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How Grace Gallucci's call for more transit will scan at NOACA

Marc Lefkowitz  |  09/19/13 @ 1:00pm

A new report on Bus-Rapid Transit (BRT) has a simple calculus to determine the success of Cleveland’s Health-Tech Line.

Start up(cycle) business<br />Cleveland Container Structures will retrofit shipping containers into your next house.A line in<br />Cleveland spurred $5.8 billion in redevelopment with its $220 million Euclid Avenue BRT project (including the announcement that Heinen's will locate a grocery store in the Cleveland Trust rotunda, pictured).

Institute for Transportation and Development Policy studied 21 BRT lines and calculates that Cleveland “leveraged” $114 in new development for every $1 dollar spent on Euclid. The report claims three factors lead to fruitful BRT:

“Government support is the most important predictor of success. Second, the land market strength—if you’re putting your corridor in a really good place. Third is the quality of the transit.”

How will these three ingredients flavor Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s future plans for BRT? If there is a lesson here for Cleveland and its suburbs it may be the oft-quoted, “make no small plans.” When it comes to BRT, the more visionary and fully-built the line, it turns out, the bigger its economic development engine. Can an appendage like a highway interchange claim this level of cost-benefit?

  • How will Cleveland prioritize its sustainability plans in the coming five years? What success has it measured in the past five? Find out, and contribute your ideas at this year’s Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit. Registration is closing soon. The 2013 Summit will focus on implementing the City’s recently finished Climate Action Plan that was co-created by more than 50 businesses and organizations. The CAP consists of 33 actions in the following areas: Energy Efficiency & Green Building, Advanced & Renewable Energy, Sustainable Mobility, Waste Reduction & Resource Conservation, Land Use & Clean Water, and Community Engagement & Public Health.
  • One of Cleveland’s sustainability summit indirect success stories comes from Michael Rastatter who recently launched a company, Cleveland Container Structures. Rastatter, formerly at Cleveland Thermal, has been an active participant in the SC2019 initiative. His venture to ‘upcycle’ shipping containers for homes, businesses or maybe even an RV shows the clever thinking that Cleveland hopes to spur. You’ll have a chance to chat with Rastatter at this weekend’s Ingenuity Fest where he’ll have a booth.
  • Is there a future for regionalism in Northeast Ohio? In October, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sustainability Consortium will bottom line the region’s latest effort to cobble an alliance out of a group with widely disparate views in order to address problems and formulate a plan. We can see the fruits of this labor in their vision for a more sustainable development pattern in a series of Vision Sessions. NEOSCC found that if the region does nothing different, aka ‘business as usual’, we will lock in a course of fiscal distress for our 7-county region due mostly to sprawl and abandoned properties. Push back from groups on the fringe, though, has once again illustrated how thorny it is to hold together regionalism as a framework for thought, let alone action. The discussion about important issues too often are sidetracked by the tempests in a teapot. For example, how do you find common ground with a topic like dealing with flooding? NEOSCC has a grasp of the environmental impacts of sprawl, and is expected to meet the challenge with some answers on how we transition to building more vibrant, existing areas. Will it be enough to scan with folks if they don’t believe in reasonable measures that include ‘fix it first’, zoning and land-use planning to control for the worst that mother nature can dish out.
  • One hopeful sign that regional governance is girding for an new era of sustainable development could be seen at NOACA’s annual meeting this week, themed, “Multi-modal innovation.” In NOACA executive director, Grace Gallucci, and her call for more transit investments across the region is a leader who recognizes that transportation investments can respond, and even encourage, a positive market trend. Millennials, as a large group, are driving less than any generation (a 23% drop in miles driven) in recent history. Gallucci would like NOACA to respond as this cohort increasingly moves to urban places and chooses other forms of transportation. An important area to keep watching is how will NOACA’s actions reflect this new thinking. For example, where it and AMATs, the Akron-area MPO, will have the most impact in building up and in can be found in the long list of roads in their Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Will ‘improvement’ translate to more and wider roads ahead of repairing without ‘Supersizing’? The latest round of TIP projects approved by the state is filled with projects that will make suburban and rural roads fatter, which continues a trend of moving in one direction—low-density, high-energy development on farmland and open space. The TIP might be up for an examination that compares true 'fix it first' projects to those with more or wider lanes so that Gallucci and her young, progressive colleague at AMATs, Jason Segedy, will be better able to tack the region’s MPOs in the direction the wind is blowing.

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BRT Fan
3 years ago

Given the success of the HealthLine, isn't it amazing that the Clifton Boulevard transit improvements will not include a single BRT element?

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