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Ohio is watching a "transit death spiral" unfold

Marc Lefkowitz  |  12/04/17 @ 12:00pm  |  Posted in Transit, Vibrant cities

2017 saw Cleveland transit advocates clash with Mayor Jackson over his decision to close Public Square (then re-open it) to buses. But that tempest played out in a teapot compared to what the State of Ohio is preparing to (not) do this month when a long-awaited medical service sales tax cut is expected to blow a hole in the budgets...

<br />RTA cut service to its suburban trains in 2016<br />Many Clevelanders will be stranded in economic islands of lost opportunity if RTA is forced to shut down 10 percent of its system in 2018<br />Ohio lavishes tens of millions of dollars on highways, like this empty highway which is being decommissioned in Akron, instead of flexing those highway funds to be used on transit.<br />The Public Square closure to buses was a distraction from the real issue facing transit - a state that has historically undervalued and underfunded it.

Trees gain ally: Science and Technology

Marc Lefkowitz  |  11/02/17 @ 11:00am  |  Posted in Vibrant cities, Transform, Plants & animals

“Urban Forests” author Jill Jonnes offered Cleveland an invaluable lesson on how the city earned, and then lost, its moniker ‘the Forest City.’ Speaking at Levin College of Urban Affairs yesterday, Jonnes harkened back to John Davey, the 19th century arborist from Kent, Ohio whose book “The Tree Doctor” inspired today’s 8,000-employee Kent-headquartered tree service company, Davey Tree. In a chapter in...

<br />Science and tech have shown how much street trees add to property value and perform valuable ecological services like cleaning the air and reducing flooding.

University Circle expands transit link to Little Italy and Coventry

Marc Lefkowitz  |  10/10/17 @ 3:00pm  |  Posted in Vibrant cities, Transportation choices

For the past year and a half, I have been working with other sustainable transportation advocates in their respective University Circle workplaces to convene a Sustainable Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC). Our mission is to “Improve community health, reduce carbon emissions, and mitigate traffic congestion by increasing the use of sustainable, multi-modal transportation options and establishing a ‘park once’ district.” With...

<br />The CirclLink / BlueLink line picks up passengers on Coventry Road<br /><br /><br /><br />New mixed use, residential / commercial density in University Circle

The long distance affair for transit

Marc Lefkowitz  |  03/10/17 @ 12:00pm  |  Posted in Transit, Vibrant cities

A healthy debate is swirling around Northeast Ohio's “spatial mismatch” between people seeking work and the employment centers where jobs are moving. The debate centers on the role of transit to connect households in Cleveland’s urban core—up to 40% of which are car free—to jobs that are increasingly moving out to the periphery of the metropolitan area.

Rail runs through it<br />Solon, Ohio has gained manufacturers like Stouffers. Transit is limited from Cleveland. A freight line (seen here) was studied for its commuter rail feasibility in 2002.Little there<br />A low density suburban development in Northeast Ohio typifies the challenge of increasing transit.

When Cleveland invests in transit-oriented development, it succeeds

Marc Lefkowitz  |  02/13/17 @ 9:00am  |  Posted in Transit, Vibrant cities

Cities that are jumping on transit are glad they did. Transit attracts "environmentally conscious, outgoing people, largely in their 30s and 40s, who are open to taking transit but find the service inconvenient or inadequate," a 2014 national poll found. "Policymakers and transit providers could most easily increase transit ridership by focusing on this group."

Smart line<br />Cleveland State University and RTA invested in major upgrades to its #55 bus to serve a young population interested in transit resulting in a 43 percent increase to ridership.Down and out<br />Sprawl without growth has left Greater Cleveland with a legacy of vacant units, mounting transportation costs, government debt, and tens of thousands of excess properties. Perversely, these development trends hurt municipal revenues and cripple local capacity to regulate land use development and transportation investments. Nevertheless, the Ohio Department of Development and NOACA project these trends to continue through 2030.

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