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Cleveland City Council’s Transportation Committee today invited public comment on the decision by the Mayor and the Regional Transit Authority to keep Superior Avenue closed through Public Square. Council and citizen comments were largely critical of how the decision was made.
One person said the decision to keep Superior closed was made in “autocratic fashion.” Another called Public Square a “bogus project not good for Clevelanders nor RTA riders.”
Councilman Zach Reed was also critical. “We’re here today because the people in the suburbanites and people in these high ivory towers have made a decision and have got the mayor’s ear that they want that Square closed. So it can be as a resident told me one day, ‘a $50 million playground.’ ”
Safety on the Square is a major reason some officials say the avenue should remain closed. The Cleveland Police Department’s Traffic Commissioner James Muhic fears kids playing in the splash park could wander across the street.
“The way that the crosswalk is constructed gives an impression that both halves of the square are unified. And then on the other side of the square we note that there are statues of birds and things that would attract children.”
Some councilmembers pointed out that safety should have been considered when the Public Square re-design was in the planning stages, not now that it’s open and complete. Al Porter, Jr, says he’s disappointed the mayor’s office didn’t ask for input from RTA riders like him before deciding to keep Superior closed.
“But now, I don’t feel that Public Square is mine anymore. I was one of those who use public transportation almost every single day and was not even thought of.”
Transit officials and the Mayor’s office are now working on a plan to improve bus travel time around the Square and on nearby roads.