A Browns fan rides the Waterfront Line to the game

Cleveland named top big city for car-free visitors

USA Today and its 10best.com Web site have named Cleveland as the top city in the country for visitors who want to go car-free.

The top 10 cities:

  1. Cleveland
  2. Denver
  3. New York
  4. Chicago
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Minneapolis
  7. San Francisco
  8. Las Vegas
  9. Boston
  10. Portland

The story said:

“The rail connects the Cleveland Hopkins Airport to Downtown, and once there, it’s easy to get around on foot…or free trolley. Rail routes and city buses provide transportation to and from Cleveland’s surrounding neighborhoods and inner-ring suburbs.”

“Perhaps they talked to delegates from the Republican National Convention,” said RTA CEO Joe Calabrese. “They saw first-hand how easy it is to use RTA. This award means a lot to us. All these things we have been saying for so many years…now others are agreeing with us. A great transit system is key for a great tourist city. Our goal is to keep it going, and get better every day.”

The story also listed the top reasons to visit Cleveland.

  1. Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame and live music venues
  2. Playhouse Square, the largest theater district outside of New York City
  3. “Beautiful beaches rank among the best parts of a Cleveland summer”
  4. The Metroparks, Botanical Gardens, Holden Arboretum, and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  5. Sports champions and the Pro Football Hall of Fame
  6. Unique architecture
  7. The food, the beer, the wine, Little Italy, West Side Market, breweries and 50 wineries
  8. Fun Festivals
  9. Diverse visual arts, Cleveland Museum of Art, University Circle
  10. Cinema history: A Christmas Story, Captain America, Spiderman, and other movies were filmed here.

Sports, special events fill October calendar

RTA serves a variety of special events in October. There’s something for everyone.

For each event, park free at a Rapid Station, buy a round-trip ticket or All-Day Pass, and ride the Rapid into the Tower City Station. Here are the highlights.

TRIBE: The post-season playoffs are back at Progressive Field. An exciting season of baseball is being extended. Go Tribe!

CAVALIERS: After bringing home an NBA championship last spring, fans can’t wait for the encore. Pre-season games are set for Oct. 5, 8 and 13, with regular season games on Oct. 25 and 29 at Quicken Loans Arena.

MONSTERS: They skated to a Calder Cup victory last season. A new season starts with four games at Quicken Loans Arena – Oct. 14-15 and Oct. 27-28.

BROWNS: Catch the tackles and turnovers Oct. 9 and 30 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Ride the Waterfront Line to the West Third Street Station for a 1 p.m. game, or ride it to the South Harbor Station at 10 a.m. for RTA’s tailgate party.

CIRCUS: Ringling Brothers comes to town for 7 performances Oct. 20-23.

MUSIC: Amy Schumer comes in Oct. 6, to liven up Quicken Loans Arena.

 FLATS EAST BANK: Maize – a fall festival with family entertainment -- runs during these hours.

  • 4-11 p.m. on Oct. 21.
  • Noon-11 p.m. on Oct. 22.
  • Noon-8 p.m. on Oct. 23.

Ride the Waterfront Line to the Flats East Bank Station.

Hey sports fans, think Blue Line

Now that the last eastbound Green Line train leaves Tower City at 9 p.m. daily, East Side sports fans should consider switching to the Blue Line when attending evening baseball games and events at Quicken Loans Arena.

This includes most Cavaliers and Monsters games.

Public hearings on the reduced hours were held last spring. The move took effect on Sept. 11. Past ridership figures show that Blue Lines trains can absorb evening Green Line usage.

The City of Shaker Heights allows Rapid riders to park in the large city-owned parking lot on the northwest corner of Van Aken Blvd. and Farnsleigh Road, except in reserved spaces. Most Blue Line stations have customer parking. Collectively, these stations have enough parking spaces for customers who wish to ride the Blue Line to evening events.

If there is an evening event, RTA guarantees service for 60 minutes after the event ends. If there is no event, the last eastbound Blue Line trainm leaves Tower City at 12:15 a.m.

Rail shutdowns planned

These rail shutdowns allow RTA time for needed maintenance and upgrade of rail infrastructure. The 66R bus replaces Red Line trains, and the 67R bus replaces Blue Line and Green Line trains.

  • Oct. 1-2, Buses replace Red Line, Blue Line and Green Line trains east of Tower City.
  • Oct. 15-16 and Oct. 22-23, Buses replace Blue Line and Green Lines trains east of Tower City.
  • Oct. 29, Because of a safety drill, buses replace Red Line trains between the Airport and Puritas until 11 a.m.
  • Nov. 12-13, Buses replace Blue Line and Green Line trains east of Tower City.

Work out while you wait at the bus stop

Using public transit has always been a healthy activity. Now, waiting for the bus can be healthy, too.

RTA has launched a new program – Bus Stop Moves – at 18 of its bus shelters. Whether you have 5 minutes or 20 minutes until the next RTA bus, you can make a positive impact on your health.

"We want our customers and employees to be as healthy as possible," said Joe Calabrese, RTA CEO/General Manager. "Time management has always been a critical factor. By using this program, you will always have time for exercise."

The program was developed by architect and artist Allison Lukacsy.

"The program began in fall 2015 in North Collinwood, in response to a community survey indicating residents felt the neighborhoods’ options for exercising could be improved," she said. "We live in a time when sedentary lifestyles are the norm and diseases related to lack of healthy movements are on the rise. Public transit riders have the advantage of fitting in more cardio than non-riders, by walking to and from bus stops daily. Why not compliment that with strengthening and stretching moves and other healthy lifestyle tips recommended by health professionals?"

"The moves are meant for anyone of reasonable mobility to do in street clothes, on your way to work or school. Some moves can be performed sitting down, and all can be modified. Each shelter contains a panel called 'Take It to The Streets', where it lists the number of steps to a more traditional place of recreation, like a Metropark or a dance studio. This is a great way to connect people to the neighborhood, whether or not you plan to get on a bus at all - which is where active living and healthy eating comes into play."

Nominations open for General Manager's customer service award

The annual General Manager’s Customer Service Award recognizes employees or employee groups for exceptional customer service. All RTA employees are eligible for the award. An employee group could be a task force, team, or any combination of employees who work together on a project.

Now is the time to nominate an employee or group of employees. Jan. 13, 2017, is the deadline for you to complete the nomination form and submit it to the General Manager. He will review all nominations and select the final recipients.

Employees can be nominated for:

  • Solving an extraordinary problem.
  • Achieving or exceeding a significantly difficult goal that serves internal and/or external customers.
  • Successful implementation of an innovative customer service idea or concept where the result is identifiable and measurable.
  • An outstanding act of customer service that brings positive recognition to RTA or results in a delighted customer.

RTA salutes 9 employers who won Commuter Choice awards

RTA salutes nine employers for doing exceptional work in providing environmentally friendly ways for their employees to commute to work.

These employers are winners of the Commuter Choice awards, a contest sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, (NOACA), and strongly supported by RTA. Seven of the nine winners are clients in RTA’s Commuter Advantage program, where employees use pre-tax dollars to purchase monthly transit passes via payroll deduction.

Your vote counts: To vote on Nov. 8, register by Oct. 11

If you plan to vote in the all-important Nov. 8 election, here are some points to remember.

  • Oct. 11 is the deadline to register to vote.
  • In October, registered voters will receive a Vote by Mail ballot application from the Secretary of State. The forms are also available at 216-443-VOTE.
  • Early in-person voting for Cuyahoga County residents begins Oct. 12 at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, 2925 Euclid Ave. The site is served 24/7 by the HealthLine.

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