GREED threatens Red Line Greenway potential

Submitted by lmcshane on Thu, 11/08/2018 - 16:31.


Red Line Greenway

Why the Potential Sale of Land threatens the Greenway

November 2018


1 – Over 20,000 children live in the eight neighborhoods the RLG will reconnect and most have little or no access to green space.


2 – Over 52% of the children living near the RLG are in poverty. Many suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder with little or no access to nature.


3 – Cleveland only has 2.5% green space versus a 6% national average for metropolitan areas.


4 – Exposure to nature, especially for young people, encourages exploration, contemplation, healthy lifestyles and improved social skills, among many other benefits.


5 – RTA is relying on an outdated 2013 study to support the sale of land. The surrounding neighborhoods have experienced explosive growth since this study was completed with thousands of new homes and apartments coming online. Much of this development is due to the 2014 funding of the RLG. At the time of the study the RLG had not been funded.


6 – No other greenway in America is known to have ever sold publicly owned green space for the sake of development or increasing ridership on public transportation.


7 – Many trails in America have seen explosive economic development along their borders, all on privately owned land. The RLG is already seeing such development on privately owned land.


8 – The land in question is only 75’ deep and 700’ long and it has a 20’ drop from front to back making it difficult to develop. Earlier development proposals called for a 24’ paved access road between the RLG and the development. The sale of this land would limit the RLG to a 10’ to 12’ wide ally with chain link fences on both sides.


9 – RTA points out that this land represents only 4% of all the land on the RLG. This particular land is in the “red zone” which will be the most highly used section and a key tourist site.


10 – RTA says that money from the sale is not the issue. Their goal is to increase ridership on all forms of public transportation. While this is a worthy goal, the explosive growth happening now means they may have trouble meeting the demand already planned in the area including two new 10 story towers at West 25th and Lorain Ave. How much density is enough?


11 – Columbus Road has had major growth since 2013 including at least three new businesses and two new condo developments directly across the street from the land for sale. They all rely on street parking which will be further threatened by more development.


12 – Columbus Road serves as over flow parking for the West Side Market and all the businesses on West 25th Street.


13 – Eleven schools are within walking distance of the RLG making it a key “safe route to school” for students and a major opportunity for outdoor education.


14 – A big advantage of greenways over trails is that greenways have social gathering places where people may go for a stroll or to see who is out and about. The High Line in New York is considered the world’s premier greenway. Their 2018 Fall newsletter says “The High Line is more than just a social gathering place; it’s a place to escape the city life and to reconnect with nature and with yourself”. Does a 10’ wide trail bound by chain link fences sound like a social gathering space?


15 – The RLG has been maintained by volunteers for the past 43 years. It was conceived in 2009 by a volunteer and volunteer participation has exploded since. Should RTA profit from this work?


16 - RTA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014 to study the feasibility of the RLG. Once it was determined to be feasible it committed to “maximize greenway integrity and adequate width”.  A 12’ trail is not a greenway and is not adequate for any form of quality trail.


17 – The RLG should be Cleveland’s destination trail with a world-class design due to its unique location and the ability to be the only trail that goes downtown off-road and at-grade. Squeezing the greenway into a “cattle shoot” design only 12’ wide would ruin any chances of realizing this goal and perhaps even lead to wide spread criticism of the design.



Don’t kill the Goose that laid the Golden Egg! A poor design will halt all the momentum we have enjoyed since the RLG was announced. This one-in-a-lifetime opportunity is everyone’s responsibility. The sale of this land will turn a verdant green valley into a cement ally!


Please call or write the RTA board of directors at gcrtaboard [at] gcrta [dot] org or at 216-356-3120.


Lennie Stover

Founder & Project Coordinator

Red Line Greenway


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