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Access for All
Cleveland reconnects with Bus Rapid Transit
By Frank Edgerton Martin

In the late 19th century, Baedekers' travel guide called Cleveland's Euclid Avenue one of the most beautiful streets in America. As the address of hundreds of mansions, residential hotels, and shops, Euclid linked Cleveland's urbane centers from downtown to the renowned Cleveland Clinic and University Circle, home to Severance Hall, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and other cultural organizations. The avenue was a true urban "transect" slicing through and tying together neighborhoods of varying wealth and ethnicity. It was the street that said "Cleveland."

 

Euclid's continuing diversity and centrality make it an ideal study in the role of transit-supported development in the rebirth of great urban corridors. Led by landscape architects and planners from the Minneapolis and Cleveland offices of URS, the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project is a pioneering application of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), a new generation of efficient commuter bus lines that promise significant planning opportunities for landscape architects in the decades to come. With a per-mile construction cost of roughly half that of traditional light rail, BRT offers many of the amenities of light rail, commuter trains, and subways, such as designated lanes, speed, and preboarding ticketing. Most important for the regional health of Cleveland is BRT's ability to revitalize and reconnect the neighborhoods along its path. "Cleveland needs a symbiotic mix of housing and retail," says project principal Craig Amundson. "The vision of this BRT project is to connect them."

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