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Euclid Corridor Transportation Project

Project Abstract

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) is embarking upon a unique and exciting transit system improvement project. The $200 million plus project offers the third transit system alternative in the region that will give customers faster, frequent and first class service. With a total of 9.38 miles of improvements the project will connect the regions two largest employment districts - the downtown central business and University Circle to the Windermere Rapid Transit Station in East Cleveland.

The Euclid Corridor Transportation Project (ECTP) is the Transportation System Management (TSM) alternative to what was originally proposed as a subway light rail project to alleviate slow travel patterns and bus operations in the corridor, which was averaging only 5.5 miles per hour. In fact, the current roadway configuration, poor pavement condition, mixed traffic flow, parallel parking, antiquated traffic signal system, frequent stops and long dwell times associated with fare collection and boarding all resulted in slow and inefficient bus service provided in this corridor. These same factors contribute to bus “bunching” and irregularity of service frequencies. Multiple routes and stops in the same block make the use of public transit confusing to existing and prospective customers. The current conditions do not promote public transit and are hindering economic development and investment in the corridor.

The ECTP as constructed will improve service to GCRTA customers through increased service frequency, reduced travel time and the inclusion of significant customer amenities. The project will increase transit system efficiency, promote long-term economic, community development, and improve the image of public transportation.

Within this transit operation, a network of consolidated ADA compliant median stations, similar to RTA’s light rail system will be available, which will feature level boarding and off-board fare collection. In addition to exclusive transit lanes, other amenities include precision docking, traffic signal prioritization, strategically placed stations, real time passenger information, enhanced service frequency and corridor “branding.” The waiting environments at stations will be improved with integrated public art, signage, interactive, touch screen kiosks and enhanced pedestrian friendly amenities. Bicycle lanes connecting the two major universities, Cleveland State and Case Western Reserve, will also incorporate a multi-modal approach to the design. In addition to roadway improvements, streetscape and irrigation landscape improvements will be accomplished from building face to face including over 1500 trees, sidewalk and curb replacements and unique brick paver designs.

The project has already been the catalyst for economic development and significant investment in the revitalization of Euclid Avenue. Over $400 million of mixed-use developments have occurred throughout the entire length of the project and within every neighborhood. More than $2 billion dollars of investment and 13,000 new jobs will occur by the completion of the project.



Euclid Corridor Transportation Project: The $200 million plus project offers the third transit system alternative in the region that will give customers faster, frequent and first class service.
The $200 million plus project offers the third transit system alternative in the region that will give customers faster, frequent and first class service.

This is one of 33 case studies included in National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 642 entitled Quantifying the Benefits of Context Sensitive Solutions, published in November 2009. According to the authors, “The objective of this project is to develop a guide for transportation officials and professionals that identifies a comprehensive set of performance measures of CSS principles and quantifies the resulting benefits through all phases of project development”. The report documents a wide range of case studies in which the principles of CSS were applied. Each of these case studies was evaluated to determine the benefits of applying CSS. NCHRP Report 642 is available here.

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Lead Agency: Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Contact Person: Danielle Willis, Project Officer

Phase Completed: Under construction for a 12/08 operational start-up.

Source: Context Sensitive Solutions: Quantification of the Benefits in Transportation. National Cooperative Highway Research Program – Report 642. 2009.

CSS Qualities


Project Team (make up)
Project teams consist of key personnel who are directly responsible for the day –to- day operations including executive personnel; consultants, contractors; RTA support staff; and major stakeholders to track the progress and impacts of the project.

The day-to- day operational staff consists of an Executive Staff including CEO, External/Governmental Affairs; Deputy General Manager of Engineering/Project Management; Project Manager; and Project Officer.

In addition day-to-day key staffing includes Deputy Project Managers for the following areas Engineering & Design, Planning & Urban Design, Construction Management; Quality Assurance, Project Controls; Real Estate; Vehicle Acquisition; and Safety.  Each Deputy Project Manager utilizes a support staff with backgrounds in civil, electrical, & structural engineering; urban design, financing, budgeting, scheduling, vehicle operations, project management, safety certification and construction inspection. Resident Engineers also are used to oversee each construction contractor for roadway, streetscape, public art, station design, lighting and communication projects.

Consultants in the areas of environmental, architecture, landscape, public art, preliminary and final design, construction management, roadway, safety certification, vehicle design, value engineering, budget analysis, land acquisition, and legal have all been utilized throughout phases of the project.

RTA support staff including legal, auditing, finance, accounting, procurement, transit operations, scheduling, strategic planning, transit police, operation training, facility maintenance and marketing departments have been used as needed to assist with the development, progression of project completion.

Stakeholders (make up, utilization, interaction)
Major stakeholders consist of governmental and elected officials, property and business owners along the corridor, corporate businesses, economic and community development organizations, civic, social and human service groups who continue to have an invested interest in the growth and development of the Cleveland area. Up to 75 organizations have served on the Euclid Corridor Committee to review and approve the project phases prior to construction. A smaller group of community development corporations, business alliances and elected officials have continued to follow the completion of the project during construction and acts as a liaison to the public –at – large to support RTA’s efforts to complete the ECTP. Their efforts have allowed RTA to maximize its communication and marketing efforts to promote the initiatives and benefits of the project.

Public involvement/CSS concepts by project phase (types, documentation)
Over 2100 community and one-on-one meetings have been conducted throughout the project phases to inform, engage and educate the public-at-large about the ECTP. Prior to final design completion a series of design charettes and community input meetings were conducted to allow participation and comments on the overall design and social impact. All information and comments were recorded and included in the final environmental determination to select a locally preferred alternative analysis (LPA). Once the LPA was selected the Euclid Corridor Committee and various community representatives continued to meet with the Project Officer and RTA External Affairs to gain updates and input about the project progression.

To ensure that the public-at-large continues to receive effective information a Public Involvement Plan was developed to assist with RTA’s educational and public awareness campaign.  Its intent is to:
 

  • Educate key audiences and other interested parties about the ECTP; 
  • Encourage public participation by providing multiple opportunities and vehicles for public input and the opportunity to review project stages;
  • Build public trust and address community concerns about the project;
  • Build consensus and support for the ECTP throughout project stages

The Public Involvement Plan is Comprised of the Following Strategies: 

  • Media Communications Network
  • Community Outreach
  • Marketing

Some Communication Tools that are Being Used Includes:

  • Website (ECTP website;  linked to more than 25 community websites)
  • Quarterly newsletters
  • Flyers/Handouts
  • Speakers Bureau/Presentations
  • Traveling Marketing Displays (kiosks/booths at various locations along corridor)
  • Storefront Banners (Includes key project messages)
  • Project Video (Daily seen at local conferences, hotels, convention bureau, websites, etc)
  • Cross Marketing Information (Updates in forms of articles, construction updates, progress photos in corporate, civic, City Council, development newsletters, etc.)
  • Construction Phone Hotline
  • Construction e-mail alerts (Over 1200 member persons and organizations)
  • Media Alerts to local print, radio and tv stations
  • Community Involvement Handbooks
  • Project Brochures
  • Navigational Cards (List businesses names in each district along corridor and map to direct cars, patrons through construction sites)
  • Special Business signage campaign (“Support local businesses while Euclid Avenue is Under Construction;” “Way to Shopping is behind the orange barrels;”)
  • List of business specials, coupons, events listed in all transit material and electronic newsletters
  • Messages on local message boards (Playhouse Square;  Ideastream)
  • “What you need to know during construction” cards displayed at participating Drop-in Centers
  • Community Update Meetings/Community Fairs

Design Solution (process, modes and alternatives examined)

During the conceptual design, environmental, and preliminary engineering phases the Project team conducted numerous meetings to assess the social, transportation, economic and environmental impacts of the project in order to select a locally preferred alternative. The Transportation System Management (TSM) alternative was selected. The Study Team consisted of the Euclid Corridor Committee, locally elected officials, Ohio Department of Transportation, Northeast Ohio Area-wide Coordinating Agency, business and neighborhood residents who were directly impacted by the project to take the responsibility of representing the community as an Evaluating Committee.

Meetings were held throughout seven districts impacted by the project. The Study Team presented each design elements and restrictions to show the possibilities and opportunities to create a “Great Street,” along Euclid Avenue again. Each district comments were recorded and presented at follow-up meetings to gain acceptance for completion. Once consensus was met the drawings and comments were presented to the City of Cleveland Design Committee and Planning Commission for approval. The consensus and overall community involvement placed the ECTP in the position to be a viable regional project.


Lessons learned
Public Involvement and community input has been an essential component throughout the planning, development and construction phases of the project. By allowing meaningful dialogue with the community in strategic locations and formats, the RTA was able to capture a broad and direct audience to create on-going dialogue and consensus for the construction of the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project. It was very important to establish an Evaluating Committee and Study Team to represent the community in smaller meetings to review comments made by the public-at-large. Fact Sheets and Dialogues were updated and available for community review to keep the public informed of all discussions. Focus groups such as clergy, social, medical, human service, senior, ADAS and other groups were also targeted, especially if their organization or members were directly impacted by the project. It allowed the Study Team to gain a better perspective of the needs of these groups and community. The final environmental determination, economic benefits, and investment were easier to market the opportunities and benefits of the project due to the creative public involvement and community participation.

CSS Principles


A fundamental aspect of the NCHRP 642 research effort was the identification of CSS principles. The principles below were developed by a multidisciplinary team and were based on previous work by FHWA and AASHTO participants in the 1998 “Thinking Beyond the Pavement” conference, and others.

For this case study, web-based surveys were developed to solicit the expert opinions of the project team on the level of satisfaction from the application of the CSS principles on the project. The analysis of the scores noted in the survey, and presented in the following table, is based on a 4.0 scale, where 4.0 is Strongly Agree, 3.0 is Agree, 2.0 is Disagree, and 1.0 is Strongly Disagree. Additional information on the data analysis, a summary of the scores for each case study, and general findings (from all case studies) is presented in the NCHRP Report 642, available here.


CSS Principle

Project Team

Use of interdisciplinary teams

4.0

Involve stakeholders

4.0

Seek broad-based public involvement

4.0

Use full range of communication methods

4.0

Achieve consensus on purpose and need

3.5

Utilize full range of design choices

3.5

Address alternatives and all modes

4.0

Maintain environmental harmony

3.5

Address community & social issues

3.5

Address aesthetic treatments & enhancements

3.5

Consider a safe facility for users & community

3.5

Document project decisions

4.0

Track and meet all commitments

3.5

Create a lasting value for the community

3.5

Use all resources effectively (time & budget)

3.0

Discussion on CSS Principles


Project team’s perspective
There were two respondents that were considered as team members, including the responses of the person identified as the team leader. The project team indicated that in general all principles were present, since all had a score of 3.0 or greater (i.e. agreed that at least the principle was there). The principle with the lowest score was “Use all resources effectively” (3.0).

The project included an interdisciplinary team that covered all anticipated (required) areas. The responses received came from the project managers who were involved in all phases of the project and had a long CSS experience (over 6 years) and more than 10 years of relevant experience.

As noted above, there was one principle that had a score lower than 3.5 indicating that the principle was applied but at a lower agreement level among the respondents. A further review of the comments provided by the team members that scored this principle with the low score did not provide any additional information to clarify the reasons for their low score.

On the positive side, there are six principles that the team was in agreement that were highly met. These include the “Use an interdisciplinary team”, “Involve stakeholders”, “Seek broad-based public involvement”, “Use full range of communication methods”, “Address all alternatives and all modes”, and “Document project decisions” (all had a score of 4.0). This strong agreement was also highlighted in several of the comments provided. In particular, the involvement of the stakeholders was discussed by respondents as well as the value of documentation of decisions and the multistep communication process.

CSS Benefits


Surveys were also utilized to ask the project team, as well as external stakeholders in the process, about their perceptions of the benefits derived from a CSS process. As with the surveys regarding CSS Principles, the Benefits were scored on a 4.0 scale, where 4.0 is Strongly Agree, 3.0 is Agree, 2.0 is Disagree, and 1.0 is Strongly Disagree.

 

 

CSS Benefit

Measured

Stakeh.

Team

Improved stakeholder/public feedback

NA

3.5

Increased stakeholder/public participation compared to other projects

NA

3.5

Increased stakeholder/public participation

3.0

3.5

Increased stakeholder/public ownership

2.6

3.5

Increased stakeholder/public trust

2.4

3.5

Decreased costs for overall project delivery

NA

--

Decreased time for overall project delivery

NA

2.0

Improved predictability of project delivery

2.3

--

Improved project scoping

NA

3.5

Improved project budgeting

NA

2.5

Increased opportunities for partnering or shared funding or in-kind resources

2.8

3.0

Improved opportunities for joint use and development

3.1

4.0

Improved sustainable decisions and investments

NA

4.0

Improved environmental stewardship

NA

3.5

Minimized overall impact to human environment

2.1

3.0

Minimized overall impact to natural environment

3.1

3.0

Improved mobility for all users

2.9

3.5

Improved walkability

3.4

3.5

Improved bikeability

3.3

3.5

Improved safety (vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes)

3.4

3.0

Improved multi-modal options

3.4

3.5

Improved community satisfaction

2.8

3.5

Improved quality of life for community

3.3

3.5

Fit with local government land use plan

3.3

3.5

Improved speed management

3.3

3.5

Design features appropriate to context

3.3

3.5

Optimized maintenance and operations

NA

4.0

Minimized disruption

2.1

2.0

Increased risk management and liability protection

NA

3.0


Discussion on Benefit Values


Semi-Quantitative Benefits
Overall, both stakeholders and team members indicated that almost all benefits materialized as a result of the process followed. Almost all benefits have a score greater than 3.0 indicating that the survey participants at least agree that the benefit was achieved. Benefits that had high scores (equal or greater than 3.7, indicating that most of the participants strongly agree) include “Improved opportunity for joint use and development” and “Improved sustainable decisions and investments” by the team members. However, the stakeholders had significantly lower scores than those noted by the team in all benefits and there was none over the 3.7 score. The scores for the benefits by the stakeholders may indicate that the project had mixed results as viewed by the community.

There are several benefits that had a score below 3.0, especially by the stakeholders, that indicate that the respondents believe that the benefit was marginally materialized. These include “Decreased costs for overall project delivery” and “Minimized disruptions” for the team. There were more benefits that scored low for the stakeholders including “Minimized overall impact to human environment”, “Minimized disruption”, “Improved community satisfaction”, “Improved mobility for all users”, “Improved predictability of project delivery”, “Increased stakeholder/public trust and ownership”, and “Increased opportunities for partnering or shared funding or in-kind resources”. These answers indicate that the respondents perceive that the process did not provide a project that addressed the needs of the community, improved time for the project delivery or improved stakeholder and team interactions. Most stakeholder respondents noted that construction greatly disrupted pedestrians and sidewalks and that the project was not very well marketed or managed.

An examination of the common benefits scored by both the team members and the stakeholders revealed that for most cases the scores of the stakeholders were lower than those of the team indicating a difference of opinions between these two groups. It should be noted though that such comparisons should be conducted cautiously, since there were 10 stakeholder and two team member respondents.

Quantitative Benefits
There was no additional information provided to the research team to be utilized in the development of quantifiable benefits.

Arnstein Comparison
The surveys conducted for this case study included a set of questions that could be used to evaluate potential differences in the level of satisfaction between project team members and stakeholders. These differences in satisfaction are known as the Arnstein gap, which is a heuristic metric by which the existing quality deficit of public involvement can be measured. Arnstein developed an eight-step scale (Arnstein’s Ladder) characterizing levels of public involvement in planning, ranging from “Manipulation” of the public (non-participation) to “Citizen Control” of the process. The NCHRP 642 authors adapted this approach to assess the perceptions of stakeholders and the project team.

Arnstein Questions Part 1

Stakeh.

Team

I  am satisfied with the relationship we had with project team

2.9

NA

I am satisfied with the relationship I had with the stakeholders

NA

3.0

I am satisfied with the relationship I had with the interested public

NA

3.0

I am satisfied with the procedures and methods that allowed input to project decisions

2.7

3.0

Note: The project team and stakeholder scores are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: strongly agree; 3: agree; 2: disagree; and 1: strongly disagree). 

This section evaluates the relative view and perceptions between the stakeholders and the team to determine whether both have the same experience and level of satisfaction. The team showed higher levels of satisfaction working with both stakeholders and public. The stakeholders also showed a reasonable level of satisfaction working with the team.

There is a difference of opinion regarding the level of satisfaction between the team and stakeholders regarding the means with which input was included in the project. The team members showed a greater satisfaction than the stakeholders. On the other hand, the stakeholders showed a lower level of agreement and the comments provided did not allow for any further elaboration on this issue.
 


Arnstein Questions Part 2

Stakeh.

Team

My relationship with the project team was best described as

2.3

NA

My relationship with the stakeholders was best described as

NA

3.0

My relationship with the interested public was best described as

NA

2.0

Note: The project team and stakeholder rankings are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: They allowed us to provide direction; 3: We established a partnership; 2: We established a consultation relationship; and 1: We established an informational relationship). 

The question on the level of relationship between team and stakeholders showed again a slightly different perspective. The team members indicated that they viewed that relationship as a partnership, while the stakeholders noted that it was a consultation relationship. The difference noted here is similar to what one may expect where team members tend to view things slightly different and more optimistic than the stakeholders.

Overall
Level of Success
The project is a successful use of CSS processes. Without the close cooperation of the project team with the community and stakeholders the project would not have been completed. The use of extensive and customized public involvement was instrumental in completing the project. The project is a successful TSM solution that improves mobility and created economic growth throughout the corridor.



The $200 million plus project offers the third transit system alternative in the region that will give customers faster, frequent and first class service.     
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