CLEVELAND – Officials of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) cut a ribbon at 6:30 p.m. today to open the new $15.6 million Little Italy-University Circle Station on Mayfield Road at East 119th Street.
The opening comes just in time for the 100,000 persons expected to attend the annual Feast of the Assumption Festival in the historic Little Italy neighborhood on Aug. 13-17, 2015.
Officials praise station
“We’re pleased to be able to open the station in time for this major event,” says RTA CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese. “The Feast is one of the major events not just in Little Italy, but in all of Northeast Ohio. We are delighted to have the station open in time for the celebration.”
“The impact of this new rail station on the festival will be large, positive and immediate. Located in the heart of Little Italy, the station should help alleviate a long-term major parking issue, and attract even more people to this great annual event,” Calabrese said.
Although there is no designated parking at the station, it is an easy walk to residential areas, merchants and restaurants located in this great neighborhood. A growing housing market is nearby for professionals who live in University Circle, as well as the flourishing Uptown development, which stretches along Euclid Avenue, between Mayfield Road and East 117th Street. The New York Times has called it “the new downtown” for its world-class array of cultural and culinary destinations.
Talk of a new station began in 2008, when local institutions helped with a study on transit-oriented development in the area. Included were:
- the Cleveland Foundation.
- the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA).
- Little Italy.
- University Hospitals.
- the Cleveland Clinic.
- Case Western Reserve University.
- University Circle Inc.
“The opening of the Little Italy-University Circle Red Line Station is incredibly exciting for University Circle. A connector between University Circle, Little Italy, Downtown and the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, this new station will improve transit access to our neighborhood and is an important step towards building University Circle as a complete neighborhood,” said Chris Ronayne, President, University Circle Inc.
“The Federal Transit Administration is proud to partner with the RTA to bring a new transit station to this vibrant neighborhood,” said Therese McMillan, Acting Administrator for the FTA, which contributed $12.5 million in federal funding for the project.
“In Cleveland and across America, investments like this one are helping to revitalize neighborhoods, spur new development and offer residents an attractive and convenient travel option for getting to work, school and other important destinations,” she said.
The station includes:
- A single platform headhouse and entrance plaza that are ADA accessible.
- A heavy-duty elevator and stairway from the street level to the platform and waiting areas.
- New concrete sidewalks, landscaping, lighting and bridge abutment repairs.
- Rehabilitation of two transit track bridges.
- Reuse of an old vault under the railroad bridges as the lobby area. The vault was built in the 1920s as a potential commuter rail station by the Van Sweringen brothers, who built the Terminal Tower and the Shaker Rapid.
- Artistic lighting of the bridges leading to the station.
- Installation of a terrazzo flooring with a leaf pattern design by local artist Susie Frazier.
- Chandelier sculpture elements in the headhouse designed by artist Jennifer Cecere.
- Italian poetry engraved into the lobby steps by artist Gabriella Mileti.
Construction began in October 2013. The station was designed by City Architecture. The construction contractor was McTech Corporation. For project background, go here. Customers seeking station information, go here.
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Linda Scardilli Krecic
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What's in a name?
The official name of this facility is the Little Italy - University Circle Station. That is the name RTA customers will find on all timetables and official signage. Unofficially, it is often referred to as the Little Italy Station, or the Mayfield Road Station, but using those names do not help RTA customers seeking information in print, or on the Web. Reporters writing about this station are asked to use the official name at least once in their story.