GREATER CLEVELAND RTA THROWS 40,000 CUSTOMERS UNDER THE BUS ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE PROJECT!

Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Sat, 02/21/2015 - 22:59.
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
GREATER CLEVELAND RTA (REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY) THROWS 40,000 CUSTOMERS UNDER THE BUS, WITH PROJECTED GRIDLOCKS & DELAYS, ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE PROJECT IN CLEVELAND, OHIO!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
THE PLAIN DEALER REJECTS PUBLICATIONS OF COMMENTS:
The Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest newspaper, rejected publication of comments, on cleveland.com, critical of Greater Cleveland RTA (Regional Transit Authority), City Hall, and the rich & powerful.
 
The comments asserted that City Hall and the rich & powerful in Cleveland, Ohio put pressure on the RTA to go along with a defective design.
 
The defective design (for Public Square) requiring blocking of major arteries (Ontario Street & Superior Avenue) would cause delays in travel time to thousands of Clevelanders and cost the RTA $50 million in operating costs, based on my analysis, to combat traffic gridlocks, over the 30-year lifespan of the renovated park.
 
LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE!
DON’T CLOSE ONTARIO STREET!
DON’T NARROW SUPERIOR AVENUE!
DON’T MESS UP THE TRAFFIC!

*RTA BUS TRIPS & RIDERS:
According to Greater Cleveland RTA – commonly known as the RTA, Public Square experiences 4,000 bus trips serving 40,000 riders every day.
 
 
 
  
*PROJECTED TRAFFIC GRIDLOCKS & DELAYS IN TRAVEL TIME:
In the 2012 Traffic Study, the Traffic Consultant concluded that blocking major arteries -- Ontario Street and Superior Avenue will not only cause traffic gridlocks and delays in travel time – but will add to the operating costs of the RTA. Despite multiple reminders sent to City Hall, I have been unable to get a copy of the Study.
 
However, the results of the Traffic Study are summarized in an article posted on cleveland.com dated August 28, 2014, with the following link:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB4QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cleveland.com%2Farchitecture%2Findex.ssf%2F2014%2F08%2Fthe_public_square_debate_rtas.html&ei=YrroVKCdOoubNsK4gcgJ&usg=AFQjCNEkRSkBpLcw4qzWwu4Xytnu7CE0UQ
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*THE PUBLIC SQUARE PROJECT: 
The proposed $32 million radical makeover of Public Square will require the permanent closing of Ontario Street – a major artery and the narrowing of Superior Avenue – another major artery -- 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. 
 
 
 
 
*CORRUPT PROCESS USED IN DEFECTIVE DESIGN:
A corrupt process was used in the development of the radical makeover of Public Square. The proposed renovation dubbed a masterpiece in urban park design – - based on the Mayor’s vision of one big square -- was actually a defective design which the Mayor knew would cause delays in travel time to thousands of Clevelanders from traffic gridlocks and cost the RTA millions in operating costs over the lifespan of the renovated park. 
 
*RENDERING OF THE RENOVATED PUBLIC SQUARE: 
A MASTERPIECE IN DECEPTION!
VIRTUAL PARKING LOT FOR BUSES!
 
With four lanes of bus traffic, and eight bus stops on Superior Avenue, the rendering by world-famous Landscape Architect, James Corner Field Operations of New York City, shows only one bus – as far as the eye can see.
 
No one has asked why the Group Plan Commission was engaging in mass deception by showing only one bus – as far as the eye can see. 
 
EIGHT BUS STOPS AND ONLY ONE BUS!

ONE BUS! REALLY! WHOM ARE THEY KIDDING?

Planners in City Hall say: WOW! AWESOME!

I say: MASS DECEPTION!
 
This rendering is posted on the site of the Group Plan Commission and repeated ad infinitum by the media – including the Plain Dealer and the TV stations – conveying the impression of a romantic landscape in an urban setting – totally devoid from the actual reality. 
 
During rush hours I can easily count 12 to 24 buses. After all the RTA has 4,000 buses visiting Public Square every day.
 
With buses nowhere to turn, Superior Avenue, in my opinion, will be transformed into a virtual parking lot for buses.
 
 
 
 
 
TRAFFIC TEST & PUBLIC MEETINGS: Mayor Jackson (“It is what it is”) ignored the request for a One-Week Long Traffic Test and holding of Public Meetings to discuss the Traffic plan. His honor did not respond to an e-mail and a certified letter. The RTA rejected both requests claiming the renovation of Public Square was not their project – even though the RTA will be spending $50 million for operating expenses to combat gridlocks during the 30-year lifespan.  
 
The absence of the Traffic Test and the Public Meetings will be seen as a denial of due process and the imposition of the will of City Hall on 40,000 bus riders who use RTA buses in Public Square; other bus riders who use Laketran and other buses; and thousands of vehicle drivers.
 
For the record, Mr. Jackson also never responded to the prior e-mails of August 24, September 14, October 19, and November 28, 2014, and February 9, February 16, 2015. . A Request for Public Documents is pending since October 16, 2014.
 
Deception was used to convey the image of the renovated park as a romantic landscape in an urban setting with only one bus on Superior Avenue as far as the eye can see.
 
RTA PUBLIC MEETING OF FEBRUARY 3, 2015: At this Public Meeting:
 
*There was no public participation. I sat through like a potted plant/
 
*Board members did not ask any serious questions – not even one.
 
*No one asked why a One-Week Long Traffic Test was not being conducted to verify the very complicated Traffic Plan.
 
*No one asked why Public Meetings were not being held?
 
* No one asked why a defective design was selected – a design which according to the 2012 Traffic Study will cause delays in travel time to thousands from traffic gridlocks and cost the RTA millions in operating costs?
 
*No one asked why the RTA should be paying millions for operating costs resulting from gridlocks caused by a non-RTA project? 
 
*No one asked why the Group Plan Commission was engaging in mass deception by showing a rendering of the renovated Public Square where Superior Avenue with four lanes of buses and eight bus stops will have one bus – as far as the eye can see.
 
*GRIDLOCKS:
One has to stand at the intersection of Public Square and easily conclude that the traffic has nowhere to go except create gridlocks.  
 
The gridlocks will cause delays in travel time to thousands of Clevelanders and millions in operating costs to the RTA for combating gridlocks. All this resulting from a masterpiece in urban park design.
 
I am not alone in this assessment.
 
According to a 2012 Traffic Study, the Traffic Consultant concluded  -- this condition (closing Ontario & narrowing Superior) will cause significant delays; blocking of intersections; long lines; 8,500 boardings/alightings moved to adjacent blocks; increased travel time for 18 bus routes; and $1.05 million in Additional Annual Operating Costs to the RTA. However, according to the RTA, the figure should be $1.6 million in Additional Annual Operating Costs.
 
Joseph A. Calabrese, RTA CEO & General Manager, in an interview published in The Plain Dealer and reported on cleveland.com on August 28, 2014(“The Public Square debate: RTA's Joe Calabrese is "cautiously optimistic," but seeks info about the impact of a redesign on bus transit”) stated:
 
“But Calabrese said RTA needs to know more about whether re-routing buses would potentially increase the
authority's operating costs by up to $1.6 million a year, as the Nelson Nygaard analysis stated.”
 
Note: The link to the August 28, 2014 interview is the same as the previous link.
 
 
Note: The Plain Dealer’s Steven Litt, Art & Architectural Critic, is one of the biggest cheerleaders for the radical makeover. 
 
Unfortunately, Mr. Litt, has not responded to repeated requests questioning his statements about the existing Public Square. 
 
Mr. Litt’s following statement is not supported by the 2012 Traffic Study  because closing Ontario Street is not feasible, as Mr. Litt asserts, because the Traffic Study has shown – it will create gridlocks, delays in travel time, and add to the operating costs for the RTA.
 
 “That analysis showed that closing Ontario Street as it runs through the square would be feasible, and that buses could be routed around the square and through Superior Avenue without significant changes to the flow of traffic downtown.”
  
During 16-months of construction, March 2015 to June 2016 – both Ontario Street and Superior Avenue will be closed to traffic. Cars and buses from six lanes of Ontario Street and four lanes of Superior Avenue will be routed along three lanes of the perimeter roadway – where the inner lane is already dedicated to the 60-foot long articulated buses of the HealthLine.
So two lanes of the perimeter roadway will have to accommodate cars and buses from ten lanes.
 
In addition to causing gridlocks and delays in travel time, this constriction poses a safety hazard.
 
How will ambulances or firetrucks reach a vehicle that needs attention and is stuck in the middle?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CLEVELAND STATE LINE MAKING A TURN FROM OUTER LANE ON WEST-BOUND ONTARIO STREET TO MIDDLE-LANE OF NORTH-BOUND SUPERIOR AVENUE!
 
WILL THIS BUS BE ABLE TO MAKE A TURN & STAY IN LANE ON THE EAST ROADWAY? SO FAR (02-21-15), RTA HAS NOT PROVIDED A RESPONSE!
 
 
 
 
 
 
RTA also cannot explain how other 60-foot long articulated buses (Cleveland State Line, #22, and #26) will make turns at almost right-angled corners without encroaching in to the adjoining lanes and cause accidents.
 
 
GREATER CLEVELAND RTA CLAIMS THEY DON’T HAVE READILY AVAILABLE DATA ON THE TURNING RADII OF THEIR BUSES & TROLLEYS!


ONE CAN ONLY SURMISE – RTA BUSES STAY IN STRAIGHT LINES!

WHAT NONSENSE COMING FROM A PREMIER TRANSIT AGENCY?
 
 
According to the 2012 Traffic Study, the Traffic Consultant concluded that closing both Ontario Street and Superior Avenue would add significant delays, significant queues, 17,800 boardings/alightings moved to adjacent blocks, increased travel time for 26 bus routes, and up to $2.6 million in additional Annual RTA Operating Costs.
 
The 16-month projected construction period (March 2015 to June 2016) will add $3.5 million (2.6 x 16/12) to the RTA Operating Costs. 
 
*MONEY FOR RENOVATION OF PUBLIC SQUARE:
So far our Foundations have contributed a total of $18 million (Cleveland - $8 million, Gund -- $5 million, Keybank - $4 million, and. Kent Hale Smith -- $1 million) and also have secured naming rights to parts of the renovated park. The Sewer District has contributed $3 million for green infrastructure to be paid over a number of years. 
 
We don’t know where the balance of the money will be coming from.
 
*COMPLETION:
The plan is to complete the radical makeover of Public Square in time for the Republican National Convention in July 2016. However, as of February 21, 2015 the construction has not yet started.
 
Construction was scheduled to start in Fall 2014, and the start date keeps on being put off. Public Square remained dark during the 2014 Christmas season.
 
The last projected start date was February 23, 2015.
 
 
*THE PLAIN DEALER REJECTS COMMENTS FOR PUBLICATION ON THEIR CLEVELAND.COM WEBSITE!

DOUBLE TALK FROM THE GREATER CLEVELAND RTA!
 
RTA PROMISE MADE IN THE PLAIN DEALER & LATER BROKEN: Joseph A. Calabrese, RTA CEO & General Manager, gave an interview to Steven Litt – art and architectural critic of The Plain Dealer.
 
In the interview published in The Plain Dealer (“The Public Square debate: RTA's Joe Calabrese is "cautiously optimistic," but seeks info about the impact of a redesign on bus transit”) and reported in cleveland.com on August 28, 2014, Mr. Calabrese is quoted as follows:
 
“Calabrese said that removing buses from the square, or relegating them to the outer roads, would be out of the question.”
 
 
 
 
OCTOBER 2014 RIDER’S DIGEST: The October 2014 copy of RTA’s Rider’s Digest has a lead article by Mr. Calabrese with the following quotes:
 
“We have a seat at the table to represent your needs.”
 
“Our goal is that a new design not only maintains, but enhances, the convenience and attractiveness of public transit in and around downtown.”
 
“Studies on the project continue. As soon as plans take shape with respect to the re-location of RTA bus stops, we hope to meet with our customers to share this information.”
 
“We remain optimistic about this great opportunity to make Public Square look better, and work better, for all Clevelanders.”
 
 
 
 
 
E-MAIL: In an e-mail, dated January 29, 2015, Joe Calabrese stated
 
“Let me reiterate that this is not an RTA project and although we are at the table for many discussions and to give our input, we are not driving the bus on this one.”
 
FEBRUARY 2015 RIDER’S DIGEST: The February 2014 copy of RTA’s Rider’s Digest has a lead article by Mr. Calabrese with the following quotes pertaining to RTA’s Mission Statement:
 
“It’s all about YOU – our valued customer”.
 
“We will follow through on every promise, whether it be service delivery, or completing a construction project. Our word is our bond.”
 
NOTE: I have great respect for Mr. Calabrese and what he does for the RTA customers. However, in the case of the Public Square Project, the needs of the customers were not met and the RTA while not driving the bus on the project -- nevertheless literally threw us (the customers) under the bus. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*COMMENTS REJECTED BY THE PLAIN DEALER ON THEIR CLEVELAND.COM WEBSITE:
 
The following comments were posted on cleveland.com (The Plain Dealer’s website) on 02-19-15 shortly before 10:00 p.m. They stayed on the site for about 20 minutes in the “pending” status after which they were deleted.
 
RTA THROWS 40,000 CUSTOMERS UNDER THE BUS!
 
In an interview published in The Plain Dealer (“The Public Square debate: RTA's Joe Calabrese is "cautiously optimistic," but seeks info about the impact of a redesign on bus transit”) and reported in cleveland.com on August 28, 2014, Joseph A. Calabrese, RTA CEO & General Manager is quoted as follows:
 
“Calabrese said that removing buses from the square, or relegating them to the outer roads, would be out of the question.”
 
 
Again, Mr. Calabrese, writing in the February 2015 edition of RTA’s Rider’s Digest, stated:
 
“It’s all about YOU – our valued customer”.
 
“We will follow through on every promise, whether it be service delivery, or completing a construction project. Our word is our bond.”
 
Mr. Calabrese after promising: “removing buses from the square, or relegating them to the outer roads, would be out of the question,” and reminding riders that they were “our valued customers,” “we will follow through on every promise”, and “Our word is our bond” -- threw 40,000 of RTA’s customers literally under the bus by removing all buses from the square and relegating them to the outer roads during 16-months of construction when both Ontario Street and Superior Avenue – two major arteries will be closed to traffic.
 
When construction starts, both Ontario Street (6 lanes) and Superior Avenue (4 lanes) – two major arteries will be closed and the traffic from 10 lanes will be routed around the 3-lane perimeter roads – creating a ring of steel -- where the inner lane is already dedicated to the 60-foot long articulated buses of the HealthLine. According to the 2012 Traffic Study, this condition will create traffic gridlocks resulting in delays in travel time and up to $3.5 million in additional operating cost to the RTA.
 
So two lanes of the perimeter roadway will have to accommodate cars and buses from ten lanes.
 
In addition to causing gridlocks and delays in travel time, this constriction poses a safety hazard.
 
How will ambulances or firetrucks reach a vehicle that needs attention and is stuck in the middle?
 
RTA cannot explain how other 60-foot long articulated buses (Cleveland State Line, #22, and #26) will make turns at almost right-angled corners without encroaching in to the adjoining lanes and cause accidents?
 
When the renovated Public Square opens, Ontario Street will still remain closed while Superior Avenue will open to four lanes of bus traffic only. The remaining traffic will flow on the perimeter roads. The traffic gridlocks will continue and RTA will be spending $1 million every year in additional operating costs. However, in the August 28, 2014 interview, Mr. Calabrese quoted a higher figure:
 
“But Calabrese said RTA needs to know more about whether re-routing buses would potentially increase the authority's operating costs by up to $1.6 million a year, as the Nelson Nygaard analysis stated.”
 
There would have been no need for all this change if the RTA had not yielded to political pressure from City Hall and the rich and powerful to go along with a defective design which would cause delays in travel time to thousands of Clevelanders and cost the RTA millions in operating costs over the lifespan of the renovated park.
 
I have been actively opposing the proposed $32 million radical makeover for the past seven months. So far there have been over 200 hours of demonstrations. Our LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE signs have been seen by thousands. One has to stand at the main intersection of Ontario Street and Superior Avenue – and quickly conclude that the traffic has nowhere to go except create gridlocks and delays in travel time.
 
This project is going to have so many traffic nightmares – and this is from the 2012 Traffic Study - that City Hall and the RTA have no idea what monster they have unleashed.
 
The photograph shown in the article is not representative of the current condition in Public Square with snow and ice which make getting on and off a bus – a challenge/hazard. A recent photograph (02-03-15) is attached for benefit of the readers.
 
 
 
OPPOSITION:
I have been actively opposing the proposed $32 million radical makeover for the past seven months. So far there have been over 200 hours of demonstrations. Our LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE signs have been seen by thousands. One has to stand at the main intersection of Ontario Street and Superior Avenue – and quickly conclude that the traffic has nowhere to go except create gridlocks and delays in travel time.
 
Way to go, Cleveland, Ohio! No shortage of stupidity here.
 
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PREVIOUS RELATED POSTS ON REALNEO:
 
02-14-15: IS CITY HALL COMPROMISING WITH SAFETY BY CHOKING PUBLIC SQUARE’S MAJOR ARTERIES?
 
12-27-14: A 3-HOUR DEMONSTRATION IN PUBLIC SQUARE ON A PLEASANT FRIDAY, 12-26-14, AFTERNOON!
 
12-21-14: CAVS vs. GRIZZLIES! FANS SUPPORT THE LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE CAMPAIGN IN CLEVELAND, OHIO!
 
12-14-14: BROWNS vs. BENGALS! FANS AGAIN SUPPORT THE LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE CAMPAIGN IN CLEVELAND, OHIO!
 
12-07-14: BROWNS’ FANS SUPPORT THE LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE CAMPAIGN IN CLEVELAND, OHIO!
 
12-04-14: PUBLIC SQUARE ROCKS WITH TWO DEMONSTRATIONS ON A COLD THURSDAY, 12-04-14, AFTERNOON!
 
11-27-14: CONFLUENCE OF TWO DEMONSTRATIONS IN PUBLIC SQUARE IN CLEVELAND, OHIO!
 
10-31-14: BEATING THE RAIN IN PUBLIC SQUARE ON A DRIZZLY HALLOWEEN AFTERNOON!
 
10-30-14: PUBLIC SQUARE IN DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND ROCKS WITH CAVS’ FANS DURING A COOL BUT PLEASANT THURSDAY
10-30-14 AFTERNOON/EVENING!
 
10-26-14: TALK OF THE TOWN – I: The LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE Campaign Rocks Cleveland, Ohio!
 
09-06-14: TRANSIT POLICE QUESTION ACTIVIST WAVING “LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE” SIGN IN DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OHIO 
 
08-17-14: LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE: DON’T CLOSE ONTARIO STREET, DON’T NARROW SUPERIOR AVENUE, & DON’T MESS UP THE TRAFFIC
 
 
 
 
 
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RNC Convention will highlight morass of DEM politics

 

Thank you Mr. Puri - we can only state the obvious concerns.  I also spoke at the Metroparks board meeting regarding the need to make transit

routes, especially West 25th corridor and Healthline operable for the Republican National Convention.  I mentioned the number of people riding transit during the Gay Games.

Board President Dan Moore expressed skepticism about buses - (I am sure no Republicans EVER ride a bus :).

 

 This two-tier mentality is killing any real renaissance in Cleveland.  Our so-called leaders are useless.