Friday, August 29, 2014

Council to meet next week to vote on emergency authorization to place traffic-camera ban on November ballot

Cleveland City Council is scheduled to meet Wednesday, September 3rd under a Special Meeting for the sole purpose of consideration and passage of an ordinance authorizing the submission to the electors of the City of Cleveland a propose amendment, bu initiative petition, to the Charter of the City of Cleveland, enacting new section 204 in Charter 40, limiting the use of photo-monitoring devices to detect certain traffic law violations.

A copy of the proposed amendment is provided below:

Current Ordinances related to automated cameras for red light and speeding violations:
(Note: 53 permanent camera locations under 413.031 g, see below for listing of current 15 temporary locations).

Chapter 413 - Excerpts automated cameras for red light & speeding violations by Brian Cummins

PCU (Portable Camera Unit) Locations 08/14/2014 – 09/04/2014

The following will be active locations for the city’s Portable Camera Units (PCUs) beginning Thursday, August 14, 2014. Legislation passed in May, 2013  increased the number of fixed camera sites from 24 to 49 and increased portable sites from 6 to 15. These locations will be active from August 14 to September 4, 2014.

  1. 4100 Block of Superior Avenue
  2. 6800 Block of Franklin Boulevard
  3. 2400 Block of East 55th Street
  4. 7800 Block of St. Clair Avenue
  5. 11400 Block of Edgewater Drive
  6. 4300 Block of Payne Avenue
  7. 5300 Block of Lorain Avenue
  8. 8500 Block of Hough Avenue
  9. 7000 Block of Bessermer Avenue
  10. 2940 Martin Luther King Drive
  11. 12500 Block of Berea Road
  12. 4900 Block of Rocky River Drive
  13. 4100 Block of West 150th Street
  14. 6517 Denison Avenue
  15. 612 Spring Road


Cleveland City Council will meet next week to place traffic-camera ban on November ballot
Andrew J. Tobias, Northeast Ohio Media Group, August 27, 2014

Proposed Cleveland traffic-camera ban could head to city voters this November
By Andrew J. Tobias, Northeast Ohio Media Group,  August 19, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Opportunity Corridor Project Presented to Cleveland City Council

Representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Greater Cleveland Partnership provided yesterday the first of what will be multiple presentations regarding the Opportunity Corridor Project to Cleveland City Council through Council's Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee.

The project represents an estimated $330 million, 3.5-mile 35-mph, four to five-lane new roadway/boulevard that will link Interstate 490 and University Circle.

The presentations (see below) focused on an overview of the ODOT portion of the project, namely the design, alternative analysis, community engagement to-date, other technical requirements and issues (environmental and transportation regulations), funding and planning for the implementation of the roadway construction and affiliated improvements.

In addition to the presentations provided below, the following is the anticipated scheduling of the project in three phases as well as the major internet sites and resources for the project.

ODOT, Opportunity Corridor Fact Sheet - excerpt, schedule:

The presentations summarized the 10-year long process (some would argue 50 years) that has led to the recent funding support and commitments from Govenor John Kasich and the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission.  The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission approved $39 million of a total commitment from the State of $263 million for phase I on 9.16.2013.

The discussions and questions from Council members included partial consensus that although there is hesitation to fully embrace the project, that due to the strong support from the business community and funding commitments from the State, the City should do everything possible to capitalize and leverage the investment to benefit local residents, property owners, business and future economic and community development opportunities.  The project's focus is to:

ODOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement on May 7th, 2014 and the FHWA issued a “Record of Decision” by FHWA that allows the project to move forward with construction.

The bulk of my comments and questions dealt with the following issues:

  1. Realization that the State of Ohio is one of the lowest funders of all states in the U.S. for public transportation, particularly funding of transit in major cities.
  2. The State of Ohio has reduced funding for Public Transportation by 78% for the period from 2002 through 2014.  And, for the same period according to the Ohio Public Transit Association, Cleveland has eliminated 24.6 percent of its services over the past decade and increased fares by 80 percent from $1.25 to $2.25.
  3. The irony, that in addition to the reduction and low funding in public transport, that as much as 40% of the residents that live in the impacted area do not own vehicles.
  4. A confirmation that the new roadway will receive a State Route designation that will make it eligible for maintenance funds.
  5. That there be follow-up with City officials and within our Council hearings to receive additional information regarding the planning and actions to be taken for economic and community development activities.
  6. Request for more information regarding areas of the proposed roadway where there are indicators for potential cul-de-sacs and sound barriers.  
  7. Recommendations for limiting these types of treatments described in 6 above and for maximizing pedestrian and bike amenities in and around the new roadway, ensuring strong connectivity to RTA assets and adjacent residential and commercial centers.
  8. Recommendations for massing of commercial and residential development to create planned density of mixed use development that includes mixed income housing projects.
  9. Concern for advocacy of other major corridor improvements such as those proposed for W. 25th Street/Pearl Road (proposed $2 million street-scape improvements), portions of Lorain Road and Detroit Avenue as well as lack of funding from the State and flat funding at our local level for road maintenance and improvements.

Planning Level Project Cost Estimates for the Opportunity Corridor (PDF)
Ohio Department of Transportation
March 2013

Summary of Cost Estimates (see link above for additional line item and calculation details)
Click on the image for a larger view

Note: The Draft Environmental Impact Statement, August 2013 lists the Total Project Cost as $331 million, leaving a $32 million difference in the Project Cost Estimates from March 2013.  ODOT's been requested to identify the difference in these stated estimates.


Other related news

Opportunity Corridor Update - Thursday, 8/28/2014, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, at the offices of OneCommunity, 800 W. St. Clair Avenue - Cleveland

The following handout (5 pages) was provided to the Committee by Marie Kittredge, the new Project Director for the Opportunity Corridor project working for the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

The following handout (56 pages displayed in four files) was provided to the Committee by Myron S. Pakush – ODOT Districrt 12, District Deputy Director.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ohio jobs numbers, our past...but, what's in our future?

Continued sobering job numbers - We (Ohio) need a double dose of espresso and some vision in supporting job growth in such established sectors as advance manufacturing and focus on strong industry clusters such as the health industry and medical research and the currently frozen (in Ohio) renewable energy sector as well as pushing for immigration reform. And, then there is the issue of what we're doing in education.

Rich Exner of the Plain Dealer has done an admirable job on his tax comparison (w/10 other metro areas), but as a City, region and state, we're lacking political leadership and vision in how to be truly globally competitive.  See:

11 Takes on Taxes FAQ; answers about what went into the calculations

And, his latest on job numbers from 1959 to-date:

Ohio lags U.S. jobs growth, as it has under a half-century of governors from John Kasich to Michael DiSalle

The issue of Ohio's more than decade long recession (2000 - 2011), and how our state has lagged the national average in job growth since the late 1950's need more attention.

There are no easy solutions, but the recent freezing of renewable energy standards, Ohio's turning away of $400 million in funding for rail infrastructure are two of the most backward examples of what continues to keep Ohio down.  Thanks to George Zeller for being one of the most hard working and vocal economists to provide the numbers.  Now what will we do with them and how can we create a better vision and pursue actions to provide more opportunities for all Ohioans?