidized development. When the project was completed Forest City turned around and sued RTA for $25 million. This was after RTA had built the still money-losing Waterfront Line through Tower City to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for $69 million and some $11 to $13 million for the walkway through Tower City to Gateway, all helping Tower City. Forest City got a settlement from RTA of $10 million on the $25-million law suit. RTA also pays Forest City $780,000 per year as maintenance charges for its rapid station beneath Tower City. And it even pays utility charges for the escalators that bring rapid riders up to Tower City and for the walkway that links Tower City & The Avenue shopping center to Gateway. By the way, RTA's desire to reward downtown interests on the Waterfront Line meant it had to forego federal to get it done quickly, absorbing the entire $69 million locally.
Taxpayers ought to have a lot more information about this "fix," if that's the proper word. The PD article can be found here:
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