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RTA Clifton Project Rejected by State

Multi-million-dollar renovation now seems officially off the table.

The was rejected Tuesday by the arm of the Ohio Department of Transportation that oversees funding for such projects.

The news comes after months of between the city of Lakewood, RTA, ODOT and the city of Cleveland. 

Lakewood finally agreed last month on a scaled-down version of the original $8 million plan that reduced the city's share to $50,000.

But the Transportation Review Advisory Council, a division of Ohio Department of Transportation, rejected the proposal.

“RTA is very disappointed with the decision and saddened to hear the news," said Mary McCahon, the spokewoman for RTA. "We will continue to move the design forward and look for alternative funding opportunities.”

said he is also disappointed.

"I think, in the end, the deal was a good one for Lakewood," he said. "It’s a reminder that these deals aren’t done until they are finally done.”

"I think the real question is 'What did get funded?'” Summers added.

He noted that the change of plans last month probably didn't help the cause.

Instead of the $486,000 plan that would have included a landscaped median, Lakewood has agreed to pay only $50,000 and still get several upgrades to 2.9 miles of Clifton Boulevard.

According to the new proposal, there would have been six new transit stations on the south side of Clifton Boulevard and three on the north side; traffic signal synchronization; better spacing of stops and new bicycle and pedestrian amenities.

In addition, the bus shelters would have gotten a complete overhaul with new features that include GPS arrival monitors, pedestrian safety video-phones, landscaping and public art.

Instead of going to the Lakewood-Rocky River border, the project would stop at West Clifton Avenue, according the proposal.

Summers had initially planned to put the brakes on the project when it included a tree-lined median landscape in the middle of Clifton Boulevard. Federal restrictions limited the amount of space of the median.

Laura April 13, 2011 at 04:04 AM
I don't fully understand the median issue, despite reading several articles on the impasse. Is Clifton Blvd. not wide enough for a median? Was the original plan to include the median, but then the city of Lakewood balked on the cost and hassle of widening Clifton? And then the city tried to write off the whole thing by saying a median won't fit, but could you give us the improvements anyway?
Marvin April 13, 2011 at 05:06 PM
this whole situation is an example of what is wrong with our transportation system. why does ODOT have the final say on a regional transportation project that is being funded with local and federal dollars? Federal funds specifically guaranteed to fund this project will not be spent. why do federal rules about lane width restrictions, to accommodate large trucks, apply to a roads where trucks are forbidden? where is home rule? why are the needs of Lakewood and Cleveland being overruled by the state and federal agencies? projects like this take decades to plan and to be funded, but it on;y takes months to kill. If it was such a good idea 5 years ago why it it a bad idea today? politics is the problem. knee jerk reactions, misinformation, and micromanagement of local issues, by state and federal agencies. It would be easier to fund a highway through Lakewood than a boulevard. Highways are all they understand.
Brian April 13, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Easy--the money to build an interchange in Avon Lake goes to people who vote GOP. But the Republicans are not about pork....yeah right! I would like to know where Dennis Kuchinich is in all this? The man does more to get his picture in the paper but I do not see many federal dollars coming home to his district....
Marvin April 13, 2011 at 07:33 PM
Also learned that 6 million was awarded to Strongsville for the widening of pearl road there.
Concerned Citizen April 13, 2011 at 08:04 PM
Thank God this project got killed. Clifton is not broken. Do NOT fix it. And why kowtow to RTA who has eliminated weekend service on Clifton, killed the Circulator and already ruined Euclid Ave? I couldn't be happier that this mess is done.
Marvin April 13, 2011 at 10:53 PM
How has the Euclid corridor ruined Euclid? It has stimulated over 2 billion dollars in development. so you think the people of Strongsville deserved their project more than Lakewood?
Marvin April 14, 2011 at 02:15 PM
6 billion dollars in subsides are used to support road construction in ohio. the states provide 40 million to support transit, in the state, which by the way is a state mandate to provide transportation for those that cannot drive. If RTA were never involved with this project, it would stand a better chance of being funded. There is also the Cincinnati street car whose funding was uncharacteristically removed after it was awarded. Because the Governor labeled at as a waste of money, the money was spent somewhere else. If you don't like the service cuts RTA has had to do ask your state government to finance RTA more consistently not the current roller-coaster funding of the last few decades. consistent funding allows for long-term planning and service will improve. imagine having to plan a budget around a 40% drop in funding, it is not possible maintain never mind improve service without a consistent funding source. that said, the only public entity with a poorer public image than RTA is the IRS, and the former Cuyahoga County government. I think there is a lack of understanding of what the RTA does and why it does what it does.
Concerned Citizen April 14, 2011 at 07:15 PM
The part you are missing, Marvin, is that government funding NEVER covers OPERATING costs. They work on the theory that if you build it, they will come, but let's not worry about whether we are building the right thing that will be able to sustain itself on revenues. They grant CAPTIAL EXPENSE money to build/remodel/upgrade/update, but NOT to actually run the project. Hence, RTA can use this money to mess with Clifton, but can't improve service. So even if Lakewood spent the 50k, don't expect weekend service to come back, and, if fact, I'll bet we see evening service cut even more!
Marvin April 15, 2011 at 12:43 AM
Mr Citizen if we applied you logic to Hopkins airport, it would have never been expanded. highways are not expected to generate revenue yet we spend 100$ for every dollar spent on transit. why should we spend money on Seaports or airports, they never make money they never pay back their investments? Fact 9.2% of Lakewood residents commute via mass transit to work. Compared with Rocky River and Fairview at only 2%. I understand the Service was cut on weekends, I have ridden the 55 many times it is primarily a commuter line, that was why RTA was advocating for waiting environment improvements, and the use of less expensive to operate accordion buses in dedicated lanes for peak periods. This would reduce travel time, and crowing on buses, this is designed to make it MORE Attractive to use the Service, while reducing cost. You hit the nail on the head how can RTA improve service without a steady stream of revenue? leverage new investments in better service, where possible, to increase ridership.

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