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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Clevelanders for Public Transit are Once Again Calling for a Transit Rider on the Transit Board

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2021 at 11:04 AM

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees (2021). - COURTESY RTA
  • Courtesy RTA
  • The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees (2021).

Next month, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority will elect a new president and vice president and confirm new appointments to its 10-member board of trustees. Current member Justin Bibb, a Cleveland mayoral candidate who served one four-year term on the board, will not be re-appointed by County Executive Armond Budish, Bibb's campaign team has confirmed.

The local advocacy group Clevelanders for Public Transit is calling on Budish to appoint a regular transit rider to the RTA board to fill Bibb's vacancy. CPT has made identical requests since 2018, arguing that riders deserve a seat at the table and can provide critical perspective on transit operations that suburban mayors and other local leaders cannot.

“Currently, Reverend [Charles] Lucas serves on the RTA board as a paratransit rider. Having his voice on the board has led to major improvements in paratransit, including reduced wait times and improved trips for paratransit riders” said CPT chair Chris Stocking, in a press release. “Having a regular rider on RTA’s board would elevate the perspective of bus and rapid riders.”

The board is currently composed of four appointments by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, three by Budish and three by the county mayors and city managers association. Other than Bibb, Budish's current appointments are local immigration attorney Karen Gabriel Moss and labor union leader Terence Joyce. 

CPT has provided a slate of potential candidates for Budish to consider. They include local transit rider Jessica Wallace, who uses a wheelchair and serves on multiple committees with the Downtown Cleveland Residents Association; downtown resident Roberta Duarte, who works as a program manager for JumpStart; transit author and consultant Angie Schmitt, whose recent book, Right of Way, examined the "silent epidemic" of pedestrian deaths in the car-centric USA; and downtown resident and longtime transit rider Jeffrey Sleasman.

Dennis Clough is the Mayor of Westlake and the current president of the RTA board. His term expires next month as well. The Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association told Scene that Bay Village Mayor Paul Koomar has been selected to replace him.

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