Posts Tagged ‘Stark Area Regional Transit Authority’

Study of Proposed Canton Streetcar Continues

August 1, 2022

Stark Area Regional Transit Authority continues to plan for creating a 9.8-mile streetcar service connecting downtown Canton and the Akron-Canton Airport.

Public hearings held last month showed the proposed service would include stops at Pro Football Hall of Fame Village, Belden Village shopping center, Tuscarawas Street West, 12th Street Northwest, Everhard Road Northwest, Dressler Road Northwest, and Mt. Pleasant Road.

Timothy Rosenberger, the project manager at the consulting firm WSP USA, said the streetcar line would cost between $50 million and $100 million and take three to five years to complete.

SARTA has not said how it will fund development of the streetcar line, but federal grants are expected to cover between 50 percent and 80 percent of the cost.

However, SARTA has yet to develop a plan to pay for the operating costs of the service.

Officials said during the public meetings the primary goal of the service is to encourage HOF visitors to visit other economic generators and tourism spots in the area.

An existing rail line parallel to Interstate 77 used by the Wheeling & Lake Erie and at one time by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad would make up much of the route.

New track would need to be built in downtown Canton to the Cornerstone Transit Center on Cherry Street Southeast.

The track is owned by Akron Metro Transit, which acquired it years ago for potential commuter train service between Akron and Canton.

The service would require five streetcars with a capacity of 100 each.

The travel time from downtown Canton to the airport would be about 30 minutes and cars would run between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on 15-minute headways with less frequent service on weekends.

A $100,000 feasibility study paid for with a federal grant is underway and expected to be completed by September.

Once the study is complete additional public hearings will be held before SARTA decides whether to proceed with the project.

Planners have not decided who would own the streetcar service. It could be owned by a private not-for-profit organization or run by SARTA or another entity.

A SARTA official at one of the public meeting said the agency is not considering asking voters to approve an increase in the sales tax to pay for the streetcar service.

SARTA Studying Light Rail Line

February 5, 2022

The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority has hired a consultant to study the prospects of building a light rail line in Canton.

The proposed line would link downtown Canton with the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The transit cars would use track owned by Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority that was once used by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad when it operated trains between Canton and Akron.

SARTA officials said some new track would need to be constructed into downtown Canton proper.

The study will be conducted by consulting firm WSP USA and cost $100,000. It is expected to take six months to complete.

The 3-mile operation might use transit cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Officials estimate it would cost between $25 million and $50 million to build and hope to cover 80 percent of that with federal grants.

Once construction begins, it would take an estimated two years to complete the line.

Light Rail Service Eyed in Canton

July 6, 2021

Canton officials want to study the possibility of a light rail service that would whisk visitors between the Pro Football Hall of Fame and downtown and someday to the Akron-Canton Airport.

The city engineering office and the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority will seek a $25,000 grant to explore the idea.

The grant application has been submitted to the Stark County Area Transportation Study.

However, Canton Enginer Dan Moeglin said SCATS has told him the rail project is not high on that agency’s priority list.

Officials say the development of the Hall of Fame Village with new hotels and attractions would draw a significant number of people from out of the area.

The proposed rail service would cost between $25 million to $50 million with officials hoping the Federal Transit Administration would cover at least 80 percent of the costs.

SARTA CEO Kirt Conrad said the project would take at least two years from approval to construction. The project could be halted if the Hall of Fame Village ends failing to develop.

“If it’s not cost effective and we’re not going to get the return on investment, then we’re not going to do it,” Moeglin said.

 “We think having that dedicated line to and from the Village and downtown creates a calling card and attractiveness that a simple bus doesn’t provide,” he said.

Canton officials envision using track owned by Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority that was once used by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad between Akron and Canton.

A portion of this line is used by the Wheeling & Lake Erie for freight service.

If the rail service develops, a station would be established near the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the southwest corner of Fulton Road NW and Harrison Avenue. 

Trains would go to Tuscarawas Street west of Brown Avenue. Intermediate stops could include 12th Street NW near the McKinley Memorial and Wm. McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, the Ralph Regula Federal Building, City Hall and Stark State Downtown campus at 400 Third St. SE.

Some new track construction would be needed for the project on Third Street SW as it goes southeast from Tuscarawas and then east with a stop at Market Avenue.

Eventually, the service would be extended northward to the Akron-Canton Airport with stops in the Belden Village area with shuttle service to SARTA’s Belden Village Station on Whipple Avenue NW.

Conrad said autonomous vehicles could shuttle passengers from a station on Fulton Road NW by the track to and from the Hall of Fame.

He said he’s had only preliminary discussions with Akron Metro officials about using the rail line. Yet to be worked out is whether the city and SARTA would lease or purchase the railroad tracks.

Valerie Shea, director of planning of Akron Metro, said her agency has not “had any discussions regarding this specific proposal or its operational details at this time. However, we continue to discuss and remain open to any ideas that bring economic growth to our region.”

Conrad said a feasibility study, if funded, would take at least six months to complete.

SARTA operated a bus designed to look like a trolley for less than six months in 2006 on a loop in downtown Canton. Ridership was poor with the trolley bus carrying fewer than 10 passengers on some days.

Tally on Regional Transit Ballot Measures

November 11, 2016

In a final tally, the Community Transportation Association of America said that 39 transit-related measures were approved by voters on Tuesday.

That included four that involved only rail transit, 17 that dealt only with bus transit, and 25 that covered both modes. Three measure involved only roads while one was aimed only at ferries. Of the 46 measure involving transit, 16 also affected roads.

The issues that involved public transportation in Ohio and nearby states are summarized below:

Marion County (including Indianapolis) approved a 0.25-percent income tax to raise $56 million per year for improved bus service and new Bus Rapid Transit construction as part of the IndyGo transit improvement program. It passed with 59.3 percent of the vote.

Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw Counties (including metro Detroit, Dearborn, and Ann Arbor) voters rejected a measure to levy an additional 1.2 percent property tax to raise $2.9 billion for the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority over 20 years for a Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail line and a regional bus rapid transit system. The measure failed by about 18,000 votes with 52.7 percent of Wayne County ( Detroit)  and 56.2 percent in Washtenaw (Ann Arbor) voting yes. However, the measure was turned down in Oakland County (50.09 percent voting no to 49.91 percent yes), and 60.1 percent voting no in Macomb County.

• Franklin County (Columbus)  voters renewed a 0.25 percent sales tax for the Central Ohio Transit Authority for 20 years with 72 percent of the vote, which will raise $62 million.
• Lorain County voters rejected a new 0.25 percent sales tax for transportation, with 50 percent of the anticipated $9.9 million annually going to public transit, with 74.2 percent voting no.
• Lucas County (Toledo) voters renewed a 1.5 percent property tax for the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority for 10 years with 58.5 percent of the vote.
• Stark County voters renewed a 0.25 percent sales tax for the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority for 10 years with 63.2 percent of the vote.

SARTA Launches Canton-Cleveland Route

March 3, 2013

The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority will launch a route from Canton to Cleveland on Monday that at 63 miles may be Ohio’s longest transit service.

The weekday SARTA route will serve the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center’s Wade Park campus and downtown Cleveland three times a day.

Veterans traveling to Cleveland for a medical appointment can ride for free if they schedule their trip through the Stark County Veterans Service Commission.

The fare for other passengers will be $2.50 one way and $5 round trip.
The route originates at the Canton Cornerstone Transit Station at 112 Cherry Ave. SE, leaving each weekday at 6:50 a.m., 10:50 a.m. and 2:50 p.m.

It then will travel north to the American Legion Post 44 at 1633 Cleveland Ave. NW to pick up or drop off the veterans associated with the Veterans Commission and then to Wade Park in Cleveland, arriving at 8:40 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4:20 p.m.

The bus also will stop at West Prospect and West Superior avenues (near the Tower City Center) before it returns to Canton.

Each bus can accommodate 32 seated passengers and two wheelchairs. Priority seating will be given to veterans who schedule their trip through the Veterans Commission.

Groups larger than four people and riders with mobility devices not associated with the Veterans Commission should call SARTA to reserve a seat.

SARTA also offers hourly bus service to Akron-Canton Regional Airport and downtown Akron’s Pfaff Transit Center, which has Greyhound intercity bus service. Greyhound bus service to Canton ended nearly a decade ago.

Akron Metro RTA offers 11 weekday round trips between Akron and Cleveland. Also serving downtown Cleveland are routes of Laketran (Lake County) and the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority.