LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE: DON’T CLOSE ONTARIO STREET, DON’T NARROW SUPERIOR AVENUE, & DON’T MESS UP THE TRAFFIC!

Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Sun, 08/17/2014 - 20:29.

LEAVE CLEVELAND, OHIO’S, PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE:

DON’T CLOSE ONTARIO STREET,
DON’T NARROW SUPERIOR, AVENUE, &
DON’T MESS UP THE TRAFFIC!

STOP THE STUPIDITY!

WHY FIX SOMETHING IF IT’S NOT BROKEN?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WILL PROPOSED $30 MILLION RADICAL MAKEOVER
OF CLEVELAND, OHIO’S. 218-YEAR OLD PUBLIC SQUARE RESULT IN A TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE?

RADICAL MAKEOVER:

City Hall is planning a radical $30 million makeover of Public Square.

Mayor Jackson has a vision for Public Square. “I want to see one big square”, the mayor said in a 2011 interview.

The four separate quadrants, that have existed for most of the time when the square was laid out over 200-years ago (in 1796), will be combined to form two rectangles.

This makeover will require the permanent closing of Ontario Street and the narrowing of Superior Avenue from the existing 77 ft. to 44 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. Existing traffic will be routed along the perimeter roads and other avenues & streets.

The makeover, being designed by James Corner  -- renowned American Landscape Architect -- will include:
*Increasing the green space by removing the road pavement.
*Adding about 50 more trees, a splash zone, meandering pathway, etc.
*Relocating the Moses Cleaveland & Tom L. Johnson statues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012 TRAFFIC STUDY:
According to a $120,000 Traffic Study done in 2012, and paid for by City Hall, Nelson Nygaard – the San Francisco based Traffic Consultant concluded that re-routing of traffic 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 RTA Operating Costs.

If both Ontario Street and Superior Avenue are closed – as Mayor Jackson wanted – the additional Annual RTA Operating Cost would increase to $2.6 million and the re-routing would affect 17,800 boardings/alightings and increased travel time for 26 bus routes. City Hall decided against this alternative.

 

 

 

 

 

FUNDING:
The funding will come from both private and public sources. So far the Cleveland Foundation has committed $8 million and the Gund Foundation $5 million – with a balance of $17 million remaining.
The contributions from the Foundations are for the radical makeover of the square and in no way will compensate the RTA for their $1.05 million in additional Annual RTA Operating Cost or the delay in travel time caused to commuters whose cost we don’t know.

At present, the traffic flows smoothly along both Ontario Street and Superior Avenue. Any improvement, no matter how much money our Foundations contribute, that does not address the traffic component to an urban setting, cannot be considered a good improvement.

PUBLIC SQUARE WAS ONE BIG SQUARE FOR 10-YEARS:
The current plan to unite the four quadrants into two rectangles is not the first attempt to mess around with the original layout of Public Square –dedicated on July 22, 1796 by Moses Cleaveland and his team of surveyors.

Public Square was unified, at the request of the residents, from 1857 to 1867, by installing a white double-railed fence all around and preventing any traffic from coming in. After the business community complained -- the fence was removed and the traffic was allowed to flow freely. So, Public Square has remained in its present form (four quadrants) for most of the 218-years (1796-2014) it has been in existence.

GREEN SPACES & TRAFFIC:
Parks are a very important component of urban environments – and unless they provide us with the greenery we are looking for and also permit free flow of traffic – they fail to serve their intended purpose.

For example, New York City’s renowned Central Park – unifies both green spaces and traffic and is not really one continuous park – but five separate parts connected by bridges or underpasses – a connection done so seamlessly by Fredrick Law Olmsted, the designer, that most New Yorkers are not aware of it. The connectors cross the bathtubs (depressed roadways for the most part) that carry the cross-town traffic. I became aware of the separate components in the course of walking multiple times, all over the park, in preparation for lectures that I have given on the Bridges of Central Park. My late wife and I are former New Yorkers.

IF IT’S NOT BROKEN:
As Public Square is not broken, there is no need to fix it. Minor repairs can be easily addressed by the City’s Department of Parks.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for the end of 2014 and the makeover completed by June 2016 in time for the Republican Convention.

NOTE:
I don’t have a car, don’t know how to drive, use public transportation, and walk for hours when I am in downtown Cleveland. I love green spaces. Our house faces west side’s Jefferson Park. As a concerned Clevelander – I worry about the negative effects of decisions made by City Hall on our residents – mostly those that are less fortunate. Hence, this campaign.

 

FLYER & DEMONSTRATIONS:
Demonstrations have started, mostly in Public Square, to inform Clevelanders of the negative impact on traffic from the proposed radical makeover.

Flyers are being distributed and concerned citizens are being urged to call Mayor Jackson and express their concerns.

As of 08-17-18 – there have been there have been three demonstrations for a total of 11-hours  – mostly in Public Square, and also in Downtown Cleveland. 600-copies of the flyer (2-half pages) have been distributed. Most Clevelanders I have spoken with have no idea of the details of the negative impacts of the proposed radical makeover.

City Hall and the RTA have done nothing, so far, to educate the commuters.

 

 

 

*LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE:
3-HR. DEMONSTRATION ROCKS PUBLIC SQUARE
ON A SUNNY & WARM THURSDAY, 08-07-14, AFTERNOON!
SIGNS SEEN BY HUNDREDS!
CLEVELANDER’S READ OUR FLYER & AGREE RADICAL MAKEOVER OF SQUARE WILL CREATE A TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE!

 

 

 

*LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE:
WEST SIDE’S JEFFERSON PARK IN CLEVELAND, OHIO WELCOMES THE “LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE”             CAMPAIGN ON TUESDAY, 08-12-14.

 

*LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE:
5-HR. DEMONSTRATION ROCKS PUBLIC SQUARE
& DOWNTOWN ON A SUNNY & PLEASANT WEDNESDAY,
08-13-14, AFTERNOON & EARLY EVENING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE:
3-HR. DEMONSTRATION ROCKS PUBLIC SQUARE
ON A SUNNY & PLEASANT FRIDAY
08-15-14, AFTERNOON & EARLY EVENING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Please visit the blog of Steven Litt, Art & Architrctural Critic of The Plain Dealer for articles on the radical makeover of Public Square:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved...

LINK TO 2012 TRAFFIC STUDY:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCQQ...

APPENDIX:
BRIEF HISTORY 0F 218-YEAR OLD PUBLIC SQUARE

While the Landscaping in the Four Quadrants has changed a number of times since 1796, Ontario Street and Superior Avenue have remained open for most of the 218-year period.

1796: 9.5 acre Public Square opened as a grazing area and a meeting place bisected by wide streets.

1857: A white double-railed fence was installed all around and both Ontario Street and Superior Avenue ended at the perimeter – an action demanded by residents who wanted one big square.

1861: Named changed, by City Council, to “Monumental Park” in honor of monument erected for Commodore Perry in 1860. Monument was later removed in 1892 and moved to another location. However, the name “Public Square” stuck.

1867: Fence removed after objections from the business community.

1879: First successful installation of electric streetlights on April 29.

1888: Statue of Moses Cleaveland, founder of our fair city, unveiled.

1894: 125-ft high Soldiers and Sailors Monument dedicated on July 4th.

1916: Statue of Mayor Tom L. Johnson unveiled.

1986: Completion of rehabilitation as a result of neglect spreading over a number of years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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