Cuyahoga County is as car-dependent as any other major metropolitan area in the country. This explains some, though not all, of what ails our county in terms of how we view transportation as a whole, how we fund it, and how we think about the future this topic in our region. So, where do we stand in terms of public transportation broadly, and where does Cuyahoga County stand in terms of RTA?

  • A recent study shows that a typical metropolitan resident can reach only about 30% of jobs via transit within 90 minutes and that job access by neighborhood differs considerably across metro areas (“Building Successful Neighborhoods”)
  • The Brookings Institute studied the public transportation systems of 96 metropolitan areas over the first 12 years of this century. Cleveland saw the largest drop in in terms of job accessibility via public transit during this time
  • Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) projects that even fewer Clevelanders will make use of public transportation by 2040
  • In the geographic area covered by RTA, 20% of a person’s income is spent on transportation costs; making us the highest of all comparable cities nationwide

PROPOSALS

  • Appoint RTA passengers to the Board of Directors
    • In fact, this should be adopted into RTA’s bylaws
  • Create transportation systems to increase access by urban residents to suburban jobs
  • Hold hearings to determine the malfeasance of RTA and some of its past employees/board members who fleeced the agency of millions of dollars, and how to prevent future abuses
  • Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
    • New development near transit sites should be favored in public funding
    • Housing, retail, amenities, jobs, etc. need to be better situated near transit sites
    • Lowers transportation costs overall
  • Support & expand programs like UHBikes
    • Enlarge the fleet of bikes to include e-bikes, electric scooters, & dockless bikes
    • UHBikes
      • Started in 2016; after 3 years….more than 61,000 overall trips, reducing 101,6888 lbs of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (according to the county’s Sustainability Department, headed by one of the bright spots in Cuyahoga County gov’t., Mike Foley)
  • Public-private partnerships that incentivize the use of public transportation

The greatest resource for county residents interested in improving RTA’s operations and mission, and public transportation more broadly, is Clevelanders for Public Transit. To learn more, I urge you to visit their website:
http://clefortransit.org/ and read their Transit Bill of Rights 

All of their recommendations, along with what I propose, will work not only to improve our county’s transportation system, but also reduce our carbon footprint, and positively impact our economy and access to jobs. And perhaps most importantly, it will empower us to think about transportation as more than just getting in a car.