Blog › Time to decide on statewide passenger rail and a multi-modal Innerbelt Bridge


Time to decide on statewide passenger rail and a multi-modal Innerbelt Bridge

Marc Lefkowitz  |  11/19/09 @ 8:31pm

  • As it stands, NOACA is the only MPO (metropolitan planning organization) along the 3C corridor in Ohio that has not approved adding the 3C project to this region's transportation improvement plan (TIP). This step is necessary for the project to receive federal funding, and sends a strong message that Northeast Ohio supports passenger rail investment.

    Please consider attending NOACA's Transportation Advisory Committee meeting on Friday, November 20 at 10 am. The public is allowed to sign in before the meeting and provide comments on this project for up to 2 minutes. Please help fill the room with positive comments on how having transportation choices in Northeast Ohio will help you, your family, business, etc. to live and do business in Ohio. And just as important as a statewide train, transit in Ohio's urban areas needs to be strengthened. All Aboard Ohio has started an advocacy campaign to Save Public Transit.

  • Dru at TOI Studios recaps Sustainable Urbanism author, Douglas Farr's speech at the Baker-Nord series, including this gem: "For the most part American post war society has created an insular set of rules, mores and regulations that actually weaken neighborhoods and by extension communities. We (social humanity) are actually fighting an uphill battle to better neighborhoods and to do so requires a lot more work, understanding and manifested intent."
  • Green Urbanism author Tim Beatley presented a solid hour of slides that show the upside of Resilient Cities, the title of his latest book, at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History last Friday. Taken all at once, the living wall in Paris, the car-free suburb of Germany's Vauban, Copenhagen's bike network and conversion of 2-3% of downtown parking to pedestrian space in their pledge to be carbon neutral by 2025 are visceral and overwhelming considering how much catching up we'll need to do in America. Yes, Washington has a bike share program like Barcelona, Paris, Vienna, etc. but the real lessons from Europe's green urbanism are how it takes a comprehensive program for real change. It's a contrast of government that makes decision by fiat, Beatley admits. Small town Hammerby, Germany builds a streetcar and surrounding green zone, while Columbus, Ohio is still making the case for light rail in the city's North Corridor almost a year after Chester R. Jourdan, Jr., Executive Director of metropolitan planning agency, MORPC, advocated for it at the Columbus Metropolitan Club with a developer interested in building around the line. It's important to note that even in Hammerby decisions were made to move beyond the faade of village green to something more functional.

    How do we do 'get' green urbanism in Northeast Ohio? Can we change the culture of 'no' at NOACA and ODOT and convince them to be equal partners? We can. By gathering forces with advocates as GreenCityBlueLake is doing with ClevelandBikes and a cadre of urban designers with the goal of getting ODOT to partner with us on a serious consideration of bike/pedestrian accommodations on the Innerbelt Bridge. We're preparing a number of items that will help ODOT adopt the recommendations of its task force on Transportation Options for the 21st century. The task force outlined a number of areas where ODOT should "work(s) smarter and get(s) better results" by providing "a world class multi-modal transportation system?that improve quality of life?coordinates transportation systems with senior citizens and citizens with lower incomes." Those goals are exactly why we're advocating that ODOT design a bike/pedestrian path on the bridge as seen in 30 other examples around the country.

    A sustainability advocate's work in Northeast Ohio, it seems, is never done.

  • E4S honored its Champions of Sustainability for 2009, and hosted a hard-hitting panel discussion with former champions on Tuesday. Roger Salliant, director of Case Fowler Center for Sustainable Value and former CEO of fuel cell company, Plug Power, fired tough questions at the panel such as, Are we setting metrics for the number of sustainable business start-ups and are they going to be profitable? See the Champions, the nominees and the podcast of the panel discussion here.

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