Saturday, August 4, 2007

How would you feel about an 'air rights' cap over the Innerbelt that included housing?

It's hard to weigh in on this idea fully, but there are aspects to it that sound feasible and economically forward thinking. What am I talking about? Well you will have to read an article in the Plain Dealer by Steven Litt. A non profit group called Quadrangle Inc. is suggesting we follow the path taken in places like Boston and making sense out of concrete barrier areas established during the Federal money heyday. Barriers that have cut off neighborhoods from the rest of the world (i.e. highway exit ramps) in cities all over this Country. That part sounds good so far.

I get a bit nervous about two things. Have you ever read about Boston's Big Dig? That was so expensive it made everyone's blood go cold. Secondly, there is money for the Innerbelt Plan (Federal) but no money would exist for the Capping Plan (Federal).

It would be a ten block area that would connect CSU with CCC and St. Vincent's Charity Hospital. It would be called the 'University Circle West.' I can't believe they have a name for it already. It would create 23 acres of housing, retail and parks. Above ground parks like the High Line in NYC?

As usual there is discord not discourse. The peeps and non-profit groups supporting The Innerbelt Plan are saying that this will circumvent the existing plan for the Carnegie exit ramp and that it will delay the project, make it more expensive. Make it more expensive makes sense; the delay part, well, to me a plan should move ahead only when it's absolutely determined that it is the best one.

This quote from Hunter Morrison, a former area planner, is worth repeating because this is for sure what happened all over the Country: (this is right out of the PD article)

"Morrison said city planners in the 1950s intentionally ran the highway between downtown and the Woodland and Central neighborhoods to create a barrier. Capping the freeway in the future would heal an urban scar, he said. "

But, and a big but, they don't know who would fund this project.

You can go to Quadrangle Inc. website and see a map of the District and find a bit more about them. The name quadrangle and it's association for college life is not lost on me. This has not been on my radar before has it been on yours? Let's hope we can find out more about this.

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