City, RTA Unveil Plans for New Clifton Boulevard Enhancements
Construction is expected to begin by summer 2013.
It looks as if the new, “scaled down” version of the Clifton Boulevard bus improvement plan is rolling along.
Brick bus stations, GPS arrival monitors and safety video-phones are among the plans designed to enhance the 3-mile stretch in Lakewood.
An earlier — and more expensive — proposal for the No. 55 route was scrapped last year.
The new proposal still has some of the elements of the earlier plan, including the new sheltered bus stops and concrete pads to prevent buses from tearing up the asphalt.
“This plan will make using RTA in Lakewood quicker,” said RTA director Joe Calabrese. “It’s going to be a first-class trip.”
Calabrese said the project could began as early as Spring 2013, and be completed within one year.
“This has been several years in the making,” he said. “This is a very exciting project.”
The original plan called for a landscape-lined median, which would have cost Lakewood nearly $500,000.
Instead of that proposal, Lakewood agreed to pay only $50,000 and still get several upgrades to 2.9 miles of Clifton Boulevard.
“One element from the original plan was for more permanent, more architecturally attractive and updated shelters,” said Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers. “One of the aspects I am excited about is the ride availability option — how far away your bus is. There will also be video security systems in place.
“For Lakewood citizens, it’s a safe haven — even if you’re not riding a bus.”
Earlier this year, RTA increased the frequency of the No. 55 bus route on Clifton Boulevard.
Calabrese said the route could expand even further.
“If we have increased ridership, we can increase the service,” he said. “I think this will generate that demand — like it did on Euclid Avenue. It will also generate additional resident and business occupancies — again, like it did on Euclid Avenue.”
Median portion of the project not completely off the table
The city of Cleveland is moving forward with a tree-lined median for its stretch of Clifton Boulevard.
Summers said that in the long-term, Lakewood’s participation in a similar project is not off the table.
“We have the advantage of watching Cleveland’s approach to this, because they are putting the medians in. So we have the advantage of watching what happens there — if it’s an improvement, if it’s nice and if it manages traffic better.
“Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be the early adopter.”