May 22--The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is continuing along with the Red Line/Healthline Extension Study, which could potentially extend services into Euclid and Lake County.
At the third round of public meetings, AECOM Technical Services, the planning company that is working on the study, presented the latest information and analysis into the remaining alternatives, from an extension of the Red Line to new HealthLine routes through East Cleveland, Euclid and the Cleveland neighborhood of Collinwood.
As of the last public meeting, the study was considering four alternatives out of nine, labeled B, D, E and G, each with varying routes, stops and types of transit.
Now the study has narrowed the alternatives to three.
Alternative D, which potentially had stops on Hayden Avenue, St. Clair Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard, was eliminated because it did not fit with the scope of the project -- to connect more riders and serve the Euclid Corridor.
The three remaining alternatives have been altered to include more stops, and two options for type of transit.
The study is considering heavy rail rapid transit (Red Line rapid trains), bus rapid transit (HealthLine bus), Rapid+ (light rail/street car), diesel multiple unit (bus/train that can be operated on freight rail lines), and buses as the possible types of transit.
These alternatives include:
Alternative B: Heavy Rail Transit or Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) that would run about 6.5 miles parallel between Euclid Avenue and state Route 2. The service will begin at Babbitt Road and continue into Tower City.
Alternative E: Rapid+ or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) with stops on Euclid Avenue, East 152nd Street, Lake Shore Boulevard ending at East 260th Street for a total route of 8.8 miles.
This also is considering BRT or BRT Lite for a possible extension to Shoregate Shopping Center in Willowick for a total route of 10.5 miles.
Alternative G: Rapid+ or BRT with stops on Euclid Avenue, St. Clair Avenue, East 185th Street, Lake Shore Boulevard ending at East 260th for a total route of 8.7 miles.
This is also considering BRT or BRT Lite for a possible extension to Shoregate Shopping Center for a total route of 10.4 miles.
AECOM's Derek Crider, who is deputy project manager on this study, said the extensive study has been following a Federal Transit Administrative process to take an in-depth look into several factors including financial viability and project justification, which includes cost effectiveness, mobility improvement, economic development and land use.
These alternatives come at a hefty cost, with heavy rail at an estimated $37.7 million annually, while the Rapid+, DMU and BRT options range from between $17 million and $53 million annually.
Crider said the alternatives could also make the standing bus routes more efficient, reach more riders and spark redevelopment and new development in the neighborhoods.
With all factors combined, it was determined that the DMU was not cost effective for Alternative B, and Rapid+ in both Alternatives E and G might not be effective either.
The next steps in the study will create a business case and compare the alternatives to a no build and minimum build options.
Jonathan Holody, director of planning and development for Euclid, said this could be a great boost for the city.
"I like the potential for East 185th Street. I'm really glad the RTA and AECOM are taking a closer look at that street," he said. "It's great that most of the alternatives consider Lake Shore Boulevard which is great for the city as well."
Kenneth Prendergast, executive director of All Aboard Ohio, a nonprofit advocacy group that promotes public transportation throughout Ohio, said he thinks the Red Line could be a good option, but costly.
"I would like to see a hybrid of the alternatives, because I like the idea of the BRT going north into Shoregate ... and an interim extension of the Red Line to Ivanho Road," he said.
The cost is a concern for Edward Klimas of Lyndhurst, but he likes the idea of Alternative G.
"I think some of these cost alternatives are breathtaking, and that is not a positive comment, especially in this economic scenario," he said.
It is expected that more public meetings will be planned for fall.
To learn more about the study and provide feedback, visit redlinehealthlinestudy.com or call 216-282-6113.
Copyright 2014 - The News-Herald, Willoughby, Ohio