CLEVELAND’S RED CARPET INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS: HAIL TO THE REPUBLICANS IN 2016

Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Sat, 01/17/2015 - 19:24.
 
 
 
 
CLEVELAND’S RED CARPET INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IN A CITY WITH A 37% POVERTY RATE:
HAIL TO THE REPUBLICANS IN 2016: JULY 18 - 21
 
THE REPUBLICANS ARE COMING:
The Republican National Convention is scheduled to be held in 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio from July 18 to 21 at The Q: Quicken Loan Arena – the home of our Cavaliers.
 
 
 
 
 
CLEVELAND’S "RED CARPET INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS" IN A CITY WITH A 37% POVERTY RATE:
 
All projects involve partnership with different entities -- public and private -- in varying degrees.
 
While they were all conceived before the Republicans decided to hold their 2016 National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio -- 
all three projects are scheduled to be ready in time for the Republican Convention in July 2016.
 
Many thanks to Eric Sandy of Cleveland Scene Magazine for coining the expression: red carpet infrastructure project.
 
*$272 Million, 32-story, 600-room, Convention Center Hotel, with no on-site parking.
 
*32 Million radical makeover of Public Square, with closure of Ontario Street & narrowing of Superior Avenue – projected to cause, in my opinion, traffic nightmares.
 
*$25 Million unnecessary Pedestrian & Bicycle Bridge when we already have two existing multi-modal crossings @ East 9th Street & West 3rd Street
 
COSTS AND PROJECTED ECONOMIC IMPACT:
 
Cost to local nonprofit Committee to host the RNC: $50 to $60 million
 
Amount to be paid by the Federal Government for Security: $50 million
 
Amount needed for Infrastructure Improvements at The Q: $30 million
 
PROJECTED ECONOMIC IMPACT: $400 Million


WOW!


THE REPUBLICANS SHOULD COME TO CLEVELAND, OHIO EVERY YEAR!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CONVENTION CENTER HOTEL:
 
Cuyahoga County is paying $272 million for the construction and furnishings for the new 32-story, 600-room hotel which will be operated by Hilton Worldwide.
 
The hotel is being built w/o any parking space in an area with a parking shortage.
 
Cooper Carry of Atlanta, and Van Aukin Eakins of Cleveland are the Architects. 
 
Groundbreaking ceremony was on April 28, 2014.
 
Scheduled to open by June 2016 in time for the Republican National Convention.
 
Construction is being managed by Turner Construction Co. and Ozanne Construction Co.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
RADICAL MAKEOVER OF PUBLIC SQUARE: 
 
The proposed $32 million radical makeover of 218-year old Public Square will require the permanent closing of Ontario Street and the narrowing of Superior Avenue from the existing 77 ft. to 48 ft. and limiting the avenue to bus traffic only. However, when there are major events, the narrowed Superior Avenue will also be closed to bus traffic. 
 
The plan is to complete the radical makeover of Public Square in time for the Republican Convention in July 2016.
However, as of 01-16-15, the RTA, which has 4,000, buses visiting Public Square every day – has not signed off on the makeover. The construction has not yet started.
 
The following is the breakdown of contributions received from our Foundations:
 
Cleveland Foundation: $8 million,
Gund Foundation: $5 million,
KeyBank Foundation: $4 million, and
Kent Hale Smith Foundation: $1 million
for a total of $18 million.
 
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) has donated $3 million for Green Infrastructure. This amount will be handed out over a number of years.
 
The source for the balance of $11 million has not yet been decided.
 
 
 
 
OPPOSITION:
The radical makeover is being actively opposed by the LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE campaign. One has to stand at the main intersection of Public Square and quickly conclude that the traffic has nowhere to go – except create nightmares. So far, the campaign has demonstrated, since early August 2014, 66-times for a total of 192-hours – mostly in Public Square.
 
PUBLIC SQUARE TO BECOME A VIRTUAL PARKING LOT, REPUBLICANS ARE COMING IN 2016: 
Scheduled to be ready in time for the Republican Convention in July 2016, the park will have Eight Bus Stops on Superior Avenue. At present there are only three bus stops on Superior and four along Ontario Street.
 
According to the Plain Dealer, between two key measures – public transit and walkability, Cleveland ranked first among the six finalists for the 2016 Republican Convention. Also, Cleveland had a low rating for possible traffic gridlocks. Unfortunately, because of traffic jams, some of the delegates to the 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa did not make it back to their hotel rooms until 3 a.m. the next morning. Joe Calabrese, CEO of the GCRTA (Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority – commonly known as the RTA), had nothing but praise for downtown Cleveland’s transportation system in selling it to the Republican organizers. 
 
Let us hope our Republican guests will not experience any traffic nightmares during their 2016 convention. Also, if they visit the renovated Public Square – let us hope, assuming it is ready, they will be able to sneak through the wall of buses on Superior Avenue – a virtual parking lot. 
 
If it ain't broke, don’t fix it.


No shortage of stupidity in Cleveland, Ohio.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AN UNNECESSARY PROJECT: IS THERE ANY JUSTIFICATION FOR BUILDING THE $25 MILLION LAKEFRONT PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLE BRIDGE IN CLEVELAND, OHIO WHEN WE ALREADY HAVE TWO FULLY-OPERATIONAL EXISTING CROSSINGS?
 
The City of Cleveland, with Cuyahoga County as the Project Manger, is planning to build a $25 million Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge connecting Mall C in downtown to the North Coast Harbor. The proposed bridge will go over existing railroad tracks, roads, and highways.
 
At present we have three existing crossings of which two are fully operational: West 3rd Street and East 9th Street. The third crossing (opposite the Browns Stadium), at present is closed, and uses steps to walk down – and then a bridge to get across. All three crossings use a combination of a bridge over the railroad tracks/roads and pedestrian walkways. The two crossings are multi-modal: cars, trucks, bicycles, and pedestrians.
 
 
 
 
 
The proposed $25 million Lakefront Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge is a taxpayer-funded project: $10 million each from the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, and the balance of $5 million from the State of Ohio.
 
 
 
 
 
Public projects should be justified based on needs.  A justification would include a traffic study that would show that the two existing bridges (East 9th and West 3rd) cannot handle the volume of pedestrians and bicyclists in the area and thus a new bridge would be needed.
 
Bonnie Tuwen (Director of Public Works, Cuyahoga County) never responded to my question raised at the 11-13-14 public meeting:
 
“What rationale was used to justify a new bridge when we already have three existing crossings – of which two are operational?” 
 
I added that Norman Krumholz (former member, Cleveland City Planning Commission, and former Prof. in the Levin College of Urban Affairs) – an opponent of the project had also raised a similar concern – that there was no justification for the new bridge.
 
Armond Budish, the new Cuyahoga County Executive, has not responded to four e-mails asking how building a new $25 million Lakefront Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge when we already have two existing crossings (East 9th and West 3rd) is consistent with his statement made at the January 4, 2015 Inauguration, a ceremony which I attended: 
 
“WE must work to save money and eliminate wasteful duplication, both with both county government and our 59 local communities”. 
 
Because a justification, based on a traffic study, does not exist – neither the US Department of Transportation, nor the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) are contributing any funds for the project. This was confirmed to me in e-mail correspondence with ODOT.
 
The $10 million share from the City of Cleveland will be coming from a $100 million bond issue. Cuyahoga County has not yet decided where their $10 million contribution will be coming from. The $5 million share from the State of Ohio will be coming from the General Fund for capital projects.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
THANKS:
Many thanks to Eric Sandy for his use of the term "red carpet infrastructure project" in the following article posted on the Cleveland Scene Magazine website -- an article which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I have used his term in my post. 
 
“City Council Approves $10 Million for Pedestrian Bridge, Rounding Out $25-Million Bill”
 
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCUQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.clevescene.com%2Fscene-and-heard%2Farchives%2F2015%2F01%2F13%2Fcity-council-approves-10-million-for-pedestrian-bridge-rounding-out-25-million-bill&ei=zdm6VIr0GYmyggS1h4KADw&usg=AFQjCNFWsPLBRlW4XTluXtlzDeqXaF6v0Q&bvm=bv.83829542,d.eXY
 
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