Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Cleveland City Council passes West Shore Corridor resolution

North-east Ohio is one step closer to seeing commuter rail on the west side of Cleveland and the western suburbs thanks to All Aboard Ohio.


Feb. 7, 2007 (216) 288-4883 or (216) 986-6064

Cleveland City Council passes West Shore Corridor resolution

CLEVELAND -- At its regular meeting Monday, City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Ohio Congressional Delegation to provide $1.5 million in each of the next two federal fiscal years for an alternatives analysis of potential transportation improvements in the West Shore Corridor.

If the funding is provided, a variety of transportation improvements between downtown Cleveland, the West Shore suburbs, downtown Lorain and possibly beyond will be weighed to determine their costs and benefits. Potential impacts on economic development, access to jobs, plus natural and built environments will be measured. A public involvement process will be an essential part of the analysis.

Transportation improvements could include adding commuter rail, expanding express bus service, restructuring existing bus routes, providing more hiking/biking paths and enhancing the existing roadway system. Sub-elements could feature transit-oriented development around stations, better transit waiting environments, adding quiet zones to the existing Norfolk Southern rail line and more.

Once the options for improving transportation in the West Shore Corridor are analyzed, a preferred alternative may be selected by the region's stakeholders and funding may be sought to implement it.

All Aboard Ohio, a statewide nonprofit association, thanked City Council for passing the resolution. Special recognition goes to Ward 15 Councilman Kevin Kelley, chair of the Aviation & Transportation Committee, for introducing the resolution. Additional recognition goes to council members who joined Councilman Kelley in sponsoring the resolution -- Anthony Brancatelli, Patricia Britt, Joe Cimperman, Roosevelt Coats, Kevin Conwell, Brian Cummins, Martin Sweeney and Matthew Zone.

"I gratefully appreciate council's passage of this important resolution," said Ken Prendergast, All Aboard Ohio's director of research and communications. "It sends a clear message to Congress that maintaining access to jobs in the West Shore Corridor is of paramount concern to City Council. Whatever transportation improvements result from this analysis should seek to enhance Downtown Cleveland's prominence as the region's main employment center."

"The region needs to be vibrant and connected," said Councilman Kelley, who favors commuter rail. "These goals would be served by regional commuter rail. While I would like everyone in the region to live in the city of Cleveland, it's very important that people at least work in the city of Cleveland."

"What the resolution is calling for is a better stewardship of precious resources," added Councilman Cimperman, whose ward includes downtown Cleveland. He also chairs council's Planning Committee. "Whether it's laying less asphalt or connecting more people to our venues, to me this is about the future."

"We need to be creating alternative methods of transportation that won't be increasing our carbon emissions," said Councilman Zone, chair of council's Public Utilities Committee. "Adding commuter rail is a win-win situation. It will help Cleveland be a more desirable place to live."

The use of federal planning funds for the West Shore Corridor was authorized by the most recent federal surface transportation law, passed in 2005. Then-Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-Lorain) worked to ensure the authorization was included in the surface transportation law.