Introduction

The E. 34th-Campus Station and the two stations at E. 79th St. have long been among the lowest performing in the GCRTA rapid transit system. The issues that result in the low ridership in these areas are complex and interactive. The east side Red and Blue/Green (former Shaker) lines are located in areas that were largely industrial at the time of the construction of the stations and somewhat separated from large concentrations of residential or commercial activity. In many cases the surrounding land uses, topography, and the existing roadway network create barriers between the stations and nearby land use. The neighborhoods surrounding the stations have been losing population and businesses for many years, and have suffered high levels of property abandonment in recent years. This has left the stations surrounded by significant amounts of unoccupied or under-utilized land. Many people perceive the stations to be isolated and dangerous, a self-fulfilling prophecy since low ridership and low station activity levels contribute to this feeling of isolation.

Since GCRTA began the rehabilitation of its major rapid stations in the early 1990s, the stations at E. 34th and E. 79th Streets have been at or near the bottom of the list of stations to be brought up to modern levels of amenity and to achieve standards for disabled access under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The E. 79th Red Line and E. 34th-Campus stations, like all stations served by the Red Line, are designated as Key Stations in GCRTA’s Key Station plan, originally submitted to FTA in 1993. The E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station is not designated as a Key Station, but must be upgraded to meet ADA requirements if it receives substantial renovations. With improvements completed or underway at virtually all of its other major rapid stations, and with the deadline for completion of ADA Key Stations improvements by 2020 looming, GCRTA must seriously consider how, and whether, to proceed with improvements at these three stations.

Over the years, RTA has invested in repairs to keep the stations safe and functional, but the station infrastructure at these locations is at the end of its useful life. Estimates of the cost to meet the requirements of the ADA and to bring the stations into a state of good repair run into the millions of dollars. Funding for construction of improvements at the two 79th Street stations is not currently included in RTA’s 2015-2019 Capital Improvement Program (CIP), nor is it included in NOACA’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) or ODOT’s State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

Given the very low ridership at the stations and the high cost of upgrading them, financial prudence demands that RTA consider whether investing taxpayer dollars (both local and Federal) in these stations is a good investment, or whether the transportation needs served by these stations might be better served by other means.

This project seeks to develop an approach for RTA to provide high quality transit service to those who currently use the stations at E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Streets, and those who live, work and travel in those areas, that is:

  • Equitable
  • Technically viable
  • Cost-effective, and
  • Supported by the community
  • Supported by local development initiatives

This report is divided into four sections:

  • Existing Conditions, which analyzes the existing state of the three stations, presents the estimated cost for upgrading each of the three stations, the ridership volumes at each station, the demographic and population characteristics of the station areas, the bus routes serving the station areas, land use and potential or planned development in the station areas.
  • Alternatives Analysis, which presents the analysis of potential alternatives to completing station upgrades, including potential changes to bus services in the station areas.
  • Public and Stakeholder Outreach, which documents the various outreach efforts that RTA and its consultant team pursued to inform the public of the alternatives analysis process and to elicit public and stakeholder comment and involvement in the process, and the comments that were received as a result of that process.
  • Recommendations, which summarizes the conclusions of the project and outlines the next steps that RTA might take in serving the station areas and markets.
Existing Conditions

The Existing Conditions section of the report provides background information on the three stations and the transportation markets they serve. The section presents the cost estimates, prepared by RTA, for upgrading each of the three stations to meet ADA requirements and to achieve state of good repair. Ridership volumes and analysis of the origin and destination patterns of passengers using each of the stations, based on RTA’s recent on-board origin destination survey of bus and rapid passengers, is also presented in this section. The demographic and population characteristics of the station areas, details about the operation of the various bus routes serving the station areas, and potential or planned development in the station areas are also included in this section of the report.

State of the Stations

The E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th St. stations have always been among the lower performing stations in Cleveland’s rapid transit system. They were constructed to fulfill specific functions and connect to destinations within a regional transportation system that were very different than the conditions that exist today, serving a very different city and region. The E. 34th-Campus Station served a number of new regional education destinations at a time when relatively fewer students had access to their own automobiles. The E. 79th St. stations connected Clevelanders to a dense node of manufacturing facilities. Both stations had far more people living within walking distance than they do today. In addition, the stations existed, in part, to provide a regular interval of station spacing on the system, regardless of the strength of the travel markets they served. These stations have long been among the lowest performing stations in the region’s rapid transit system in terms of ridership and productivity. As a result, they have long been a low priority for rehabilitation and reconstruction. The following sections discuss the specific situation of each of the respective stations.

E 34th - Campus Station

The Cleveland Transit System (CTS) opened the combined Shaker and CTS (Red Line) rapid station on March 1, 1971, at the site of a pre-existing Shaker Rapid station (described in a contemporary Plain Dealer article as “little used”) that had been in operation since the early days of the Shaker system. The station was and continues to be served by many bus routes extending from the Bedford and Garfield Heights areas through the Slavic Village neighborhoods, and fed day workers to the Shaker Rapid line for travel to Shaker Heights. The combined Shaker and CTS rapid station was built at a cost of $100,000, half of which half came from Federal transit grant. The market for the new station included Cleveland State University and areas south of Euclid Avenue and east of Playhouse Square, as well as the Cuyahoga Community College campus, which had opened in 1966. Connected to Euclid Avenue and nearby neighborhoods by a CTS (later GCRTA) loop bus, the station began with combined CTS and Shaker ridership of more than 700 riders per day, but had fallen to less than 500 riders a day by 1972.

The station continues to be among the lowest ridership in the system. Among Red Line stations, the E. 34th-Campus Station is the second lowest in ridership, followed only by the E. 79th Red Line Station. Ridership at this station is the lowest among all non-Key Stations on the Blue Line, and second lowest on the Green Line, only outperforming the E. 79th St. station. In 2012, there was an average of 288 weekday boardings at the station on all rail lines.

The location of the E. 34th-Campus Station is shown in Figure 1. The station is named the “Campus Station” for its proximity to the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) Metro campus and Cleveland State University, but is quite removed from either campus. The station is approximately ½ mile walking distance from Tri-C, and over a mile from the Cleveland State campus, but the walk—particularly to the Tri-C campus—is isolated due to the surrounding land use and geography.

Some of the prominent land uses in the area around the station are shown in the photos in Figure 2. The area immediately adjacent to the station is predominately industrial. A number of industrial parks are located along Broadway Ave. to the south of the station. To the north of the station lies the Northeast Ohio Pre-Release Correctional and Rehabilitation Center and a number of other industrial and commercial uses. I-77 creates a boundary to the north and east of the station, which greatly reduces its accessibility for pedestrians. The Tri-C Metro campus is located to the north of I-77, in addition to a number of high and medium density residential complexes and some light commercial uses.

Figure 3 provides some views of the E. 34th -Campus Station. The station is currently accessible from a stairway descending from the E. 34th St. Bridge. RTA’s current plan for renovating the station and meeting ADA requirements would relocate the station entrance to an access road north of the current station entrance. From the access road, a walkway would be constructed at a 1:20 grade to descend to the station platforms. In addition to other repairs, a ramp would be constructed to facilitate movement between the high and low platforms serving the Red and Blue/Green Lines, respectively. The estimated cost of the reconstruction and repair of the station is $7.3 million. A summary of the cost estimate for this station, as well as the two E. 79th St. stations, is included in Appendix A of this report.

E. 79th St. Stations

The stations at E.79th St. have been in place since the inception of their respective systems (1930 for the Blue/Green Line station, 1950s for the Red Line). The Blue/Green Lines Station was renovated, along with the other stations on the Blue and Green Lines, in the late 1970s/early 1980s, as part of RTA’s reconstruction of the former Shaker Rapid Lines. The stations date from the time period when the area between the Red and Blue/Green Lines was an important industrial corridor and an employment site for thousands, and when E. 79th St. was an important north-south travel corridor. The Red Line Station is located a short distance south of Woodland Ave., and the Blue/Green Lines Station is located a short distance north of Kinsman Rd. The stations have long had among the lowest ridership in the system. A 1972 Plain Dealer article lists the stations among the lowest ridership stations.

Figure 4 shows the location of the E. 79th St. Stations. Relocation and abandonment of industrial properties in E. 79th St. corridor, as well population loss in the area, have contributed to a decline in ridership at these stations. The E. 79th Red Line station has the lowest ridership on that rapid transit line. In 2012, there was an average of 155 weekday boardings at this station. Among non-Key light rail stations, the E.79th Blue/Green Lines Station performs similarly poorly in ridership. In 2012, there was an average of 145 weekday boardings on the combined Blue and Green Lines at this station.

Figure 5 shows some of the existing land uses around the E. 79th Red Line Station. The land use surrounding the E. 79th St. Red Line station is predominately industrial, with a number of warehouses built at the height of Cleveland’s manufacturing era. Most of these warehouses are now abandoned and deteriorating, but a few remain occupied, albeit with much lower levels of employment and activity than in the past. The Community Apartments, a Section 8 housing complex located to the northwest of the station, is the only residential use in the immediate station area. These apartments are currently being renovated. In that renovation process, the number of units at Community Apartments is being reduced (“de-densified”), from 147 to 103 units. The 44 apartments eliminated at Community Apartments are being replaced by 44 new units at the adjacent Hill Place development, located west of Community Apartments and more distant from the Red Line station. Northeast of the station is St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Figure 6 shows some views of the E. 79th Red Line Station  The station is currently accessible from a stairway descending from the east side of E. 79th St. Of the three stations being considered in this study, this station is most in need of repair. As shown in Figure 6, significant repair is needed to the stairway, retaining wall, and other station elements. The station is not visible from the street, and the station platform is mostly beneath the bridge that conveys E. 79th St. across the railroad and RTA Rapid tracks. The platform is virtually invisible to passing cars or pedestrians, adding to the perception of isolation and lack of safety.

The plan for reconstructing the station to meet ADA requirements includes the installation of an elevator, making it the most costly of the three stations renovations. The estimated cost of the reconstruction and repair of the station is approximately $11 million.

The E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station is located approximately 1/3 mile to the south of the Red Line station along E. 79th St. Some views of the land use in the area surrounding the Blue/Green Lines Station are shown in Figure 7. Of the three stations being considered in this study, this station area is the only one with a predominately residential land use. A number of low density homes (single and multi-family) are located to the north and south of the station, but the parcels immediately surrounding the station are, for the most part, currently vacant. A few seemingly occupied small-to-medium sized warehouses are located to the east and south of the station.

Figure 8 provides some views of the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station. Access to the station is from a short stairway ascending from the west side of E. 79th St. As mentioned previously, this station is not designated as a Key Station, but must be upgraded to meet ADA requirements if it receives substantial renovations. The estimated cost of the reconstruction and repair of the station, including construction of an ADA-accessible ramp to the platform, is approximately $7 million.

Station Area Demographic Analysis

This section presents demographic information for the E. 34th-Campus. and E. 79th St. station areas. The station area is defined as the area within ½ mile of the station location. All Census blocks or block groups that fall within the ½ mile buffer are included in the station area demographic totals. Because the E. 79th Red Line and Blue/Green Lines stations are located in such close proximity to each other (approximately 1/3 mile apart straight line distance), their station areas overlap significantly. Therefore a number of blocks or block groups fall within both station areas. For the purpose of this analysis, however, they will be treated as distinct station areas.

Population Density

Population is declining in all three station areas, although at different rates. As shown in Table 1, the total population in the E. 34th-Campus Station area declined by 11% from 2000 to 2010. This is less than the rate of population loss in the City of Cleveland (17%) over the same time period. The E. 79th St. station areas, on the other hand, have more rapid population decline than the city as a whole. The E. 79th Red Line Station area has experienced a dramatic loss of population, from nearly 8,600 residents in 2000 to less than 6,700 in 2010. Going back to 1970, the E. 34th-Campus Station area has lost 33% of its population, compared to 47% for the City of Cleveland and 26% for Cuyahoga County. The E. 79th St. stations area has lost about 75% of its population over the same time period.

As shown in Figure 9 (2000 population density) and Figure 10 (2010 population density), residential land uses occupy only a small part of the E. 34th-Campus Station area, and are largely limited to the area north of Woodland Ave. Residential land use is more dispersed within the E. 79th St. station areas. The highest density areas are located to the east of E. 79th St. and north of Woodland Ave.; directly northwest of the E. 79th Red Line Station; and to the west of E. 79th St. and south of Kinsman Rd. A comparison of Figures 9 and 10 illustrates the dramatic loss of population, and population density, in these station areas from 2000 to 2010. In particular, the areas to east of E. 79th St. and north of Woodland Ave. and the area to the west of E. 79th St. and south of Kinsman Rd. experienced significant population loss over this time period.

The average population density is 4.2 people per acre in the E. 34th-Campus Station area, 4.1 people per acre in the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station area, and 2.5 people per acre in the E. 79th Red Line station area. All three station areas have population densities well below the industry standard for heavy rail service, at 45 people per acre, and light rail service, at 30 people per acre.

Minority Population/Title VI

The stations serve a community that is largely African American, with a high proportion of low-income and transit-dependent households. Most of those who use the stations also are African American. Changes to the stations or service in these areas must avoid violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits Federally-funded agencies and projects from disproportionately imposing negative impacts on minority communities. The analysis of these impacts, and any mitigating factors, requires analysis of RTA’s broader system. Should any changes be proposed, they will be analyzed as part of RTA’s regular Title VI compliance activities. RTA’s Service Policy outlines the analysis process that is conducted when service changes are proposed.

As shown in Table 2 and Figure 11, all three station areas have a very high percentage of minority residents. Other than one block group in the southeast corner of the E. 34th-Campus Station area, which has only 426 residents, more than 95% of the station area population is made up of minorities. In comparison, minorities make up 66.5% of the total population in the City of Cleveland and 39.1% of Cuyahoga County, RTA’s service area. The analysis of existing ridership below confirms that the existing ridership of the stations is overwhelmingly made up of African Americans.

Low Income Population

As shown in Table 3 and Figure 12, all three station areas have a high percentage of residents living with an income below the Federal poverty level. The E. 34th-Campus Station area has the highest percentage of residents with income below the poverty level (69.6%), which is more than twice the poverty rate for the City of Cleveland as a whole (34.2%) and nearly four times as high as the rate for Cuyahoga County (17.7%). Poverty levels are slightly lower in the E. 79th St. station areas, at 56.4% for the Red Line Station and 58.1% for the Blue/Green Lines Station area.

In the E. 34th-Campus Station area, poverty levels are higher to the north and east of I-77, where most of the people in this station area reside. In the E. 79th St. station areas, the block groups located to the north of the Red Line have a slightly lower incidence of poverty than those located to the south of the tracks.

Zero-Vehicle Households

As shown in Table 4 and Figure 13, all station areas have a higher percentage of households with no vehicle available than in the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. The E. 34th-Campus Station area has the highest percentage of households with no vehicle available, at 65.7%. The E. 79th St. station areas have significantly lower percentages of households with no vehicle available, at 37.3% for the Red Line Station area and 36.9% for the Blue/Green Lines Station area. For comparison, 24.8% of Cleveland City households and 13.4% of Cuyahoga County Households lack access to an automobile.

The higher levels of car-ownership in the E. 79th St. station areas in comparison with the E. 34th-Campus Station area may reflect the relatively large number of students living in the E. 34th Street area. It may also be a reflection of the differing level of transit service between the two areas. The E. 34th-Campus Station area is just southeast of downtown and is served by a number of GCRTA’s higher frequency bus routes. The E. 79th St. station areas have lower levels of bus service by comparison. Existing bus service will be described in greater detail in the existing service section of this memo.

Existing Service/Ridership Analysis

This section describes the existing transit service at the three stations, including service levels on the rail lines as well as the bus routes serving the stations. Ridership information for the rail stations and bus routes is presented along with an analysis of the origins and destinations of riders that currently utilize the stations.

Rail Service and Ridership – All Stations

The E. 34th-Campus Station is served by all three GCRTA Rapid Lines: Blue, Green, and Red. The E. 79th Red Line Station is served only by the Red Rapid Line and the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station is served by the Blue and Green Rapid Lines. Service on the Rapid Lines provides access to Downtown Cleveland, University Circle, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Shaker Heights, and the greater Cleveland region through connections on the GCRTA network. The GCRTA Rapid network is shown in Figure 14.

The Red Line runs between the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Louis Stokes Rapid Station at Windermere via Tower City/Downtown Cleveland. Service on the Red Line is offered between 3:17 AM and 1:38 AM daily including weekends. The service frequency is very high on the western half of the Red Line (between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Tower City), with headways of 8 minutes during the peak periods, and 15 minutes at all other times including weekends. The headway on the eastern half of the Red Line (between Tower City-Public Square and Louis Stokes Station at Windermere), which serves the E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th St. stations, is 15 minutes during both peak and off-peak periods. The higher peak period service frequency on the western part of the line is warranted by the significantly higher peak period ridership generated by stations on that side of the line.

The Blue Line runs between South Harbor/Muny Parking Lot in Downtown Cleveland via the Waterfront Line through Tower City Station and east to the Van Aken-Warrensville Blue Line Station in Shaker Heights. Service on the Blue Line is offered between 4:00 AM and 12:48 AM daily including weekends. Service headways on the Blue Line are 10 minutes during the peak and 30 minutes during off-peak times. On weekends the headway is 30 minutes at all times.

The Green Line runs between South Harbor/Muny Parking Lot in Downtown Cleveland via the Waterfront Line through Tower City Station and east to the Green Road Green Line Station in Shaker Heights. Service on the Green Line is offered between 5:29 AM and 12:35 AM daily including weekends. Service headways on the Green Line are 10 minutes during the peak and 30 minutes during off-peak times. On weekends the headway is 30 minutes at all times.

Light rail service along the Shaker trunk (between Tower City and Shaker Square), which serves the E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th St. stations, is very frequent, with service provided by both the Blue and Green Lines. Headways on the trunk are 5 minutes during the peak and 15 minutes during the off-peak. At stations served by all three Rapid Lines (Tower City, E. 34th-Campus, and E. 55th St.), service levels are even higher, with a composite service frequency of approximately every 4 minutes during the peak and every 7.5 minutes during off-peak times.

Of the three stations, ridership is highest at the E. 34th-Campus station, with approximately 288 boardings and 287 alightings on weekdays, as shown in Tables 5 and 6. Ridership activity at the E. 79th Red Line Station is lower, with approximately 155 boardings and 186 alightings on weekdays. Ridership is lowest at the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station, with approximately 145 weekday boardings and only 80 weekday alightings for the combined Blue and Green Lines.

Figure 15 shows graphically the relative level of ridership at each station in the RTA rail network. In comparison with all stations in the GCRTA Rapid Transit network, the two E. 79th St. stations rank towards the lower half of all stations in ridership activity, while the E. 34th-Campus Station ranks toward the middle of the pack. The E. 79th Red Line station ranks 27th and the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station ranks 30th out of the 44 stations in the GCRTA Rapid network, excluding the Waterfront Line stations. As mentioned previously, the E. 34th-Campus Station has the second lowest ridership of all stations served by the Red Line, while the E. 79th Red Line Station has the lowest. The E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station has the lowest ridership of all stations on the Shaker trunk (served by both the Blue and Green Lines).

Racial Composition of Station Ridership

As noted above in the section on the racial composition of the neighborhoods around the stations, the ridership using the three stations is overwhelmingly made up of minorities, mostly African Americans. Based on the results of the 2012 on-board survey, African Americans made up 86% of riders at the E. 34th-Campus. Station, 79% at the E. 79th Red Line Station, and 81% of riders at the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station. Non-Hispanic whites made up only 10% of riders at E. 34th St., 11% at E. 79th Red Line and 18% at E. 79th Blue and Green Lines. Most of the remaining riders identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino. This percentage of African Americans is much higher than the percentage of the population made up by African Americans in the population of the City of Cleveland (about 67% African American) or Cuyahoga County (about 39%).

Origin-Destination Analysis

An origin-destination analysis was performed using data provided from the on-board survey conducted for the NOACA region in 2013. Origins and destinations were plotted for riders who boarded or alighted at the three stations and are presented in Appendix B.

The origins of riders who board at the E. 34th-Campus Station are predominantly located to the north of the station near the Tri-C Metro campus and in the immediate vicinity (extending as far north as Euclid Ave.), as shown in Appendix B, Figure B1. Some origins are also located to the south of the station, clustered along Broadway Ave., an indication of transfer activity between bus route 76 and the station. The destinations of riders who board at the E. 34th-Campus Station are dispersed across the Greater Cleveland region, with some concentration of destinations around Shaker Square and the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere, as shown in Appendix B, Figure B2. Destinations to the west of Cleveland are more widespread than on the east side, but are mostly clustered around the Red Line Rapid stations. The origins and destinations of riders alighting at the E. 34th-Campus Station (Appendix B, Figures B3 and B4) are nearly a mirror image of those boarding at the station, which is expected given that most riders complete a return trip later in the day. The only discernable variability is seen around the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere, with the destinations of riders who board at the E. 34th-Campus Station being slightly more dispersed than the origins of riders alighting at that station.

The origins of riders who board at the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines station are mainly located in the E. 79th St. corridor, extending from as far north as Euclid Ave. and as far south as Union Ave. There are very few origins located to the east of E. 79th St., but a few as far west as E. 63rd St. The destinations of riders who board at the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station are concentrated around Downtown Cleveland, with smaller concentrations to the east along the Shaker trunk and a few along Cedar Rd. in Cleveland Heights. Very few riders boarding at the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station have destinations to the west of Downtown Cleveland. As shown in Appendix B, Figures B5-B8, the origins and destinations of riders boarding and alighting at the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station are nearly a mirror image of each other, indicating that nearly all riders are making the same return trip.

The origins of riders boarding at the E. 79th Red Line Station show a similar pattern as those who board at the Blue/Green Lines station. The origins are located mainly around the E. 79th St. corridor, with some as far north as Hough Ave. and as far south as Kinsman Rd. There are very few origins located to the east or west of E. 79th St. The destinations of riders boarding at the Red Line station are more widespread, which is a reflection of the direct connection to the west side of Cleveland provided by the Red Line. Destinations are concentrated in Downtown Cleveland and near the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere, with less concentration on the west side where destinations are mainly located near the Red Line Rapid stations and in Lakewood. The origins and destinations of those boarding at the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station are nearly the same as the origins and destinations of riders alighting at the station. As shown in Appendix B, Figure B11, there are some origins of riders alighting at the station located near the border of Cuyahoga and Lake Counties that were not recorded as destinations of riders boarding at the station.

The origin-destination patterns of the three stations show a marked lack of trips destined to the University Circle area, which is the region’s second largest employment concentration and an important destination for area residents. Data on trips to University Circle was not analyzed, but it is assumed that travelers to University Circle are using bus connections to the HealthLine, which offers better service frequency and better passenger distribution in University Circle than the Red Line.

Bus Service – E. 34th-Campus Station

The E. 34th-Campus Station is served by three bus routes: Route 15–Union/Harvard; Route 19–Broadway/Miles; and Route 76–Broadway/Turney. These three routes connect the E.34th St. station with Downtown Cleveland, including Tower City/Public Square and the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center at a high service frequency.

Route 15 Union-Harvard

Route 15 operates between Downtown Cleveland/Public Square and Country Lane (near Emery Road) in Warrensville Heights. The alignment and destinations are shown in the route diagram in Figure 16. In addition to the E. 34th-Campus Station and Downtown Cleveland/Public Square, the route serves the Tri-C Metro campus, Jane Addams High School, Tri-C Eastern Campus, University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center, South Pointe Hospital, and Warrensville High School. The route serves the cities of Cleveland and Warrensville Heights. Service on Route 15 is provided between 3:57 AM and 2:14 AM on weekdays, 5:01 AM and 1:41 AM on Saturdays, and between 5:07 AM and 1:36 AM on Sundays. Headways along the route are set at 12 minutes during the AM and PM peak periods, 15 minutes during the off-peak periods, and 30 minutes at night.

Route 15 has the highest ridership of the three bus routes that serve the E.34th-Campus Station and is among the highest ridership routes in the GCRTA system. In 2013, Route 15 transported nearly 2 million riders (Table 7). Despite high ridership on the route, boarding and alighting activity at the Broadway and E. 34th St. bus stop remains low compared to other stops along the route, with approximately 5 riders boarding and 22 riders alighting at E. 34th-Campus Station on an average weekday (Figures 17 and 18). Most of the activity at the Broadway and E. 34th St. bus stop can be attributed to transfers to the rail, as there are few activity centers in the vicinity of the stop, and most of these are served by other stops.

Route 19 Broadway-Miles

Route 19 operates between Downtown Cleveland/Public Square and either the E. 130th St./Miles Ave. Bus Loop or the Fargo Turnaround in Bedford Heights, with every other trip short-turning at the E. 130th St./Miles Ave. Bus Loop. The alignment and destinations are shown in the route diagram in Figure 19. Early morning and late night trips are all turned at the Bus Loop. In addition to the E. 34th-Campus Station and Downtown Cleveland/Public Square, the route also serves the Main Post Office, MetroHealth Broadway Care Access Center, South High School, and the Bedford Heights Industrial Park. The route serves the cities of Cleveland, Warrensville Heights, and Bedford Heights. Service on Route 19 is provided 24 hours a day on weekdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Headways along the route are 15 minutes during the AM and PM peak periods, 30 minutes during the off-peak periods, and 30 to 60 minutes during the late evening/early morning hours.

Ridership on Route 19 is less than half that of Route 15, but higher than on Route 76, the other route serving the E. 34th-Campus Station. In 2013, Route 19 transported nearly 900,000 riders. Ridership has been consistent on the route over the past four years, as shown in Table 8. Similar to Route 15, boarding and alighting activity at the Broadway and E. 34th St. stop for Route 19 is low compared to other stops along the route, with an average of 21 boardings and 16 alightings on weekdays (Figures 20 and 21). Most of the activity at the Broadway and E. 34th St. bus stop can be attributed to transfers to the rail, as there are few activity centers in the vicinity of the stop.

Route 76 Broadway-Turney

Route 76 operates between Downtown Cleveland and the Southgate Transit Center in Maple Heights. The route alignment is shown in the diagram in Figure 22. In addition to the E. 34th-Campus Station and Downtown Cleveland, the route also serves MetroHealth Broadway Health Center, Garfield Mall, Dunham Plaza, the Bedford Medical Center, and the Southgate Transit Center. The route serves the cities of Cleveland, Garfield Heights, Bedford, and Maple Heights. Service on Route 76 is provided between 4:59 AM and 12:04 AM on weekdays, 5:37 AM and 11:36 PM on Saturdays, and between 5:37 AM and 11:12 PM on Sundays. Headways are set at 20 minutes during the AM and PM peak periods, 40 minutes during the off-peak periods, and 60 minute headways at night.

Route 76 has the lowest ridership of the three bus routes that serve the E. 34th-Campus station. In 2013, Route 76 transported approximately 550,000 riders. However, ridership has grown substantially over the past three years, as shown in Table 9. Similar to the other two routes, boarding and alighting activity at the Broadway and E. 34th-Campus Station bus stop is low compared to other stops along the route, with an average of 6 boardings and 7 alightings on weekdays (Figures 23 and 24). Most of the activity at the Broadway and E. 34th-Campus Station bus stop can be attributed to transfers to the rail, as there are few activity centers in the vicinity of the stop.

Bus Service – E. 79th St. Stations

The E. 79th Blue/Green and Red Line stations are served by only one bus route: Route 2–E. 79th St. This route connects the E. 79th St. corridor between St. Clair Ave. and Bessemer Ave. to the Steelyard Commons Shopping Center via Harvard Avenue. Route 2 is a crosstown route that provides mobility along the north-south corridor connecting the cities of Cleveland and Newburgh Heights and the neighborhoods of Slavic Village, Fairfax, and Hough.

Route 2 E. 79th

Route 2 operates between the Maud Loop located near St. Clair Ave. and E. 79th St. and the Steelyard Commons Shopping Center. The route’s alignment is shown in the diagram in Figure 25. In addition to both E. 79th St. stations and Steelyard Commons, the route also serves the Church Square Shopping Center, Midtown Plaza Shopping Center, MetroHealth Broadway Health Center, and ArcelorMittal Steel. Service on Route 2 is provided between 4:36 AM and 8:02 PM Mondays through Fridays, with no weekend service. The headway is 40 minutes during all time periods.

Considering the limited amount of service provided by the route, Route 2 has relatively high ridership. In 2013, Route 2 transported approximately 460,000 riders. However, the route was restructured in December 2013 (in combination with Route 16) to connect the E. 79th St. corridor and Slavic Village with Steelyard Commons, thus the annual ridership provided in Table 10 and boarding/alighting activity presented in Figures 26 and 27 does not reflect the performance of the current route. Ridership activity prior to the route restructure was low at the stops near the Red Line and Blue/Green Lines stations. At the Red Line Station, there were approximately 5  boardings and 9 alightings on an average weekday. At the Blue/Green Lines Station, there were approximately 16 boardings and 22 alightings on an average weekday. Given the volume of boardings recorded at the stations, the number of boardings and alightings at the bus routes serving the stations indicates a relatively low level of transfers between the rail and bus lines.

Station Area Land Use

As part of the existing conditions analysis, the existing and proposed land use within ½ mile of each of the stations was documented and evaluated in terms of its potential for attracting and permitting development that is conducive to increased future transit use. Ideally, the land use in rapid transit station areas would have a higher density, with more residences, more jobs and the following:

  • Higher density development, ideally more than 20 persons per acre living and/or working within the ½ mile walk shed around the station.
  • Mix of uses, with retail, commercial office, and residential uses within a close proximity of one another.
  • Fewer parcels with low intensity uses such as industrial, warehouse, or public open space.
  • Reduced parking requirements or, ideally, restrictions on surface parking within the station area.

Existing land use within the ½ mile buffer of the E. 34th-Campus Station is shown in Figure 28. As the figure shows, the area to the south and east of the station is dominated by heavy industry. These areas are largely cut off from the station by terrain and physical barriers including I-77 and railroad tracks. The areas immediately north and west of the station are dominated by institutional uses including the correctional facilities, the post office, and further north, Tri-C Metro. Some residential districts, including the Cedar Estates site (currently under reconstruction) are within the ½ mile buffer north of the station. Only a few isolated parcels within the ½ mile buffer are proposed for or occupied by retail use. None of the land in the station area is designated for commercial office space.

Figure 29 shows the land use for the same area as proposed in the City of Cleveland’s 2020 Citywide Plan. This plan would convert some of the heavy industry in the area east of I-77 to light industry, a somewhat higher use. In addition, a strip of development on the south side of Woodland Avenue, within ½ mile of the station, would be designated for commercial services, a more general land use designation that would allow for a mix of retail and office uses.

Figure 30 shows existing land use on E. 79th St., in the areas served by the two stations. The two E. 79th St. stations are less than ½ mile apart, and the ½ mile walk sheds of the two stations have a significant overlap. Existing land use in the area around the E. 79th Red Line Station is dominated by heavy industry immediately north and south of the station, with residential use (Community Apartments) in the northwestern quadrant. Two large cemeteries and the Orlando Bakery complex lie within the station area, while further north more industrial uses lie west of E. 79th St. while a residential neighborhood lies east of E. 79th.

Figure 31 shows the same area under the 2020 Citywide Plan. Under the 2020 Citywide Plan, the residential area to the northeast of the Red Line station would be converted from multi-and two-family residential land use to single family. The area between the stations, which currently contains a mix of uses including single and two family residential, heavy industry, and retail, would become mostly light industrial use.

Station Area Land Use Conclusions

  1. Neither the current land use nor the proposed land use in the City of Cleveland’s 2020 Citywide Plan are particularly friendly to public transportation, in that they would not significantly improve the density or mix of uses in the station areas.

    In a few isolated areas—such as the addition of the strip of commercial land use on the south side of Woodland Avenue, near the E. 79th Red Line Station, or the change from heavy to light industrial use for some areas near all of the stations, the proposed change in land use proposed by the 2020 plan would be potentially positive for transit. In other areas, such as the change from multi-family to single family housing in the area north of Woodland near E. 79th St., the change would be somewhat negative.
     

  2. The Opportunity Corridor roadway project, which now appears likely to be completed, will certainly bring development to the area around E. 79th St.

    The question about development generated by the Opportunity Corridor project is whether that development will be supportive of public transit. The land use currently in place for the area, while it perhaps does not preclude transit-supportive development, does little to promote such development. As we will see in the next section, development plans that have been proposed do little to acknowledge the presence of the stations or to provide supportive development in the station areas.
     

  3. The City of Cleveland has recently passed a new zoning ordinance adding an urban overlay district to its palette of zoning options.

    An overlay district zoning could promote the kind of higher density, mixed-use development that tends to promote transit use.

Potential and Planned Development in Station Areas

This section provides a summary of the various proposals and plans for development in the areas surrounding the stations. The Plans reviewed include the following:

  • E. 34th-Campus Station area
    • Central Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan (Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority)
    • Campus District Redevelopment (Campus District, Inc.)
  • E. 79th St. stations area
    • Opportunity Corridor Area-Wide Brownfield Plan (US Environmental Protection Agency, City of Cleveland)
    • The Fairfax Strategic Investment Plan 2014-2019 (Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation)
    • Various proposed developments in the station area, as provided by the City of Cleveland, CMHA and Burton, Bell, Carr Development Corporation.

E. 34th-Campus Station

Central Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan (Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority)
CMHA prepared the Central Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan to plan for the improvements of its properties and more general neighborhood improvements in the Central Neighborhood, where a number of CMHA properties are located. The Cleveland Central Choice neighborhood is an area that is bound by Euclid Avenue to the north, E. 55th St. to the east, E. 22nd St. to the west, and Woodland Avenue to the south and includes Tri-C’s Metro Campus, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, and the MidTown Business District, as shown in Figure 32. While the E. 34th-Campus Station does not lie within these limits, it is the neighborhood that lies closest to the station and will be directly impacted by any redevelopment in this area.

Immediate plans for redevelopment within this area includes the Cedar Family Extension. This extension will involve development that consists of a 60-unit apartment building in addition to 162 townhouses that include one to four bedroom options. The master plan for the Cedar Family Extension is presented in Figure 33. The development will be mixed-use and include retail spaces on the first floor of the apartment building to be located on the corner of Community College Road and E. 30th St. Adjacent to this site will be the new Care Alliance Health Centers which consists of medical offices that is intended to serve this community.

Overall, the plan aims at revitalizing the neighborhood using strategies that focus on improving housing, empowering the people that live within the neighborhood, and enhancing the prosperity of the neighborhood overall. Among the many initiatives and strategies the Central Choice Neighborhood hopes to use, some of the them include building a new neighborhood recreation center, creating a safety ambassador program similar to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, establishing mixed-income parameters and development to redefine the neighborhood and determining a marketing strategy to attract new residents, and making the neighborhood a model for innovation in urban agriculture, healthy eating, and green training.

Campus District Redevelopment (Campus District, Inc.)
A diagram of the Campus District was provided by Campus District, Inc. and presents a number of locations within its borders that are deemed as potential redevelopment sites. The diagram also includes sites that have been recently developed (2008-2013), sites where redevelopment is in progress, and sites that are available for sale. The diagram is presented in Figure 34.

The Campus District is bounded by OH-2 in the north, E. 30th St. to the east, E. 17th and E. 14th St. to the west, and Woodland Avenue to the south. This district includes the Central Choice Neighborhood that was discussed in the previous plan. The area of concern in this district is between Euclid Avenue to the north and Woodland Avenue to the south as it is in close proximity to the E. 34th-Campus Station. Once again, while the E. 34th-Campus Station does not lie within the neighborhood’s limits, it is the neighborhood that lies closest to the station and likely be directly impacted by any redevelopment in this area.

The potential redevelopment sites include a number of different uses that aim at improving the livelihood of current residents and the desirability of the neighborhood for potential future residents. These include numerous sites for mixed-use development (residential and commercial or retail), housing, expansion of Tri-C’s Metro Campus, affordable housing, additional Tri-C student center amenities, and a park with a coffee shop pavilion located along Carnegie Avenue and E. 22nd St. A table of proposed developments (which includes some proposed developments not included in the map) is provided in Table 11.

E. 79th St. (Both Stations)

Opportunity Corridor Area-Wide Brownfield Plan (US Environmental Protection Agency, City of Cleveland)
The Opportunity Corridor Area Wide Brownfield Plan is a proposal that aims to identify potential uses to redevelop the area immediately surrounding the Opportunity Corridor expressway project, the alignment of which would pass between the two E. 79th St. stations. The two stations lie in the Central Section of the plan, which is bounded on the north by the RTA Red Line railway, to the south by the RTA Blue/Green Lines and Kinsman Avenue, and to the east by Buckeye Avenue. A diagram depicting the Central Section of the study is provided in Figure 35.

The proposed redevelopment of the Central Section includes a mix of industrial uses that includes both light manufacturing and distribution, and convenience retail to support the existing residential homes and complexes in the area in addition to the proposed residential that lies to the south of the study area. The 2020-2040 Market Demand Analysis conducted by the plan proposed two retail locations with both to be located on E. 79th St. but on opposite ends of the Central Section and located adjacent to the two Rapid stations. Light manufacturing is proposed in the vast majority of the Central Section with residential proposed for some of the southern part of the Central Section, in addition to the area just beyond the southern boundary as shown in Figure 36.

The Fairfax Strategic Investment Plan 2014-2019 (Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation)
The Fairfax Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) 2014-2019 is the comprehensive master plan that aims to improve the sustainability of and increasing economic development in the Fairfax neighborhood of Cleveland. The Fairfax neighborhood is bound by Chester Avenue to the north, Stokes Boulevard and Woodhill Road to the east, E. 71st St. to the west, and Woodland Avenue to the south. While both E. 79th St. Stations do not lie within these limits, the E. 79th Red Line Station is the closest Rapid station to the neighborhood and any redevelopment in this area (especially in southern Fairfax) would likely impact the use of the Red Line station.

The plan’s main goals are to revitalize the community for its residents and to attract new residents to to the community. It aims to provide a variety of housing options, attract new employment opportunities, create new and exciting cultural opportunities through the reinvestment in arts and civic amenities, and create new parks and open space to encourage community and social interaction. The plan’s strategy to meet these initiatives include leveraging the Opportunity Corridor as a catalyst for adjacent development that would likely affect the Fairfax neighborhood, create a network of improvements to increase impact to the entire neighborhood, foster private and public partnerships, and focus on initiatives that maximize potential.

The six initiatives that were highlighted by the plan that aim to revitalize the neighborhood include creating an Arts and Culture District that centers around the Karamu House, which is located in the neighborhood; creating a New Economy neighborhood that would incorporate a mixed-use technology research district that would house office space, retail, housing, green space, and parking (Figure 37); implementing a comprehensive housing initiative that would rehabilitate vacant housing, consolidate lots, subdivide long blocks, and prioritize community gardens (Figure 38); form E. 83rd St. and Cedar Avenue as the new commercial epicenter of the neighborhood (Figure 39); constructing a Fairfax Recreation Center; and improving the street network by creating new avenues and open space.

Various Proposed Station Area Developments
Various stakeholders of the station area at E. 79th St., including officials from the City of Cleveland’s Department of Economic Development, CMHA, Burton, Bell, Carr Development Corporation, and others, provided the study team with information on new facilities proposed or in various stages of planning and development in the areas surrounding the two stations. Among the developments currently under or near construction in the area around the E. 79th St. stations are the new Community Place Apartments and Hill Place Townhomes, northwest of the Red Line station. This project will include a de-densification of the Section 8 housing in Community Apartments with one-for-one replacement of low-income housing units from Hill Place.

In addition, Orlando Bakery Company, located west of the station, is planning to add 60 employees to its existing 400 employees in the station area, with an expansion of its facility.

In addition, Burton, Bell, Carr Development Corporation, the Community Development Corporation for the neighborhood surrounding the two stations, has several initiatives underway for the station areas. These include an analysis of demand for a senior housing development along E. 79th St., most likely in the area between the two stations, and a redevelopment study for Hillside Park, the park located immediately south of the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station.

Proposed Development Conclusions

There are a number of development initiatives underway in the neighborhood, ranging from private and public investments that are underway or certain to move forward, to private and public initiatives that are more conjectural. While there are a number of significant development opportunities within the areas of the E. 79th St. stations, many of these development opportunities are either beyond ½ mile walk distance from the stations, and/or are within ½ mile of other RTA facilities.

Figure 40 shows the locations of proposed developments in the Campus District, superimposed with circles showing the half-mile distance of the E. 34th-Campus Station, the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center (a major bus hub) and stations on the HealthLine Corridor along Euclid Avenue. As the map shows, almost all of the proposed development in the Campus District lies beyond ½ mile of the E. 34th-Campus Station. However, almost all of the development lies within ½ mile of a HealthLine station or the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center, both of which provide high frequency, high quality transit service and excellent connections to all aspects of the RTA system, including connections to the Rapid at Tower City and University Circle.

In the area around the E. 79th St. stations, a number of developments are proposed that would lie within ½ mile of the stations. As Figure 41 shows, these include the renovations of the Hill Place and Community Place homes, improvements and expansion at Orlando Bakery, and renovations to Hillside Park, all of which lie within ½ mile of the E. 79th Red Line Station.

A number of new developments are proposed in the Fairfax Neighborhood, north and east of the E. 79th Red Line Station. As Figure 42 shows, however, these improvements mostly lie beyond ½ mile of the station, and are better served by the E. 105th St. Red Line Station and various HealthLine stations.

While most of the development in the neighborhoods surrounding the stations is occurring beyond ½ mile of the stations (as indicated in Figures 40 and 42), Figure 41 shows a significant volume of development in various stages of planning or execution in and around the E. 79th Street rapid station areas. As noted above, additional development in the E. 79th St. area is likely to result from the Opportunity Corridor roadway project. However, indications at the start of this project were that the development would occur primarily outside the ½ mile station areas, and that it was unlikely to occur in a form that would benefit the rapid stations. RTA and its consultants began working with planning and development officials at the City of Cleveland near the outset of this study, to gain a clear picture of the development proposed for the station areas and to seek ways in which that development could be shaped to better support the rapid stations. The City of Cleveland provided information regarding proposed development and also provided significant assistance in the public outreach efforts of this project, which is discussed in the following section. As noted above, the City recently passed an urban overlay district zoning category that could assist in shaping future development around the stations in a way that will make it more transit supportive.

Alternatives Analysis

This section describes the development and evaluation of alternatives for the E. 34th/E. 79th Stations Transit Services Alternatives Analysis. The purpose of this analysis is to identify and compare potential operational changes (i.e. alternatives) that GCRTA could make to mitigate the travel burdens caused by the closure of one or more of the E. 34th-Campus, E. 79th Red Line, or E. 79th Blue/Green Lines stations. The proposed alternatives are described and evaluated here within based on a number of measures, including impact on low-income and minority communities, operating and maintenance costs, capital costs, and travel time estimations.

Station Closure Scenarios

Initially, all three stations – E. 34th-Campus Station, E. 79th Red Line Station, and E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station – were considered as viable options for closure. As discussed in the existing conditions technical memorandum, all three stations are among the lowest performing for ridership among non-Key Rapid stations, and the E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations will require costly upgrades to achieve standards for disabled access under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if they remain open. Table 12 below shows all possible combinations of station closures, with an “o” representing an open station, and an “x” representing a station closure.

The E. 34th-Campus and the E. 79th Red Line stations, like all stations served by the Red Line, are designated as Key Stations in GCRTA’s 1993 Key Station Plan. The E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station is not designated as a Key Station, and therefore is not subject to the same requirements for ADA accessibility as the two stations served by the Red Line. The E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station could, in theory, remain open indefinitely as long as substantial renovations were not made to the station. Because the Blue/Green Lines Station could remain open at a much lower cost to GCRTA, its closure was effectively removed from consideration prior to the development of alternatives, thereby eliminating Scenarios 5 through 8 shown in Table 12. Although closure of the Blue/Green Lines Station was not considered as an option in the development of alternatives, the station will be impacted by the decision to renovate or close the E. 79th Red Line Station. If the E. 79th Red Line Station were to close, GCRTA would likely complete a renovation of the Blue/Green Lines Station, eventually bringing the station up to ADA accessibility standards. If the Red Line Station were to remain open, it would undergo a major renovation to meet ADA requirements and the Green/Blue Lines Station would likely receive only routine repair and minor cosmetic improvements.

Definition of Alternatives

An alternative was developed for station closure Scenarios 1 through 4 shown in Table 12. Each alternative includes a set of service improvements that would be implemented to mitigate the travel burdens for existing users of the station(s) whose closure is proposed in each scenario. The alternatives are described below.

Alternative 1: Keep E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations open

In this scenario, both stations being considered for closure would be reconstructed and remain open, and no additional bus or rail service would be provided beyond what GCRTA currently operates. This is, in essence, the “no build” alternative, although the capital cost of rebuilding both stations would be significant.

Alternative 2: Close E. 34th-Campus Station; provide bus mitigation

In this scenario, only the E. 34th-Campus Station would be closed. The bus mitigation plan includes an extension of the E-Line Trolley from its current eastern terminus and layover point at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center to the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) Metro campus. The trolley extension would be operated on E. 22nd St., Community College Avenue, E. 30th St., and Woodland Avenue, as shown in Figure 43. The trolley would provide a direct and fare-free connection between the Tri-C Metro campus and the Cleveland State University campus, and would complement GCRTA’s existing bus routes operating between Public Square/Tower City and the Metro campus. Service hours and frequency of the extended trolley would remain the same as the existing E-Line trolley; the trolley would be operated every 10 minutes from 7am-7pm Monday through Friday.

Alternative 3: Close E. 79th Red Line Station; provide bus mitigation

In this scenario, only the E. 79th Red Line Station would be closed. The bus mitigation plan includes an expansion of service span on Route 2 to include night and weekend service, and a change to the alignment of Route 11 to serve the E. 79th Red Line Station area, as shown in Figure 44.

The proposed alignment change for Route 11 serves two purposes: to provide direct service from the E. 79th Red Line Station area to downtown, and to provide a connection from the station area to the Red Line via a transfer at the E. 105 Quincy Station. To the west of E. 79th St., the alignment of Route 11 would remain unchanged. At E. 79th and Quincy, the route would travel south to Woodward – to serve the approximate station area – and then east on Woodward to E. 89th St. To the east of E. 89th St., the route would be split, with one branch continuing on Woodward to Woodhill and then continuing on the existing alignment of Route 11 to Shaker Square. The other branch would turn north at E. 89th St., then east on Quincy to the E. 105 Quincy Station, and continue north on E. 105th to Euclid Avenue, with a terminus near the Cleveland Clinic. In this scenario, frequency on the shared trunk of Route 11 (west of E. 89th St.) would increase from 3 buses per hour, or every 20 minutes, during the day on weekdays to 4 buses per hour, or every 15 minutes. Each of the proposed branches would be served with 2 buses per hour, or every 30 minutes during the day on weekdays. On nights and weekends, the trunk alignment would be served every 30 minutes, and each of the branches would be served once an hour.

There are no proposed alignment changes or increases in frequency for Route 2, but service span on the route would be extended to nights and weekends. Hourly service would be provided on Saturdays and Sundays from 4am to 8pm, and to midnight on weekdays. The expansion of service hours on Route 2 will provide a more consistent, all day connection for riders travelling to and from the E.79th Red Line Station area and transferring to the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station to the south or the HealthLine to the north.

Alternative 4: Close E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations; provide bus mitigation

In this scenario, both the E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations would be closed. The bus mitigation plan for this alternative is a summation of the bus mitigation plans described in Alternatives 2 and 3, as illustrated in Figure 45. The E-Line Trolley would be extended to serve the Tri-C Metro Campus as described in the Alternative 2 bus mitigation plan. Service span on Route 2 would be extended to nights and weekends, and the proposed alignment change to Route 11 would be implemented as described in the Alternative 3 bus mitigation plan.

Evaluation of Alternatives

The four alternatives described above were evaluated based on several measures, or evaluation criteria, including a demographic analysis of the population within the immediate station areas, operating costs, capital costs, and the travel time impacts of the alternatives. The evaluation of each alternative for each criteria is described below and summarized in a table in the concluding section of this document.

Demographic Analysis

The existing conditions technical memorandum described the demographic conditions in the ½ mile surrounding each station area in detail. The areas surrounding both the E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations are home to majority minority communities, with high incidences of poverty, low-car ownership rates, and decreasing population densities. Table 13 below summarizes the demographic characteristics of the population that would be most impacted by the station closures proposed in each alternative. The impacted population is assumed to be the entire population residing within a Census block or block group that falls within ½ mile of the station proposed for closure in each alternative.

Alternative 1: Keep E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations open
There would be no impacted population if both stations were to remain open.

Alternative 2: Close E. 34th-Campus Station; provide bus mitigation
The 2010 population density of the E. 34th-Campus Station area is 4.2 people per acre, a low density which is the result of a station area whose land use is predominately industrial. Nearly 70% of the population that does reside within the station area has a household income below the poverty rate, and 65% of households do not have access to a vehicle. The minority population constitutes 90% of the station area population. The population within the station area decreased by 7.9% between 2000 and 2010, compared with a 16.8% rate of decline within the City of Cleveland over the same time period.

Alternative 3: Close E. 79th Red Line Station; provide bus mitigation
The 2010 population density of the E. 79th Red Line Station area is 2.5 people per acre, an extremely low density for a heavy rail station area. The low population density is the result of several factors, including the existing land use within the station area, high rates of housing vacancy and abandonment, and a rapid rate of population decline. However, 56% of the population that does reside within the station area has a household income below the poverty rate, and 37% of households do not have access to a vehicle. Minorities constitute 99% of the station area population. The population within the station area decreased by 42.7% between 2000 and 2010, compared with a 16.8% rate of decline within the City of Cleveland over the same time period.

Alternative 4: Close E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations; provide bus mitigation
The greatest number of people would be impacted if both stations were to close, as proposed in Alternative 4; this is the obvious end result of Alternative 4 including two distinct station areas, whose demographic characteristics are described above in Alternatives 2 and 3.

Operating and Maintenance Costs

Operating and maintenance (O&M) costs were estimated for each alternative. These include the estimated cost of operating the bus mitigation plans associated with each alternative, as well as the costs of maintaining the station if kept open, including GCRTA, vendor, and electricity costs for both stations, and elevator maintenance and repair costs for the E. 79th Red Line Station. It is anticipated that the E. 34th-Campus Station will be designed and reconstructed to meet ADA accessibility standards without the addition of an elevator, therefore the elevator costs are not included in the estimate for keeping the E. 34th-Campus Station open.

Annual operating and maintenance costs for each alternative’s bus mitigation plan were estimated using a two-factor cost model, with revenue hours and revenue miles as the cost driving variables. GCRTA provided low and high-end unit costs for revenue miles, therefore the O&M costs for each bus mitigation plan are presented as a range of costs, as shown in Table 14. The detailed calculations for these O&M costs are included in an appendix to this document.

Station maintenance costs were estimated from the 2013 closed work orders for both stations. These include the costs for labor and materials for the facility maintenance, janitorial, shelters and track groups and vendor-related costs at each station. The annual estimated maintenance cost is $5,500 for the E. 34th-Campus Station and $5,300 for the E. 79th Red Line Station.

The annual electricity cost for each station was determined from the past year’s meter readings at the E. 34th-Campus Station. The cost is estimated to be approximately $4,000 per year.

The annual cost of elevator maintenance and repair was derived from the cost of vendor contracts for preventative maintenance for elevators at the E. 55 and Puritas stations in 2012 and 2013, as well as the average annual cost of elevator repair (beyond preventative maintenance) at these two stations. The annual cost of the preventative maintenance contract was approximately $5,500 per elevator in 2012 and 2013. The average annual cost of repairs (beyond preventative maintenance) was $1,800 per elevator from 2012-2013. 

The annual operations and maintenance cost estimates for each alternative are shown in Table 14 below

Alternative 1: Keep E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line Stations open
The alternative in which both stations remain open has the lowest estimated annual O&M cost at $25,300. This includes the annual cost of maintenance ($10,800) and electricity ($8,000) at both stations, and the annual cost of elevator maintenance and repair at the E. 79th Red Line Station ($7,300). In comparison the costs of operating the bus mitigation plans for the other alternatives, the costs of station maintenance, electricity and elevator maintenance and repair for both stations are relatively low.

Alternative 2: Close E. 34th-Campus Station; provide bus mitigation
The alternative in which the E. 34th-Campus Station is closed has the second lowest annual O&M cost at $216,600-$253,600. This includes the annual cost of maintenance ($5,300), electricity ($4,000) and elevator maintenance and repair ($7,300) at the E. 79th Red Line Station, and the annual estimated O&M cost of extending the E-Line trolley to serve the Tri-C Metro campus. The cost of the trolley extension ($200,000-$237,000) includes an additional 3,500 annual revenue hours and 33,500 annual revenue miles of service.

Alternative 3: Close E. 79th Red Line Station; provide bus mitigation
The alternative in which the E. 79th Red Line Station is closed has the second highest annual O&M cost at $747,500-$888,500. This includes the annual cost of maintenance ($5,500) and electricity ($4,000) at the E. 34th-Campus Station, and the annual estimated O&M cost of providing night and weekend service on Route 2 and implementing the proposed alignment changes for Route 11. The cost of the Route 2 service expansion and Route 11 realignment ($738,000-$879,000) includes an additional 13,000 annual revenue hours and 127,000 annual revenue miles of service.

Alternative 4: Close E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations; provide bus mitigation
The alternative in which both stations are closed has the highest annual O&M cost at $938,000-$1,116,000. This includes the annual O&M cost of extending the E-Line trolley, providing night and weekend service on Route 2, and implementing the proposed alignment changes for Route 11. The total bus mitigation plan for this alternative includes an additional 16,500 annual revenue hours and 160,500 annual revenue miles of service.
As shown in Table 14, and discussed for each alternative above, the O&M costs are driven by the cost of operating the proposed bus mitigation plans. The annual cost of maintenance, electricity and elevator maintenance and repair at each station are minor in comparison to the annual bus operations costs.

Capital Costs

Capital costs estimates for each alternative include the estimated cost of station reconstruction, including the cost of upgrades to achieve ADA accessibility standards, and “soft costs” such as planning, design and construction management. The capital cost estimates also include a contingency. The capital cost estimates also include the cost of additional buses that would be needed to operate the bus mitigation plan associated with each alternative. The station reconstruction cost estimates were provided by GCRTA and are shown in greater detail in an appendix to this document. Capital costs associated with each alternative’s bus mitigation plan were determined based on the number of additional peak vehicles required to operate the proposed service. A new Gillig CNG bus was estimated to cost $490,000 and a new trolley bus was estimated to cost $400,000.

Capital cost estimates for each alternative are shown in Table 15 below. A simplified “annualization” of the capital costs was performed by dividing the total capital cost estimate evenly over 10 years.

Alternative 1: Keep E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations open
The alternative in which both stations remain open has the highest annualized capital cost at $1.86 million. This includes the $1.13 million annualized cost of reconstructing the E. 79th Red Line Station and the $0.73 million annualized cost of reconstructing the E. 34th-Campus Station.

Alternative 2: Close E. 34th-Campus Station; provide bus mitigation
The alternative in which the E. 34th-Campus Station is closed has the second highest annualized capital cost at $1.17 million. This includes the $1.13 million annualized cost of reconstructing the E. 79th Red Line Station, and the $40,000 annualized cost of one additional trolley bus needed to extend the E-Line trolley to the Tri-C Metro campus.

Alternative 3: Close E. 79th Red Line Station; provide bus mitigation
The alternative in which the E. 79th Red Line Station is closed has the second lowest annualized capital cost at $0.83 million. This includes the $0.73 million annualized cost of reconstructing the E. 34th-Campus Station, and the $98,000 annualized cost of two additional 40ft. buses needed to implement the proposed alignment changes on Route 11. No additional vehicles would be required to provide night and weekend service on Route 2.

Alternative 4: Close E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations; provide bus mitigation
The alternative in which both stations are closed has the lowest annualized capital cost at $0.14 million. This includes the $98,000 million annualized cost of two additional 40ft. vehicles needed to implement the proposed alignment changes on Route 11 and the $40,000 annualized cost of one additional trolley bus needed to extend the E-Line Trolley to the Tri-C Metro campus. No additional vehicles would be required to provide night and weekend service on Route 2.

As shown in Table 4, and discussed for each alternative above, the capital costs are primarily driven by the cost of reconstructing the stations. The annualized costs of the additional vehicles needed to operate the bus mitigation plans are much less than the annualized station reconstruction costs.

Travel Time Analysis

A travel time analysis was conducted for each of the proposed alternatives using trip information from the 2013 Regional On-Board Survey. The survey collected detailed information for 204 trips where the passenger used the E. 34th-Campus Station to complete their trip, either by boarding (106 surveyed trips) or alighting (98 surveyed trips) at the station. This includes passengers who used the E. 34thCampus Station to access or egress the Red, Blue, or Green Lines. The survey also collected detailed trip information for 81 trips where the passenger used the E. 79th Red Line Station to complete their trip, either by boarding (39 surveyed trips) or alighting (42 surveyed trips) at the station. Using the information contained within the survey records – including origin-destination data, time the trip began, and routes used to complete the trip – an analysis was conducted to determine how travel times would change for each of the proposed alternatives. A complete description of the methodology used to calculate existing travel times from the surveyed trip, and travel times for scenarios in which one or more stations were closed, is included in an appendix to this document.

A summary of the results of the travel time analysis are shown in Tables 16 and 17 below. For the sake of clarity – and because there are fewer survey records for passengers using the E. 79th Red Line Station than the E. 34th-Campus Station – the results of the travel time analysis are presented separately for the E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations. There were no surveyed trips where a passenger used both stations to complete his or her trip; however the bus mitigation plans associated with each alternative can, in some cases, impact passengers using both stations. This is discussed in greater detail below for each alternative.

Alternative 1: Keep E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations open
For Alternative 1, there are no station closures and no additional bus services; therefore, it stands to reason that there would be no impact on travel times. All passengers would be able to complete their trip using the same path as recorded in the survey.

Alternative 2: Close E. 34th-Campus Station; provide bus mitigation
Travel times for passengers that currently use the E. 79th Red Line Station are not impacted by the closure of the E. 34th-Campus Station, nor were any of the surveyed trips at the E. 79th Red Line Station improved by the extension of the E-Line trolley.

The travel time analysis for passengers using the E. 34th-Campus Station found that 47% of surveyed trips could be made as fast or faster if the station were closed and the proposed bus mitigation (the trolley extension) were implemented. For the remaining passengers, 34% would experience a travel time increase of less than 10 minutes, and 14% would experience a travel time increase of 10-19 minutes. Only 5% of surveyed passengers would experience a travel time increase of 20 minutes or more.

The E-Line trolley extension, however, does very little to improve the travel times of passengers that currently use the E. 34th-Campus Station. Only three of the 204 trips surveyed at the station would be improved by the extension of the E-Line trolley. There are two reasons that the E-Line trolley extension has little benefit for passengers that currently access or egress the Red Line from the E. 34th-Campus Station. One is that for passengers traveling to the west side via the Red Line, Route 15 provides a faster trip from the station area to Tower City than the extended trolley. The other is that for passengers travelling to/from Tri-C to University Circle or Windermere, it is faster to walk to the HealthLine at E. 30th and Euclid rather than take the trolley to E. 22nd and Euclid. It is noteworthy that even though the extension of the E-Line trolley does little to improve travel time for passengers that currently use the E. 34th-Campus Station, nearly half (45%) of the surveyed passengers would be able to complete their trip as fast or faster using another route that doesn’t involve the E. 34th-Campus Station, even if no other improvements to the RTA system were made.

Alternative 3: Close E. 79th Red Line Station; provide bus mitigation
Travel times for passengers that currently use the E. 34th-Campus Station are not impacted by the closure of the E. 79th Red Line Station, nor were any of the surveyed trips at the E. 34th-Campus Station improved by the expansion of service hours on Route 2 or the branched service on Route 11.

The travel time analysis for passengers using the E. 79th Red Line Station found that 49% of surveyed trips could be made as fast or faster if the station were closed and the proposed bus mitigation (night and weekend service on Route 2; branching and realignment of Route 11) were implemented. For the remaining passengers, 24% would experience a travel time increase of less than 10 minutes, and 25% would experience a travel time increase of 10-19 minutes. Only 3% of surveyed passengers would experience a travel time increase of 20 minutes or more.

As with the E-Line trolley extension in Alternative 2, the proposed bus mitigations for Alternative 3 do little to improve travel times for passengers that currently use the E. 79th Red Line Station, and in some cases the proposed bus mitigations had a negative impact on travel times for current users of the station. The travel time analysis found that passengers traveling east on the Red Line were negatively impacted by the proposed branching of Route 11. If the station were closed, most of these passengers would travel to the E. 105 Quincy Station to access the Red Line and complete their trip, but due to the proposed branching of Route 11 at Woodland and E. 89th St., the E. 105 Quincy Station would be served less frequently by Route 11 than it is now (reduced from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes during the day). Most of these passengers would be better served by walking north from the E. 79th Red Line Station area to the existing Route 11 on Quincy, and traveling east to the E. 105 Quincy Station. The travel time analysis found that while passengers traveling west on the Red Line were not negatively impacted by the proposed bus mitigation plan, the proposed changes did not improve travel times either. Most of these passengers would be better serving by walking south to the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station and transferring to the Red Line at Tower City rather than traveling to Public Square via the realigned Route 11.

Unfortunately, the travel time analysis was not able to adequately measure the impact of the proposed changes to Route 2 due to the parameters of the on-board survey data. Because the survey was only conducted on weekdays before 8pm, there were no surveyed passengers whose trips would be improved by the proposed night and weekend service on Route 2. However, it can be inferred that the proposed service expansion would improve travel for residents in the E. 79th St. corridor by providing a more consistent, all day connection to the E. 79th Blue/Green Lines Station to the south and HealthLine to the north.

Finally, the travel time analysis found that 46% of the surveyed passengers that currently use the E. 79th Red Line Station would be able to complete their trip as fast or faster using another route that doesn’t involve the station, even if no other improvements to the RTA system were made.

Alternative 4: Close E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations; provide bus mitigation
Of the 209 survey trips at the E. 34th-Campus Station and 81 surveyed trips at the E. 79th Red Line Station, only 4 trips would be further impacted by having both stations closed. While none of these trips involved using both stations to complete the original trip, the other station was included as part of the fastest alternate route in the alternative in which only one station were closed, and therefore, a second (slower) alternate route had to be selected for the alternative in which both stations were closed.

As with Alternatives 2 and 3, the proposed extension of the E-Line trolley and night and weekend service on Route 2 did little to impact travel times in the scenario in which both stations were closed. The proposed change to Route 11, however, had a net negative impact on passengers who currently use the E. 79th Red Line Station, as discussed in Alternative 3 above, but also on passengers who currently use the E. 34th-Campus Station. For many of the passengers who currently use the E. 34th-Campus Station to travel east on the Red Line, the fastest alternate route if that station were closed would be to take Route 11 east to the E. 105th/Quincy Red Line station. The proposed branching of Route 11 has a negative impact on the travel times for these passengers because the station would be served less frequently, and with a less direct alignment, than it is now. As discussed under Alternative 2, 47% of surveyed passengers at the E. 34th-Campus Station would be able to complete their trips as fast or faster if only the E-Line trolley extension were implemented, and 34% would experience a travel time increase of less than 10 minutes, and 14% would experience a travel time increase of 10-19 minutes. If both stations were closed and all of the proposed bus mitigations were implemented, only 40% of the surveyed passengers at the E. 34th-Campus Station would be able to complete their trips as fast or faster, 29% would experience a travel time increase of less than 10 minutes, and 26% would experience a travel time increase of 10-19 minutes.

Summary of Alternatives Evaluation

Should one or more of the stations to be closed, RTA would increase and otherwise modify transit service in the area impacted by the closure. The alternatives analysis detailed in this chapter indicates that there is already a high level of transit service within the areas served by the stations, and that a high percentage of those who currently use the stations have faster and more convenient options available today, using combinations of bus and rail services. A small number of current users, however, would experience delays and an increase in transfers between services should the rapid station that they use be closed. Should one or more of the stations to be closed, RTA would follow the procedures outlined its service policy prior to that closure. The service policy requires documented public hearings whenever transit service is significantly changed or reduced.

A summary of the evaluation results for all alternatives is shown in Table 18. Major findings include:

  • Demographic Characteristics
    • Closing either or both of the stations would pose a significant impact to station populations that are nearly exclusively made up of minorities, and include large proportions of low income and transit-dependent (zero vehicle) households.
    • Closing the E. 34th-Campus Stations would impact the greater number of people and the greater number of households without access to an auto.
  • Annual Operating and Maintenance Costs
    • Closing the two stations would result in an increased operating and maintenance cost for RTA of around $1 million per year.
    • Mitigations related to closing the E. 34th-Campus Station would average around $250,000 per year.
    • Mitigations related to closing the E. 79th Red Line Station would average around $750,000 per year.
  • Annual Capital Cost Estimate
    • Reconstructing the two stations would generate an annualized cost to RTA of nearly $1.9 million per year
    • Reconstructing the E. 79th Red Line Station would generate an annualized cost of more than $1.1 million per year.
    • Reconstruction of the E. 34th-Campus Station would cost more than $700,000 per year.
    • Cost of buses for bus mitigations would add tens of thousands per year to RTA’s capital costs due to the need for additional vehicles.
  • Travel Time Analysis
    • Between 40% and 50% of existing users of the stations already have a faster option available to them using other combinations of bus and rail connections.
    • Were the E. 34th-Campus Station to be closed, about 20% of its existing users (fewer than 60 people) would see their travel time increase by more than 9 minutes.
    • Were the E. 79th Red Line Station to be closed, about 28% of its existing users (fewer than 45 people) would see their travel time increase by more than 9 minutes.
    • Were both stations to close, about 30 percent of their combined existing users (fewer than 135 people) would see their travel time increase by more than 9 minutes.
    • The bus mitigations developed in the event of station closures would have little if any impact on the travel time of existing station users. This is, in part, because a high number of existing users already had a faster trip available without the bus mitigation. The proposed bus mitigations primarily provide alternative means to reach downtown Cleveland that are much slower than the Rapid and not significantly faster than other nearby bus routes. They do little for travelers currently using the stations who are traveling to destinations on the West Side of Cleveland or areas served by the Red Line east of the E. 34th-Campus or E. 79th Red Line stations.
Public and Stakeholder Outreach

Public engagement was an important part of the alternatives analysis process and served many purposes. One of these was to gain insight into the station usage and the perception of the stations from RTA passengers and members of the public. A second was to explore development opportunities with stakeholders and other public entities, such as neighborhood development corporations and the Cleveland City Planning Commission. A third was to gauge public opinion on the possible closing of the stations. The public involvement process described in this section was a dynamic and multifaceted process. Its results and elements are highlighted in this chapter with further details included in a series of appendices to this document.

Outreach Activities

The outreach effort included two main elements:

  • A stakeholder outreach effort, including the recruitment of a stakeholder committee and one-on-one or group meetings with key stakeholders.
  • A public outreach effort including three public meetings at locations within the community, an outreach event at two of the stations, and an online survey to gather information on how the public uses the stations and whether alternative transportation options could mitigate the need for the stations.

Stakeholder Interviews

The project targeted community stakeholders, including representatives of local private and public employers, institutions, and community groups represented in the station areas. RTA and consultant team members visited the stakeholders and conducted personal or group interviews at the interviewees’ offices to gather information on their opinions about the stations and the importance of the stations to their organizations, their employees, and those who use their services. These meetings, and the dates on which they occurred, are listed below:

  • Bobbi Reichtell, Campus District, June 13, 2014
  • Phyllis Cleveland, Mamie Mitchell, Cleveland City Council, June 13, 2014
  • Fred Collier, Kim Scott and other staff, Cleveland Planning Commission, June 16, 2014
  • Tim Tramble, Burton, Bell, Carr Development Corporation, June 16, 2014
  • Jeffrey Patterson and other staff, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, July 11, 2014
  • Francis Afram-Gyening, Kate Nagel, Care Alliance Health Center, July 11, 2014
  • Stephanie McHenry, Cleveland State University, July 17, 2014

Stakeholder Committee Meetings

In addition to the stakeholders who were interviewed personally, a number of additional stakeholders—including nearby institutions, property owners, employers, and others who expressed interest in the project—were invited to form a stakeholder committee to provide input to the study process. These stakeholders were initially identified by RTA and the consultant team, including the team’s public and stakeholder involvement specialist, former County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones. Additional stakeholders were recommended by the stakeholders who were initially contacted.

Invitations to the meetings and other contacts with stakeholders were made by email. An initial meeting was held on June 17, 2014 to provide stakeholders with an outline of the study and to gather preliminary comments. A second meeting was held on August 18, 2014 to provide general findings of the project and gather further comment. Both meetings were held at RTA. The full list of those invited to participate in this committee is listed in Appendix B of this report, while sign-in sheets identifying those who attended the meetings are included in Appendix C.

Coordination with Cleveland City Planning Commission

One of the outgrowths of the stakeholder outreach process on the E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th St. stations project has been an ongoing dialogue and joint planning effort with the City of Cleveland to promote higher levels of development and transit oriented development for the E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th St. station areas. RTA and consultant staff had several meetings with Cleveland City Planning and with Edward Rybka, Director, Department of Building and Housing for the City of Cleveland, and other city economic development officials to discuss ways in which land use plans, zoning and, plans for development of city-owned land in the station areas (focusing on E. 79th St.) could be modified to increase density, improve access to the stations, and encourage increased use of the RTA stations. This dialogue is expected to continue beyond the conclusion of the present study, as the City and RTA continue to develop recommendations for reshaping the station areas.

Station Outreach Efforts

To ensure that information about the project was made available to RTA riders who use the E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th St. stations, consultant and RTA staff spent several hours at two of the stations (E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th Red Line stations) during peak and off-peak travel periods on October 21 to distribute paper copies of the surveys and flyers promoting the November public meetings. More than 100 surveys and flyers were distributed to passengers, and many surveys were completed at the stations and entered into the online survey database by consultant staff.

Public Meetings

A series of three public meetings were held in November 2014 to inform the public of the project and present information on its impetus and findings. These initial meetings were held at the following dates and locations:

  • Heritage View Homes, Kinsman Road, November 1, 2014
  • Cuyahoga Community College Metro Campus, November 5, 2014
  • Mt. Sinai Baptist Church on Woodland Avenue on November 20, 2014.

Appendix D contains sign-in sheets listing the members of the public who attended the three public meetings, while Appendix E contains images of comment cards that were generated by members of the public who attended the meetings. The meetings were promoted through flyers posted on the station platforms and distributed to the City of Cleveland and to the other members of the Stakeholder Committee, as well as notices on the Greater Cleveland RTA website and flyers distributed by consultant and RTA staff on the station platforms on October 21, 2014. Specific comments that were recorded at the three public meetings are included in Appendix F. The public meetings generated news coverage in The Plain Dealer and on Cleveland.com. The Cleveland.com articles generated public comment through the website’s comment feature. The articles and comments are included in Appendix I.

Public Survey

To gather further public input on the way members of the public use the E. 34th-Campus and E. 79th St. stations and opinions about station options, the consultant team, RTA, and the City of Cleveland developed a brief self-selecting survey for distribution in the community. This survey was made available online via the Survey Monkey platform, with links on RTA’s website. The survey url and paper copies of the survey were also made available to the City of Cleveland and the project stakeholders to distribute to their communities, employees, clients, and constituents. The survey url was printed on flyers and other promotional materials for the November public meetings. Consultant and RTA staff distributed copies of the surveys and public meeting flyers at outreach events on October 21, 2014 at the E. 34th-Campus. and E. 79th Red Line stations. The survey was open for responses from mid-October through December 1, 2014. The survey instrument is included in Appendix G, while a report on the survey findings is included in Appendix H.

Summary of Comments

The stakeholder and public outreach efforts, surveys and news articles compiled as a result of this study include hundreds of discrete, transcribed comments. However, most of these comments can be categorized into one of a handful of common comments about the stations and the proposal to close them. The comments articulated by stakeholders were generally echoed by the public who attended the public meetings and the surveys. The exception to the consensus was the comments received on the Cleveland.com comments section, which were markedly different from those who participated in the public involvement process.

The stakeholders who participated in the process were uniformly against closing the stations, and articulated the need for the station for their employees, clients and students. The development corporations serving the station areas pointed out the investments that have been made, and the future development opportunities that are planned, in the station areas. Some stakeholders mentioned the need to maintain the stations to provide important connections to nearby uses. These included Oriana House, the Women’s Pre-Release Center, and Tri-C in the E. 34th-Campus Station area, and Orlando Bakery in the E. 79th Red Line Station area. CSU also stated that their students use the station at E. 34th St. Orlando Bakery noted their company’s expansion in the E. 79th Red Line Station area and need for additional employees. CMHA noted the location of facilities in the area of the E. 79th St. stations and the reconstruction of the Cedar Estates in the area of E. 34th-Campus Station as important reasons to maintain the stations.

A number of stakeholders and members of public mentioned the potential impacts of Opportunity Corridor on the E. 79th St. stations. Many people suggested that new property development that will follow the construction of Opportunity Corridor will benefit the stations. Some suggested that the funding sources for the Opportunity Corridor project might be a logical source of funding for reconstruction of the stations, and that the stations could provide transportation mitigation for the neighborhood during the construction period. Many of these stakeholders provided specific information regarding planned development in the station areas, and the major institutions and employers in the station areas made compelling cases for the importance of the stations to their future development.

Several stakeholders and members of the public noted that RTA should hardly be surprised that the stations are poorly patronized because they are in a poor state of repair, are dirty, and look and feel dark, isolated and dangerous. Some accused RTA of setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy by allowing the stations to deteriorate and then closing them due to low ridership. Some members of the public noted that the stations are not accessible to the disabled and noted that this also suppresses ridership. A number of stakeholders and members of the public reminded RTA of some obvious facts about these stations: that the majority of station area residents (particularly around the E. 79th St. stations) are African American and low-income, and that many of the residents are transit dependent. The potential closing of the stations was perceived by some stakeholders as undercutting the efforts of numerous institutions to rebuild and improve these neighborhoods and improve the lives of their residents. Some stakeholders and members of the public expressed resentment that these stations were being considered for closure while stations in other parts of the city were reconstructed and saw significant ridership gains (specific stations were generally not identified, but the West 65th St. Station is the obvious example). These comments sometimes seemed to imply racial bias on the part of RTA, based on the fact that, in the past, many west side station areas were occupied by white residents, whereas most east side station areas were occupied by African American residents (this notion is now somewhat outdated, since most west side station areas now also have serve significant African American populations). No direct accusation of bias was made by stakeholders, but by members of the public, albeit infrequently.

Most stakeholders had little interest in potential strategies to use bus services to mitigate the impacts of closing the stations. Several ideas for bus improvements to benefit the station areas were proposed by stakeholders and members of the public. Stakeholders and members of the public in the area around E. 34th-Campus Station suggested an extension of the Euclid Avenue “E-Line” Trolley from its present terminus at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center to Cuyahoga Community College or to the E. 34th-Campus Station. Stakeholders and members of the public in the E. 79th St. area suggested two specific bus changes: the reinstatement of Route 12, a radial route that once operated on Woodland Avenue; and improvements to Route 2, the E. 79th St. crosstown route, including extended service span (nights and weekends) and increased service frequency. However, these were proposed as stand-alone improvements to transit service, not as replacements for the stations. Many respondents to the public survey suggested both general improvements (more security, cleaner stations, buses and trains) and specific changes to bus routes and services, many of them unrelated to the stations and service in these neighborhoods.

A few stakeholders mentioned the possibility of “mothballing” one or more of the stations until completion of transit supportive development around the stations (tied to the development of Opportunity Corridor) and/or until funding is identified to complete renovations to the stations.

Survey respondents echoed this sentiment, suggesting that the stations be improved, made safer, and kept cleaner, to increase their use. Survey respondents also used the survey as an opportunity to comment more generally on RTA services, and recommended improvements to RTA service including increased service frequency and longer span of service, as well as improved coordination among RTA services. Those who attended the public meetings were mostly residents of the station areas and users of the stations. Many of them articulated how critical the stations are in meeting their transportation needs and the needs of others who use the stations.

The comments received on the Cleveland.com comments section had a different view. These commenters are anonymous and reside throughout the region and beyond. Many of these commenters focused on the estimated costs of the station renovations, the low ridership they generate and the low population in the station areas. In addition, several commenters on the Cleveland.com site had specific recommendations regarding moving the stations to make them more visible and more convenient for potential users.

The stakeholder and public outreach efforts, surveys and news articles compiled as a result of this study include hundreds of discrete, transcribed comments. However, most of these comments can be categorized into one of a relatively short list of points regarding the stations. Most of these comments were initially articulated by the stakeholders very early in the study, and were later echoed by the public. There were few points made by the public that had not first been articulated by the stakeholders.

The comments made by the stakeholders and members of the public are included in Appendices F through J at the end of the document.

Recommendations

The recommendations for the disposition of the stations were developed through careful examination of the outcome of the alternatives analysis, the cost estimates, and particularly the stakeholder and public involvement and discussion among the consultant team and RTA staff and management.

1. E. 34th-Campus Station: Complete Station Design and Construction

The project recommendation for the E. 34th-Campus Station is to proceed with the design and construction of the station. This is based on the following factors:

  • Future additional ridership potential generated by increased development in the station area, including redevelopment of Cedar Estates housing, development at Tri-C as indicated in the college’s Master Plan, and other new development proposed for the area.
  • The estimated capital cost of the station is moderate, at a cost of less than $7 million, and is included in RTA’s 2015-2019 CIP.
  • Based on both the analysis of existing riders from the on-board transit survey and from input from existing passengers who made comments at the public meetings and via other sources, a significant number of existing passengers would experience significant delay and inconvenience if the station were closed.
  • Stakeholders and members of the public who use the station or live, work, study or use services in the area were uniformly opposed to closing the station.
  • The station serves a number of regional institutions including Tri-C, St. Vincent’s Charity Hospital, and Cleveland State University. Tri-C and Cleveland State are regional educational institutions that provide critical educational opportunities to transit-dependent populations.
  • The station serves as RTA’s east side emergency relief station for instances when Tower City station is out of service. It is the nearest RTA station to Tower City on the East Side, and one of only two east side stations that are served by RTA’s heavy rail (Red Line) and light rail (Blue/Green/Waterfront lines) systems.
  • The proposed bus mitigation designed to serve the station (the extension of the E-Line Trolley to Tri-C) provided virtually no benefit to current riders who use the station, and would not mitigate the impacts of closing the station on current riders.

RTA has funding for the design of the station and is ready to procure design services for the station design. Assuming that the RTA Board of Trustees supports proceeding with the development of the station, the process would proceed according to the following schedule:

  • Award Design Contract: Mid 2015
  • Bidding: Spring 2016
  • Award Construction Contract: Mid 2016
  • Construction Complete:  End of 2017

2. E. 79th Red Line Station: Complete Station Design

The project recommendation for the E. 79th Red Line Station is to proceed with the design of the station. However, because of the higher cost of the renovations required for this station, the lower level of ridership, and the uncertainty of future development in the station area, the alternatives analysis project recommends that RTA’s staff and Board of Trustees consider the achievement of certain planning and development milestones for the station area before moving forward through the development process for the station. This recommendation is based on the following factors:

  • The Opportunity Corridor roadway project, which will pass less than ½ mile south of the station, is likely to spur development in the station area at some point in the future.
  • Current ridership at the station is very low, at only 155 riders per day. However, ridership could increase if redevelopment is transit oriented.
  • The capital cost of development of the station is high, at nearly $12 million, and is currently not included in RTA’s existing capital budget. This significant investment must be supported by a commitment from the City of Cleveland and other entities serving the area to ensure that development in the area is conducive to and encourages public transit use.
  • Based on both the analysis of existing riders from the on-board transit survey and from input from existing passengers who made comments at the public meetings and via other sources, a significant number of existing passengers would experience significant delay and inconvenience if the station were closed.
  • The proposed bus mitigation designed to serve the station (changes to Route 11 to serve Woodland Avenue) provided virtually no benefit to current riders who use the station, and would not mitigate the impacts of closing the station on current riders.
  • Stakeholders and members of the public who use the station or live, work, study or use services in the area were uniformly opposed to closing the station.
  • The City of Cleveland has made strong commitment to supporting station area TOD, including the passage of an urban form overlay district zoning type that could be applied to the area around the E. 79th Red Line Station. The City of Cleveland also is working to identify funding for an E. 79th Stations Area Planning Study, which will define the City and RTA’s desires for development in the station areas and support efforts to attract transit-oriented development.

RTA will continue working with City of Cleveland to evaluate development at each milestone in the development of the station. At this time, funding for design is included in RTA’s 2015-2019 CIP. No funding is currently identified for the construction of the station. The process of developing the station would proceed according to the following schedule:

  • Milestone 1: RTA Board to Award Design Contract:  Late 2015
  • Milestone 2: Work with the City of Cleveland to Identify source of construction funding
  • Milestone 3: RTA Board to Authorize Station Reconstruction Contract: 4/2019
  • Construction Complete: 12/2020 (Deadline for completing renovations of ADA Key Stations)

This analysis comprehensively illustrated the existing conditions. More importantly for the future of the stations, it identified a high level of community support for the stations, among members of the public, public officials, and station area institutions and organizations. The process elicited promises of a high level of future cooperation and collaboration among RTA and community institutions, to encourage development in station areas that is more intensive, dense, and oriented in a way that supports transit ridership. Opportunity Corridor could potentially drive such development near E. 79th Street stations, while the nearby institutions could drive such development around the E. 34th-Campus Station area. RTA is hopeful that this exercise helped stakeholders and the City of Cleveland to recognize the importance of RTA’s Rapid Stations in their neighborhoods, and will encourage them to promote development around the station that supports their continued existence in the RTA network.

RTA Board Outreach, Actions, and Resolutions

RTA staff and the consultant team presented the results and recommendations of the E. 34th/E. 79th Stations Transit Services Alternatives Analysis to the RTA Board of Trustees Planning and Development Committee at their regular monthly meeting on February 3, 2015. The meeting was attended by a number of City of Cleveland officials including City of Cleveland Chief of Development Ed Rybka, who spoke regarding the project and affirmed the partnership between the City of Cleveland and RTA to work together on transit-related projects. The meeting was also attended by a number of stakeholders, including representatives of the Campus District and Burton, Bell, Carr community development corporations; Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center among other organizations. The minutes of that meeting are included on pages 69-82. The discussion resulting from the meeting concluded that a special Planning and Development Committee prior to the regularly scheduled Board of Trustee meeting on February 17 would be scheduled to discuss the report in greater detail including the resolutions of support for further action at the two stations.

On February 17 another Planning and Development Committee was held prior to the Board of Trustees meeting. At that meeting, with many stakeholders again present, the General Manager presided over a discussion with the Board Committee on the E. 34/E. 79th station analysis process and results. He highlighted the report findings and the recommendations that led to the proposed resolutions of support for each station. The Committee discussed the resolutions and forwarded them for action by the full Board of Trustees. A copy of the meeting minutes is attached on pages 83 through 92.

At the February 17 Board of Trustees meeting the Board heard additional comments on the proposed resolutions of support in the agenda package. The Board of Trustees then approved Resolution No. 2015-018, “Demonstrating support of the Board of Trustees to proceed with the design and construction phases for the E. 34th-Campus Rapid Transit Station as recommended in the E. 34th/E. 79th Station Transit Services Alternatives Analysis” and approved Resolution No. 2015-019, “Demonstrating support of the Board of Trustees to proceed with the design phase for the E. 79th Street Red Line Rapid Transit Station as recommended in the E. 34th/E. 79th Station Transit Services Alternatives Analysis.” Copies of the minutes of the meeting and the resolutions are included on pages 93 through 98.

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