Traffic counts at seven downtown intersections began today as part of the first formal traffic study at Public Square since its renovation. If the timing seems odd (in part due to weather, which has already caused a delay on this study), that's because the city and RTA are hustling to provide traffic data to the Federal Transit Administration, which seeks a $12-million repayment from RTA for re-routing buses off the Public Square portion of Superior Avenue and breaching a federal funding agreement.
Repayment — or an appeal, which is taking the form of this traffic study — is due by Jan. 19.
RTA CEO Joe Calabrese sent a letter to the FTA yesterday, requesting a 30-day extension. (Mayor Frank Jackson asked for the same thing
on Jan. 5.) The FTA has yet to respond.
RTA and the city hope that the traffic study will show what, "if any," impact the closure of Superior Avenue to buses has on RTA. The very existence of the FTA's demand would seem to be an impact, though Calabrese and Jackson have vigorously balked at that notion for months now
"The GCRTA and the City of Cleveland are continuing to work cooperatively to develop a plan that is in the best interest of the residents of Northeast Ohio and is acceptable to the FTA," Calabrese wrote.
The traffic study is not expected to be completed until Jan. 18, which leaves almost no time to analyze the results and prepare a coherent appeal to the FTA's demand.