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Stop Cleveland's Opportunity Corridor Boondoggle
More and more of us are moving off the roads. Yet, across the country there are countless proposed highway projects, like Cleveland's Opportunity Corridor, that are not just expensive — they’re outright boondoggles. We need your help to stop it.
It's time to shift Ohio’s transportation priorities
These days, more and more of us are moving off the roads. Across the country, and here in Ohio, people are driving less on average than we have in years past. Driving peaked in America in 2007. Since then, the Millennial Generation has led the way, with more people walking, biking and taking transit. In fact, in 2014 more people rode public transportation than had in 57 years! Meanwhile, new technologies and other options, such as bike sharing, are making it easier for people to rely less on cars.
Yet, despite these well-documented changes in transportation trends, our decision makers continue to prioritize new roads and wasteful highway expansions. Meanwhile, other needs — from expanding public transportation to critical bridge repairs — go unmet. At a time when one in nine bridges in America are considered “structurally deficient,” these confused priorities put millions of Americans in danger every single day.
The Cleveland Opportunity Corridor Boondoggle
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is promoting a $331 million, three-mile, five-lane road construction project starting at I-490’s terminus south of the city’s downtown and running northeast to the University Circle neighborhood. This project has been packaged as an “opportunity corridor” that would help disadvantaged neighborhoods by promoting positive economic growth.
In reality, this project would require relocating 76 households and 16 businesses, as well as a church, and turn nine roads that currently connect with other streets into dead ends. It would also require additional infrastructure construction to satisfy the needs of local residents without cars. The destruction of these neighborhoods and additional construction costs outweigh any supposed economic benefit.
It also goes against the expressed interests of residents in the area, who are calling for increased investments in public transportation and a community that’s less dependent on cars. A recent survey by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that “a combined 68 percent of Cuyahoga County respondents say improving public transportation (35 percent) and developing communities where people don’t have to drive as much (33 percent) are the best ‘long term solutions to reducing traffic’ in their area – rather than other options like building roads (21 percent).”
Moreover, ridership on the regional transit authority has been increasing, vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) has remained almost stagnant, and as many as 40 percent of residents in the affected neighborhoods do not drive at all.
At a time when one in every 10 bridges across the state are “structurally deficient,” and with more than 80 of these bridges in Cuyahoga County alone, proceeding with this new road construction is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. We need your help. Tell the ODOT to listen to the voices of the community and stop this wasteful highway boondoggle.
Moving Ohio forward
Our lives, our communities, and how we get around are constantly changing. It’s well past time for our transportation spending priorities to reflect these changes, rather than the outdated assumptions that so many of them are based upon. We deserve to have a safe, reliable transportation system that offers real options for however people might want to get around. Stopping this highway boondoggle is an important first step for getting us there.
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