Transit industry executives from around the country got a guided tour of the future site of the Euclid Corridor Improvement Project (ECIP) during the annual APTA Bus Conference, hosted by the Cleveland RTA. Tour participants drove past future sites of busways for electric trolleys, transit centers, improved passenger shelters, and other transit and pedestrian amenities from downtown to East Cleveland.
The ECIP is an ongoing collaboration between RTA and the City of Cleveland that could help revolutionize bus transportation in the U.S. The project features a variety of concepts aimed at greatly increasing transit efficiency along Euclid Avenue. It is hoped that the EICP will become one of the demonstration projects in the Federal Transit Administration's Bus Rapid Transit Initiative.
The BRTI is designed to stimulate concepts pioneered by Curitiba, Brazil, Ottawa, Canada and other cities. There, buses get the same kind of priority and passenger amenities as rail transit, but at the fraction of the cost. Most cities also use the same land-use planning techniques as rail transit, which helps encourage transit use.
RTA General Manager Ronald J. Tober has made the ECIP a priority for the Authority. "We believe the Euclid Corridor project will greatly improve the quality of transit service, not only for our riders, but for Euclid Avenue businesses, institutions, and nearby residents as well," he said.
It is particularly important to Cleveland since a rail-oriented proposal for the Corridor was recently given a "not recommended" stamp by the FTA. The action is widely thought to effectively kill any hope for traditional urban rail along this stretch of Euclid Avenue.