Mayor Jackson Wants to Close Public Square to Cars, Build Park (Updated)

A previously rejected design for Public Square, but this could be similar to what Jackson has in mind.
  • A previously rejected design for Public Square, but this could be similar to what Jackson has in mind.

Update: The idea was floated initially back in October of last year when Mayor Frank Jackson said he wanted to close off Public Square to traffic, quartering off Superior and Ontario and creating a unified, 10-acre park. Jackson's Group Plan Commission hired a consultant to run through the data — there's a lot going on here, from RTA traffic to foot traffic to displacing vehicle traffic to other streets — and make a recommendation. It was unveiled this week: just close Ontario, create two quadrants, and focus on limiting Superior traffic to mass transit.

That's far from final, of course, as Jackson and his staff consider the options and the analysis with an eye toward making Public Square something other than the unofficial home for loitering, casino cigarette breaks, and a glorified bus depot. Both Jackson's spokesperson and RTA had some thoughts. Via Cleveland.com:


"We understand that the facts are the facts," Silliman said in an interview Wednesday. "The people selected to do this study are very capable, and they're simply analyzing the traffic and making recommendations. We accept that. But we fully support the further data review."

Brennan said the firm explored the possibility of closing Ontario and Superior, but doing so would clog other nearby intersections and cause severe rush hour delays. It also would displace nearly 18,000 bus passenger pick-ups and drop-offs daily. That would amount to a $2.6 million increase in yearly operating costs for RTA, which would have to fuel idling buses in traffic jams or add routes to keep schedules.

Closing only Ontario would cost RTA an extra $1 million yearly and move 8,500 passenger boardings and drop-offs to adjacent blocks.

RTA spokeswoman Mary McCahon said Wednesday that the agency has participated in discussions regarding the street closures and trusts that the consultant understands the city's public transportation needs. McCahon, however, said she could not comment on whether RTA endorses the firm's recommendations.

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Sunday's Plain Dealer had this bit of news: Mayor Frank Jackson tells the paper that he wants to close Public Square to traffic and make the forlorn, antiquated area a public park.