Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cleveland City Council Supports Rail Plan

There are plans in the works to bolster our area's economy through commuter rail. One plan is the Cleveland Hub Initiative . On a smaller scale, the West Shore Corridor commuter rail plan is also proposed. This would develop a system that runs from Lorain to Cleveland. All Aboard Ohio(AAO ) is the website to track for all Ohio rail plans. The big news this month is City of Cleveland support for it. Last week, Cleveland City Council passed a resolution asking our Congressional Delegation to support funding for analysis over the next two years. You can read the press release here. I was happy to see my Councilman (and Council President) Martin Sweeney listed as a supporter on this resolution.

The West Shore Corridor was listed as 'potentially feasible' with the possibility of providing local and regional benefits to the economy. This comes from a ten county NEOrail study done in 2001. There are commuters from places like Lorain, Avon, Westlake and Rocky River who would benefit from this commuter rail. There are also a slew of Clevelanders who could accept jobs in the western suburbs if commuter rail existed. One area to continue in this analysis is that of 'Quiet Zones' that have to do with, among other things, noise levels at train crossings. Transit Oriented Development(TOD's) has been really successful in areas with Quiet Zones.

This Rail System would be run with (theoretically) a three car 450 passenger train. The cars are available very inexpensively from other cities already relying on commuter train systems. The kind of RR Tracks needed are pretty much already existing on this corridor. Environmentally, 450 commuters on a train use less fuel than 450 cars (duh!) and they estimate 2.5 acres of Downtown Cleveland parking lots could be put to good use as mixed use development, shops, etc., adding to the vibrancy of Downtown. For a clear analysis, Ken Prendergast, spokesperson for All Aboard Ohio has written a post on Green City Blue Lake.

Enjoy today's music video Runaway Train. :-) Peace Out - 3C