Downtown Group Pushes Revival of RTA Rail Loop Plan

A downtown Cleveland group is trying to revive the idea of creating a rail loop by extending the Waterfront Line southward to connect with the Red Line.

The business oriented group Campus District recently wrote to Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority CEO India Birdsong endorsing the idea and trying to get the transit agency to revive it.

The idea is not new. A planning document issued in 2000 described such as extension that would run along East 17th Street between Playhouse Square and the Cleveland State University campus and pass through the downtown Cuyahoga Community College campus before connecting with the Red Line at East 34th Street.

Campus District is seeking to portray the loop as a throwback to the streetcar era that ended in downtown Cleveland in 1954.

The proposed downtown loop also has been endorsed by All Aboard Ohio, a rail passenger advocacy group that also supports public transit.

Campus District Executive Director Mark Lammon said the current RTA rail system needs better access to downtown.

 “It’s not a circle,” he said. “We lack some downtown stations and it goes right through our neighborhood.”

An RTA official indicated the agency is not opposed to the idea but views other needs as having a high priority.

These include a large scale and expensive plan to replace the system’s existing rail cars.

Lammon acknowledges that much has changed in the 20 years since the downtown loop rail line was proposed.

But he believes that although some of the same metrics of the 2000 study are valid today, “what you’re plugging into the study would be radically different from what was in 2000.”

He noted that there are more residents and apartment buildings downtown than there were two decades ago. Some downtown warehouses are now being transformed into apartments and office space.

Lammon also pointed to the success of RTA’s bus rapid transit Health Line on Euclid Avenue as showing that huge investments follow transit upgrades.

RTA has estimated that the Health Line, which cost $110 million to develop, led to $9.5 billion in economic development along Euclid Avenue.

 “This could be something that changes the look and feel of our neighborhood and all of downtown in a lifetime,” Lammon said.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: