No One Gives a Shit About Car Access in Kinsman

click to enlarge No One Gives a Shit About Car Access in Kinsman
If you haven't read Chris Stocking's cover story this week about the Opportunity Corridor, by all means put your other work on hold for 15 minutes — we're all easing into July 4th weekend anyway, right? — and check it out.

Among Stocking's assertions was that 2/3 of the stated goals of (and 99.5 percent of the funding for) the Opportunity Corridor involve "system linkage" and "mobility" via automobile. In other words, the economic development and public transit pieces, which leaders have been occasionally citing as priorities, are probably little more than afterthoughts or PRish balms, especially now that the GCP has $330 million to literally play with. 

Meanwhile, in the realm of reality: The Transit Improvement Advisory Committee of RTA's Citizen Advisory Board took the #14 bus out to Bridgeport Cafe (a fresh food oasis in Kinsman featured in this 2014 story about neighborhood development) this morning for its monthly meeting. There, they solicited comments about the community's transportation needs: If you want proof that actual folks living in neighborhoods which will be affected by the Opportunity Corridor have no interest in cars or car access, just look at their answers.

Recall that 30-40 percent of residents in the area don't even own cars, and were never consulted during the early planning stages of the Opportunity Corridor.

If leaders actually wanted to help develop neighborhoods, they would have considered #4-20 below. (1-3, including the baffling "auto traffic" were provided by RTA, presumably to get cogs spinning). All responses sic:   

1) RTA Services
2) auto traffic  
3) neighborhood commuter services
4) Improve E. 79th Rapid Stop
5) #2 service until 9 p.m. 
6) taxi stand 
7) More bus stop
8) Free / reduce rate bus tickets for job interviews
9) Better stores
10  More RTA police
11) Job readiness classes
12) Take our Neighborhood Back!
13) See something say something, right now!
14) Mobile App (Route suggestion, schedule, outages, delays)
15) encourage biking
16) Less speeding
17) Bike law literacy
18) CMHA Transportation
19) Senior transport + ?
20) Further rapid transit / subway development
more... Bike Lanes.

Residents, in general, want safer transit stops, more transit stops, safer bike facilities, more bike facilities, etc. But instead, leaders are plunging full speed ahead on Phase One of the $330 million roadway which will shave a few minutes off a suburban commuter's trip from 490 to University Circle. 

At this point, even prominent local pundits feel that the conversation about the Opportunity Corridor needs to be reframed, that stories like Chris Stocking's are little more than crying over spilled milk:

But anything less than outrage at a project and process which has been steamrolled by Cleveland's juggernaut business community at the expense and in direct defiance of community members' wants and needs, a process which has happily taken a dump on democracy while securing funds equivalent to 11 Public Square renovations, is probably not enough. The battle that opponents never got to fight is worth spilling lots of ink over, in this publication's view. 

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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