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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave your comment(s) or question(s).