The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA
) has broken ground on an $18.5 million redevelopment of its Cedar-University rapid station
that will make it safer, easier to navigate, more efficient and more inviting. RTA officials hope it will become a stronger hub for the growing University Circle area and its surrounding neighborhoods.
"It will look a heck of a lot better," says Mary Shaffer, Media Relations Manager with RTA, of the project's impact. "It is safe and functioning now, but there will be a greater sense of security. We want to help people in the community to be able to recommend RTA."
The current Cedar-University rapid station was built nearly 50 years ago. The facility's layout requires a long walk to transfer between bus and rail, and greater efficiency and easier connections will offer a huge improvement, Shaffer says.
"We'll have bus and rail on the same side of the street, and that will make it a lot easier for transfers," says Shaffer. "Behind Tower City and Windermere/Stokes, this is the largest bus-rail transfer station that we have in the RTA network."
The glassy new station will also be more attractive and welcoming. "When you have things like MOCA coming into the area, having a state-of-the-art rail/bus station in the heart of the University Circle area is really a positive thing."
RTA won a $10.5 million competitive TIGER II grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to be able to complete the project. The agency also contributed $4 million from its own capital budget and raised money from other local sources.
The station is actually the first of two newly revamped stations in the University Circle area. The University Circle-Little Italy station is next to be redeveloped, and that project was recently funded by a federal transportation grant, as well.
The Cedar-University station will incorporate additional green space and public art. RTA will also increase the frequency of its train service to serve local riders.
Shaffer says that RTA is now seeing the 17th straight month of growth in overall ridership. The Red Line leads the pack. She says this is attributable to higher gas prices and new development in Cleveland that is making it harder to find parking.
"This is most likely attributable to people who are making the decision to ride," says Shaffer. "They want to avoid the Innerbelt or see a lack of parking in University Circle or by the Clinic. We're glad to be a solution for them."
Source: Mary Shaffer
Writer: Lee Chilcote