Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers has said he plans to put the brakes on the proposed RTA project that would reshape public transportation along a 4-mile stretch of Clifton Boulevard.
Not so fast, say RTA officials.
“We don’t consider this project off in any way,” said RTA spokeswoman Mary McCahon. “We see it still going forward.”
Representatives from RTA, ODOT, Cleveland and are set to meet Thursday to discuss the issue further.
Plans call for new bus stops, a new bus system and a tree-lined median landscape in the middle of Clifton Boulevard, from West 117th Street to the city’s border with Rocky River.
“Because it’s a joint effort, this affects others,” she said. “It could be a Clifton Project that only goes to the Lakewood border. There are a lot of options out there we could look at.”
As proposed, the costs of the $7.1 million project are split up between Lakewood and Cleveland (with each shouldering 5 percent), RTA would pay 10 percent and federal money would pay for the rest of the project.
Summers said he has two problems with the project. The first, he said, is the city’s $486,000 responsibility.
“The other big problem was the original design was to put in an 8-foot-wide median in which you could plant trees — which would dramatically change the landscape and put the ‘boulevard’ in Clifton Boulevard,” he said, adding that lane-width restrictions limited the median to 5-feet — too narrow to plant trees.
“It wasn’t at all clear what the benefits we’d get for our $486,000 and this project, other than a few new bus stops,” he said. “It was an easy decision for us not to proceed with the project.”
McCahon said the project is already moving forward — with or without Lakewood.
ODOT has already done some paving work on Clifton Boulevard in preparation for the project, she said. And the project design is complete.
“The groundwork has been done — pun intended — and the design has been approved,” she said, adding the traffic signal upgrades have already begun. “We’re hoping that working together with Lakewood, we’ll be able to continue this project.”
“We’d like to see how this plays out.”