Hey, We Can Now Watch RTA Lose Money in Real Time

Thanks to publicsquander.com, anyone with an internet connection can now monitor in real time the money that RTA is losing due to the re-routing of buses on Public Square.

The new Public Square was unveiled to wide acclaim immediately before the Republican National Convention in July. It was supposed to open to bus traffic on August 1.

The Square was designed with bus traffic in mind. A 2012 study recommended keeping Superior Avenue open to buses, having considered the alternatives. It outlined the significant costs of re-routing buses around RTA's most important hub in town: $1,550,000 annually.

But Frank Jackson, who always preferred the idea of a "unified" square, and his administration, have refused to allow buses to return. In the intervening three-plus months, Jackson's spokesmen have claimed that the city is "meeting with stakeholders" and "discussing the situation." But we suspect that that's no longer true. Mayor Jackson has said before that he often has his spokesmen spit out stock phrases to the media if he hasn't developed an opinion, or else to buy time, and that's what this feels like. RTA remains in the dark and continues to eat the costs, even as it's staring a deepening financial crisis in the face.

When Scene requested an update from the city last week, we received no response. We asked that if they still claimed to be meeting with stakeholders that they provide a schedule of meetings and the stakeholders who attended. Dan Williams, the City's media relations director, was out of the office Friday.

Publicsquander.com, constantly ticking, currently pegs the total lost money in the $435,000 range. It links to the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, where concerned residents can send a letter to Frank Jackson.

It's unconfirmed who created the site but is thought to be an outgrowth of the Sunlight Foundation's Transparency Camp, hosted in Cleveland last month.
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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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