February 10th, 2017

Why is the Plain Dealer handling Mayor Frank Jackson with velvet gloves?

The mayor’s absurd stance on Public Square—that terrorism is a reason for keeping Superior Avenue closed, putting public transit in a hammerlock—is laughable.

Where’s the cartoon for this sham?

Jackson’s is a stubborn position without merit. It’s absurd and someone should say so.

He needs a public spanking.

Jackson’s ridiculousness brings back memories of Mayor Ralph Perk who wanted a national convention here and to dodge the lack of hotel rooms wanted a boat docked on Lake Erie to accommodate visitors. That too was laughable.

The new report on transit use of Public Square says a closed Superior means the loss to RTA is $805,000 a year. And costly lost time for customers.

Maybe the behind-the-scenes people at the Greater Cleveland Partnership should be asked to explain why they don’t want buses on Public Square.

It has been apparently easy for the GCP, its corporate sponsors and any mayor to arm twist RTA since the transit outfit serves primarily people who need to get around without their BMWs or other fancy cars.

They’re easy to push around.

RTA has been extorted before. RTA financed $13 million for the walkway from Tower City to the Q and Progressive field. Why should transit money be used for the convenience of the teams, without reimbursement?

Further, when the corporate people wanted to build the nearly useless Waterfront Line, they wanted it now! Pronto! So RTA was forced to finance the $69 million money-losing rapid line from its own budget resources. RTA could have received federal funding for most of the project. However, that would mean environmental studies and therefore delays. So RTA got pushed into financing the whole thing to meet the opening of the Rock Hall.

The Public Square debacle is the same old story. Force RTA to pick up the extra costs. Inconvenience riders? So what?
I don’t believe the mayor and the corporate gang ever intended to reopen Superior Avenue. But it delayed any public battle.

This was another rush job. The Republicans were coming for the convention.

So any possible political dispute had to be pushed off.

Mayor Jackson has been the most convenient of mayors with the business establishment.

It’s been, “Yes, sirs” at every turn.

Maybe even more important is the $12 million debt to the Federal Transit Authority for breaking the agreement that brought federal funds for the Euclid Avenue Health Line, which included promises for transit use of Public Square.
Is RTA to be forced to pay that ransom, too?

Here are some other “inconveniences” RTA will endure, according to a study of the situation:

—Closing Superior Avenue to GCRTA usage has increased the operational risk to GCRTA operations, pedestrians and motor vehicles at 15 pedestrian crossings and five intersections around the perimeter roadway.

—Closing Superior Avenue to GCRTA usage has created choke points along the West Roadway to the Ontario Street intersection resulting in increased safety and security risks.

—Opening Superior Avenue to GCRTA usage will reduce the operational risk to GCRTA operations, pedestrians and motor vehicles around the perimeter roadway. The listed pedestrian crossing safety mitigations for the Superior Avenue center block pedestrian crossing should be implemented.

—Security and terrorism vulnerabilities exist whether Superior Avenue is open or closed. The recommended mitigations for both the day to day criminal activity and terrorism threats need to be evaluated and implemented as needed between GCRTA, Transit Police, the City of Cleveland Police, TSA, and DHS.

Maybe Mayor Jackson should be concentrating on the “terrorism” school kids are undergoing here getting to school daily. And answering the question, where is his police force? Guarding Public Square, Progressive Field, Quicken Arena and First Energy Stadium. And downtown generally, of course.

By Roldo Bartimole…


  1. This ought to get heads spinning downtown and at city hall.

    The feds say they could demand a whole lot more from RTA.

    Here’s how RTA put it:

    The FTA explained that the $12 million was a fraction of the actual debt. Based on Section 19 of the Full Funding Grant Agreement, any breach of the original agreement could result in a debt equal to all the Federal Funds for the entire Euclid Corridor Transportation Project, which is $142.8 million.

    You got $100 million plus Frank that you might lend to Joe.

    This silliness has to stop.

    Roldo Bartimole

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