Rider's Digest -- March 2015

GM message: Vision Statement full of great goals

Last year, as  RTA  employees were engaged to develop our new Strategic Plan, an area of focus was our Vision? What kind of transit agency do we aspire to?

The answer was clear – we want to be:

  • The transportation mode of choice for residents and visitors to Cuyahoga County.
  • An industry leader that is well-run and has a first-class image.
  • An employer of choice. You can't be a first-class organization without first-class people.
  • A champion for sustainability, allowing us to conserve resources and finances for the betterment of our region, our planet and for our employees.

We employee more than 2,300 individuals. We will strive to attract and maintain a healthy, diverse workforce of those who seek a career and not just a job.

We will promote sustainability and conserve resources for our agency, our region and our world. Financially, we will maintain a realistic operating budget, with reasonable reserves, control our expenses and keep our assets and infrastructure in a state of good repair. We will deliver quality projects on time and on budget – just like we did with the $200 million HealthLine.

We will upgrade our technology systems to provide you with state-of-the-art efficiencies. As we continually improve the quality of our service, we will gain an increasing impact and increase our regional influence.

Yes, those are lofty goals, but we believe we can attain all of them. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

March 18-29: Ride RTA to Cleveland International Film Festival

The Cleveland International Film Festival returns for its 39th annual event on March 18-29.

All Rapid lines provide direct service to Tower City, so you never have to go outside to see the films of your choice. Ride RTA’s Rapid Transit directly to the Film Festival at the Tower City Cinemas.

Rapid lines operate seven days a week until around midnight. Riding the Rapid is the also best way to avoid the construction work on Public Square. Work began March 9 and may continue until June 2016.

The Tower City Cinemas are also served by:
• The HealthLine, which operates 24/7 on Euclid Avenue.
All free trolleys – B-Line and E-Line weekdays, C-Line evenings and weekends, and L-Line on weekends.

In honor of being part of The Cleveland Foundation's Centennial Celebration, the Film Festival will offer a free screening on Monday, March 23. Details will be announced.

More than 475 films will be shown. The event attracted more than 97,000 persons last year, and generates more than $3.1 million of economic impact each year.

March Madness: Q hosts MAC tourney & NCAA Midwest play

RTA is your best seat for every event at Quicken Loans Arena. This month, those events include 5 Lake Erie Monsters games, 5 Cavaliers games, 10 college basketball games, a March 1 Disney show for preschoolers, and a March 5 concert with pop star Ariana Grande.

To get to the Q, park for free at any Rapid Station, buy an All-Day Pass, and ride the Red, Blue or Green line Rapid train to the Tower City Station. From there, you can stroll down the Walkway, right into your seat. The Walkway opens two hours before every event, and you never have to go outside.

OR, you can board the HealthLine at any westbound station along Euclid Avenue, exit at on Public Square at Tower City, and head for the Walkway. The Walkway remains open for 90 minutes after an event ends.

From March 11-14, Quicken Loans Arena hosts the annual Mid-American Conference (MAC) event. Games are set for noon and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, March 11-14, with the finals at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 14.

On Thursday, March 26, and Saturday, March 28, Cleveland State University and the MAC host the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball, with specific game times to be announced.

March 17: Wear green, have fun & ride RTA

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day -- RTA’s busiest ridership day of the year. RTA will operate extra rail service to handle the crowds. Bring exact change and be prepared to pay $5 for an All-Day Pass for adults. It’s good until 3 a.m. the next day. Here more are tips to help you enjoy the day.

  • Plan ahead. Buses will be detoured off the parade route to nearby streets. Normal operations will resume as soon as possible after the parade. Automated service on the RTAnswerline, 216-621-9500, is available 24/7. You can also use the trip planner at rideRTA.com
  • Leave home early, and allow plenty of time for your trip. Last year, the parade began at 1 p.m. on Superior Avenue at East 18th Street, and continued to Public Square -- a one-mile route.
  • Public Square is fenced off for construction, so walk on the perimeter sidewalks.
  • Follow directions. Transit Police and RTA staff work that day to provide you with a safe, enjoyable trip. Transit Police will enforce regulations with uniformed and plainclothes officers. Your cooperation is appreciated.
  • Ride the Rapid. RTA will offer enhanced rail service all day. RTA offers more than 7,000 free parking places, but do not try to “squeeze in” if a lot is full. Look for an alternative station. Obey all signs. Transit Police will ticket and tow cars that block normal operations.
  • Listen to the radio. RTA will keep traffic reporters up-to-date as to which Rapid Station parking lots are full, and which ones still offer space. On your mobile devices, follow RTA on Twitter @GCRTA and Facebook.com/rideRTA, and through Commuter Alerts.
  • Visit RTA’s Web page. Keep track of tips and available parking.
  • Dispose of open beverage containers before coming to RTA.
  • Need help? Look for a Transit Police officer or an RTA staff person.
  • Bicycles are not allowed on trains that carry full loads.
  • For security reasons, the City of Cleveland does not permit backpacks along the parade route, so leave yours home.

APPLAUSE: Transit Police salute 8 officers

Five detectives and 3 patrol officers have been selected to receive the Transit Police Exemplary Performance Award for their success in the speedy apprehension of the suspects in the Nov. 30, 2014, assault on a RTA bus operator.

The team includes: Detectives Patrick Corrigan, William Lowe, Eric Richards, Clay Saylor and Joseph Vrsansky, and Patrol Officers Gary Bolton, Ronald Campbell and Jared Shelley.

Within a 12-hour period, the team reviewed a video, conducted a comprehensive neighborhood investigation, interviewed school personnel and security guards, retrieved a video from a nearby store, identified suspects, and made four arrests.

The assault and quick police work attracted widespread media attention.

In saluting the officers, Chief John Joyce noted, “Their efforts represent the high standards we have come to expect from our Transit Police.” 

Public Square update: Closure means your commute may change

Public Square is scheduled to close March 9, for construction of a major re-design, with a goal of having it re-open before the Republican National Convention comes to Cleveland in July 2016. This means that:

  • 10 bus stops will removed from Public Square and re-located elsewhere.
  • Pedestrians must use sidewalks on the perimeter streets.
  • The interior streets of Superior Avenue and Ontario Street are closed to traffic.
  • All vehicles must use the perimeter streets of Rockwell Avenue, West Roadway, Euclid Avenue and East Roadway.

How will this affect me?

  • Allow extra time for your commute, especially in the early days of the project, when winter weather could be a factor. In warmer weather, other road projects downtown could also affect your commute time.
  • Be extra alert. Read the signage and Service Alert postings on your bus and in your bus shelter. Some things may change from time to time during the project. Be aware of your surroundings.

Headed for the Q? No problem

If you use public transit to get to an event at Quicken Loans Arena, your trip will be hassle-free. Just ride any Rapid line into the Tower City Station, and stroll down the Walkway to reach your seat. OR, board the HealthLine at any westbound station and ride to Public Square. You can walk south on Ontario Street to Prospect Avenue, or can enter Tower City and use the Walkway.

If you drive to an event at the Q, allow extra travel time. Plan to arrive early.

Where can I get more information?

  • Go to www.rideRTA.com. There will be info on the home page directing you to details inside about Service Alerts, new bus shelter locations and new bus routing.
  • Call 216-621-9500. The RTAnswerline is staffed from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday.
  • If you ride the Rapid into the Tower City Station, stop at the Customer Service desk in the Rotunda.

For your safety:Tips for surviving severe weather

From the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management

Since 2012, Clevelanders have experienced a deadly hurricane, a tornado, Arctic cold, flooding, and heat emergencies.

Federal, State and local officials encourage you to prepare for weather emergencies. Take these simple steps now, so you and your family can make it through a severe weather event.

  1. Keep informed. Learn as much as you can about how to respond to severe weather.
  2. Purchase a NOAA weather radio with a tone alarm that can alert you when severe weather warnings are issued.
  3. Put together a disaster supply kit, with non-perishable food, water, extra flashlights and batteries, first aid supplies, duct tape, blankets, plastic sheeting or bags, and a battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
  4. Make plans for communicating with family members, as you might not be together when a disaster strikes. Have a plan for where you will go if you have to evacuate your home or neighborhood.
  5. Learn how to protect yourself from deadly weather. Visit the Web sites listed below.