Last week, Lakewood resident Ken Prendergast, Executive Director of All Aboard Ohio, rekindled the debate about intercity rail transit for Ohio. His featured article appeared in the Sunday Feb. 7 issus of the Plain Dealer.
I recommend it.
Here's the link:
Prendergast noted Governor Kasich's desire to have Ohio viewed as “cool,” especially among young adults. Urbanites (and suburbanites, for that matter) are looking for alternates to their cars as an important element of a desirable lifestyle. With that in mind, I have a modest proposal.
I think it is right time for a genuine “Waterfront Line” transit option, using the existing rail lines from downtown Cleveland, through Lakewood, Rocky River, Bay Village, Westlake, and possibly into Avon/Avon Lake.
I could see one of three sites for the Lakewood station.
- A platform at Merl Bunts Park, within walking distance of Detroit Avenue, with a possible transit 'hub” at the former Giant Eagle parking lot;
- The “green” between Belle and St. Charles, behind the Lakewood Center North building, along the south side of the tracks. This would be handy to Lakewood Hospital, the University of Akron site, and “downtown” Lakewood;
- And a dedicated transit hub into the designed into the plans for the renovated Lakewood Plaza site, near Kaufmann Park, between Andrews and Lakeland.
I don't spend a lot of time in Rocky River and Bay Village, but I could see stations adjoining the BeachCliff shopping district and the existing RTA Park-n-Ride along Sperry Road, near I-90 and Columbia Road. I think there would be suitable sites around the Avon/Avon Lake boundary along Avon-Belden Road (Ohio 83).
I think this could be done with far less expense, and certainly much quicker, than the rebuilding of the Inner Belt bridges. It would use existing facilities and sites, and could prove a great “pilot” project for later service into Lorain and Lake Counties, revitalizing urban commercial locales, using the model of transit-integrated development, which has done much for cities like Portland, Chicago, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
How cool is that?
Let's add Lakewood and Cleveland to that list.