Posts Tagged ‘Greater Cleveland RTA’

Cleveland RTA Wins APTA Safety Award

June 14, 2017

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority was among the safety winners recently honored by the American Public Transportation Association.

The awards for the annual Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards were presented this week at a convention in Baltimore.

Cleveland RTA received a certificate of merit for safety in the heavy-rail category. RTA was honored for implementing an emergency pantograph-lowering system designed to keep the train operator out of unnecessary danger.

Other winners included the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro Transit in Minnesota, the Maryland Transit Administration, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

“These are the professionals who make us proud to be members of the public transportation family,” said APTA Chair Doran J. Barnes in a statement. “Keeping our riders, employees, and communities safe is the most important thing we do every day. Their accomplishments are what make a safe rail public transit industry even safer.”

RTA Breaks Ground on New Campus Station

June 3, 2017

An artist drawing of the new RTA Campus station.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held this week for a new Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority station near 34th Street in downtown Cleveland to serve the metro campus of Cuyahoga Community  College.

Known as Campus Station, the facility will serve trains of the Red, Green and Blue rail lines, as well as three bus routes. It will be built at the site of the existing Campus station, which opened for light-rail service in 1930.

Panzica Construction Company was awarded a $6 million contract to build the station, which is expected to open in late 2018. Federal funding will cover 80 percent of the $7.5 million project.

RTA said in a news release that the station will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, instead of escalators and elevators, the facility will feature an extended ramp design.

Trump Budget Would Hit Ohio Public Transit

March 20, 2017

The proposed fiscal year 2018 budget submitted to Congress by the Trump administration would put funding-starved public transportation in Ohio in even more dire straits.

“We’re barely hanging on. It’s just going to make the existing problems even worse,” said Kirt Conrad, president of the Ohio Public Transit Association and CEO of the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority.

President Donald J. Trump wants to cut the U.S. Department of Transportation budget by $2.4 billion, which is 13 percent.

Much of the adverse effect on public transportation could come from cuts to grant programs that benefit public transit systems.

The New Starts program, which was authorized to fund $2.3 billion in new rail or bus-rapid transit lines or to expand existing lines through 2020, was used by Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s HealthLine on Euclid Avenue.

“It [budget cuts] really potentially cuts future transit expansions in the country in general. It’s not just Ohio; in the whole country, public transit is at risk,” Conrad said. “In Ohio, without the federal support, I do not see those expansions.”

Also slated to be cut is the TIGER grant proram, which has also been used to fund transit in Ohio.

TIGER grants have funded rehabilitation of RTA stations, including the Little Italy-University Circle station and the University-Cedar station.

Two TIGER grants awarded in 2016 funded bicycle infrastructure in Cleveland and Akron.

Ohio transportation officials say the state’s transit systems rely on federal funding because Ohio limits the use of gas tax revenue to road projects.

Further squeezing public transit systems is a coming loss of revenue from a Medicaid MCO sale tax, which had been used for transit funding.

Starting in 2019, public transit systems in Ohio will lose $34 annually from that revenue source.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has proposed increasing state funding for public transportation by $10 million to make up part of the slack being left by the loss of the Medicaid MCO sales tax.

“Access to public transit is just getting worse, not better, in Ohio,” Conrad said.

Although the impact of the proposed Trump budget on highway construction and maintenance funding has yet to come into clear focus, transportation officials say that the loss of TIGER grants will have an adverse effect by removing another source of federal funding.

A $125 million TIGER grant helped pay, for example, for the new eastbound span of the George V. Voinovich (Innerbelt Bridge).

The Trump budget would also shift responsibility for air traffic control from the Federal Aviation administration to an independent, non-governmental organization.

Cleveland RTA Official Gets National Honor

March 20, 2017

A Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority official has been named the winner of the 2017 Women Who Move the Nation Award.

Loretta Kirk

Loretta Kirk received the honor from the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.

Kirk is a 37-year COMTO member who was a member of its national board of directors for 16 years and was chair between 2006-2010. She has held numerous COMTO posts at the national and local levels.

“RTA is proud to congratulate Loretta for her dedication to managing the financial resources of our organization,” said CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese in a statement. “She also works diligently to advance the concerns for Small Businesses and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and oversees critical functions of our organization that help move us forward. She is a worthy recipient of this award.”

 

RTA to Dedicate Rebuilt Rail Station

November 22, 2016

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority will hold a ceremony today to celebrate the completion of the rebuilding of its Warrensville Road Green Line light rail station.

Cleveland RTAThe $1.8 million project involved removal of the existing structure and replacing it with ADA-compliant boarding platforms.

The work was performed by Schirmer Construction Company and the station is located in Shaker Heights.

In an unrelated development, RTA and the City of Cleveland said last week that RTA buses will not return to using Public Square in downtown Cleveland.

The square was rebuilt earlier this year and the city closed Superior Avenue through the square in order to enhance its park-like setting.

RTA said it will focus on transit zones such as West Third Street to East 18th Street on Superior Avenue, and West Third Street to East 12th Street on St. Clair Avenue.

The agency hopes to use traffic signal prioritization and create dedicated bus lanes to reduce any adverse effect of the closing of Public Square.

Thompson Named RTA Rail Manager

October 29, 2016

Sean Thompson has been appointed as director of rail operations for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

thompson

Sean Thompson

Thompson, who will assume his post on Oct. 31, most recently worked for the Federal Transit Administration overseeing rail safety for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

He has 20 years of experience in rail, including a stint with Cleveland RTA in 2010-11 as the agency’s rail training manager.

He left Cleveland RTA to work for the Federal Railroad Administration as an operating practices inspector and later served as a deputy regional administrator in Sacramento, California.

Thompson also has worked on light- and commuter-rail operations in Charlotte, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; and Salt Lake City.

“[GCRTA] is privileged to have someone of his caliber on board,” said Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Joe Calabrese in a statement. “With Sean’s expertise, we can sharpen our focus on safety, while we advance state of good repair initiatives.”

Ohio Intermodal Station Projects Seek Other Funding After Failing to Land a TIGER Grant

August 11, 2016

Intermodal station projects in Cleveland and Oxford, Ohio, failed to win a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant this year, but will continue to move forward while seeking other funding sources.

In Cleveland, transportation officials have been studying the creation of the Lakefront Multimodal Transportation Center that will serve Amtrak, intercity buses and Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority buses and trains.

Amtrak 4The center, to be located west of East Ninth Street, unsuccessfully sought a $37.4 million TIGER grant.

The total project cost is $46.7 million of which Amtrak is expected to pay $4 million.

The intermodal complex would be part of a planned Mall-to-Harbor walkway that is being built by the City of Cleveland. That project will get underway this fall.

The walkway will have stairs and an elevator linking it to the Amtrak station.

Improvements to the Amtrak station include bringing it into ADA compliance, platform resurfacing/widening, and parking lot and walkway improvements.

Planners are eyeing how to obtain funding for preliminary engineering and construction of the Greyhound portion of the transportation center.

In Oxford, the city, Miami University and the Butler County Regional Transit Authority have proposed developing an intermodal facility that would serve as a stop for Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal.

Officials unsuccessfully sought $20 million in TIGER funds for the $26 million bus-rail intermodal station.

The Amtrak station platform, shelter and parking will cost about $600,000. The Cardinal currently does not stop in Oxford, but Amtrak has indicated it would be willing to serve Oxford if it provides suitable station facilities.

Transit Agencies Gird for Loss of Tax Revenue

August 11, 2016

Eight Ohio public transportation agencies are looking at losing as much as 10 percent of their sales tax revenue in 2017, including agencies in Cleveland, Akron and Canton.

OhioThe cuts are being prompted by the ending of a practice of taxing twice purchases made by Medicaid managed care organizations.

All Aboard Ohio, a passenger advocacy group has called on the Ohio Legislature to provide funding to thee agencies in order to make up for the lost revenue.

AAO said the transit agencies may have to impose service cuts, raise fares and undertake fewer repair projects. Also affected are transit agencies in Portage, Mahoning and Lake counties.

The lost sales tax revenue will hurt the most those agencies that rely heavily on sales tax revenue, including Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

Under current practices, sales tax is applied twice to purchases from Medicaid managed care organizations.

The state of Ohio expects to lose $550 million annually from sales tax receipts once the double application of sales taxes ends.

AAO wants the legislature to double the $7 million it appropriates to help fund public transportation. It noted that despite being the 7th most populous state, Ohio ranks 46th in support for public transportation.

Cleveland RTA Track Repair Project Means New Tower City Entrance for Westbound Trains

August 2, 2016

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority passengers planning to travel west from Tower City on the Red or Waterfront lines are using a new entrance and track.

Cleveland RTAThe move was necessitated when RTA closed Track 8 for a repair project and is routing westbound trains over Track 7.

The project is the first track rebuilding in the Tower City station since 1990. The project is expected to be completed by late November.

RTA CEO Joe Calabrese said trains using Track 8 had been subject to a slow order.

The new entrance for westbound trains was needed because Track 7 is hidden behind a concrete wall separating it from Track 8.

To reach Track 7, passengers need to use a separate entrance on the Public Square level of Tower City between Darrio Fashion Group and Victoria’s Secret.

RTA has put up signs to mark the entrance and direct passengers to the entrance, which has platforms and ticket machines. Track 7 can also be reached by elevator.

Passengers disembarking from Green and Blue line trains bound for the Waterfront line will also need to use this entrance.

RTA is still working to land funding to repair Tracks 10 and 13. No time frame has been set for that project.

Cavs Victory Parade and Rally Help Greater Cleveland RTA Set Single Day Ridership Record

June 25, 2016

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority reported that it carried a record 500,000 people last Wednesday, most of whom were bound for the victory parade and rally honoring the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Officials estimated that 1.3 million people were on hand for the festivities.

Cleveland RTAThe previous single-day ridership record for RTA was 225,000 set on a St. Patrick’s Day that fell on a Saturday.

RTA offered a $5 all-day pass on the day of the Cavs victory parade and most riders bought one.

RTA CEO Joe Calabrese said the agency took in an estimated $1.5 million on Wednesday.

That is enough to cover the cost of RTA operations for about two days, he said, but it doesn’t factor in the costs of running extra service Wednesday for the parade.

“I think a day like that will certainly help RTA. It won’t hurt RTA,” Calabrese said. “It’s not something we could do every day because we just don’t have the people to make that happen every day.”

Calabrese said the ridership on Wednesday was about 300,000 more than it would be on a busy day such as a home game for the Cleveland Browns.

He said many of those who rode were riding RTA for the first time.

The horde of passengers caused major service delays and forced RTA to open interim bus terminals and add buses to its blue and green lines.

RTA riders also filled all of the parking lots at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, which is the western terminus of the Red Line.

Airport officials said the lots had filled by 10 a.m. Although that didn’t lead to any flight delays, it did create problems for those wanting to take a flight out of town and park at the airport.

News reports indicated that some flights were delayed because flight crews were late in getting to the airport due to the traffic downtown where some airlines house their crews between flights.

The airport parking lots did not reopen until after 6 p.m. when Cavs revelers began returning to the airport and leaving.