"OPPORTUNITY CORRIDOR" REHEARSAL?

Submitted by Jeff Buster@rea... on Sun, 01/15/2006 - 20:34.

 What do you think of the last 40 years of "urban planning" and neighborhood sensitivity - which represents the track record of the University Circle corporations and institutions -  who are now lobbying for their "Opportunity Corridor"? 

Look at the big pictures

Lots of important lessons to be learned and issues to address here.

Your picture is of an old Sears that had been abandoned due to urban sprawl and Cleveland shrinking (I remember going here as a kid). Rather than allow this to become a pox on the neighborhood, high level community leaders placed two major arts establishments here - and had Philip Johnson design one of the facilities. This was all good, as far as I know.

I heard the director of the Cleveland Playhouse speak about planning for this site and neighborhood and his institution (at one of the old Tuesday@REIs) and he seems sharp, but they face serious challenges. Now that MOCA is going down to the Triangle, imagine the Cleveland Playhouse going the way of the Cleveland Ballet, and this property abandoned. That is a possibility.

Having lived on Hessler Street I have a thorough knowledge of the strong hand od development in the University Circle area, but I also know strong citizen action won more often than The Man... the very existence of Hessler proves that.

But, now that Chris Ronanyne is President of University Circle Inc. we should give him a chance to lead well. 

While past freeway efforts have torn apart Cleveland and area communities, and caused huge problems for society, the region is now poised to make some intelligent decisions about transportation that will impact quality of life for the next century.

Let's be smart about the "Opportunity Corridor", as we are starting to be smart about other major development projects in the area. Our community has risen up to have a voice in the ODOT redesign of the I-90 bridge over the Cuyahoga and the Innerbelt through downtown Cleveland - let's have a voice with the "Opportunity", with a holistic view of NEO Transportation 2100.

The Opportunity Corridor will connect the end of 490 at E.55th with University Circle - the route is to be determined. This will mean the demolition on 100s of homes, disruption of 1,000s of lives, and long-term redefinition of neighborhoods.

It will also reroute 10,000s cars a day around downtown Cleveland by offering direct access between the East Side of Cleveland and the South and West Suburbs.

All this may be for good and bad - may be beautiful or ugly. In the best case, the corridor will improve the flow of traffic and commerce on the East Side of Cleveland, while developing major new attractions and amenities.

Connected to this, the Euclid Corridor project will offer better public transportation between University Circle and downdown. The Mid-Town area between is being termed the Innovation Zone and will become a major development corridor. We need this area (which includes where you photographed) to develop as infill to what is happening at the University Circle and downtown hubs.

In other transit-changing developments, with election of Jackson the Lakefront plan will get a fresh look, and something will start to happen with that.  Two major projects on the East Bank of the Flats will reshape that urban grid, and work is underway to better route truck traffic out of the Flats to the freeways.

Lots to keep an eye on right now!