There Should be Public Restrooms on Public Square, Among Other Improvements, Advocates Say

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click to enlarge "Rally to Save Transit," Public Square, 3/12/2018 - Sam Allard / Scene
Sam Allard / Scene
"Rally to Save Transit," Public Square, 3/12/2018

The grassroots transit advocacy organization Clevelanders for Public Transit (CPT) has called on the City of Cleveland to include a number of modifications to the design and use of Public Square as the city prepares to spend $1.5 million toward a $3.5 million construction project there.

The project will install removable bollards as safety measures that are meant to permanently replace the temporary concrete jersey barriers former Mayor Frank Jackson demanded be placed on the Square in what many interpreted as a retaliatory measure against transit activists.

(Jackson was angered that public pressure and a looming threat of FTA debt collection forced him to re-open the Square to buses, the theory goes, and so he deliberately brutalized the $50 million Square with ugly barriers that provided arbitrary protection to pedestrians and has now caused significant surface damage on Superior Avenue.)

In a press release this week, CPT applauded the decision to install bollards at last, but reiterated a number of their demands that they previously submitted to Mayor Justin Bibb when he was first elected, demands they hope will improve the transit system citywide. CPT stressed, above all, that Public Square should be designed for the public.

In that vein, CPT noted that private vehicles park on the Square behind the Rebol restaurant on a daily basis without reprimand.  "These vehicles use the busy crosswalk between the Tower City Rapid and Public Square as a driveway and parking lot. This must stop," the release read.

When the new bollard design is implemented, CPT wants private vehicles gone and a rule barring cyclists overturned. It also wants the city to stop closing Superior for "superfluous" public events, closures which have ripple effects on on-time performance throughout the system.

On the Square itself, CPT would like to see the installation of a 24-hour public restroom and has advised using American Rescue Plan Act dollars to build it. They have also asked for heating elements added to the bus stops on and around the Square.

"Bus riders know all too well how cold it can be to wait for a bus that comes too infrequently," the release read. "Public Square and the immediate vicinity is a Cleveland transit district, which should shine as an example of the ease and comfort of public transit for all."

CPT has also called for a comprehensive review of the Central Business District's traffic patterns, and is once again asking for traffic signal priority for buses and pedestrians on Superior. It also suggests red Bus-Only lanes on Superior that they say would ensure bus priority and speed up trips. 

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About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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