On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) can begin work on the University Circle Rapid Transit Station, which was awarded $10.5 million from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II Program in October 2010.
The project will involve reconstructing the station, clearing the way for work to begin on one of the busiest transfer points in the transit system. A key element of reconstruction is consolidating the bus and transfer area and the rail station, which are currently separated by the busy Cedar Glen Parkway.
“This project makes riding transit more convenient, safe, and accessible to persons with disabilities,” U.S. DOT Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said. “We want to help bring Cleveland’s transit system into a state of good repair and this was one need that could not be delayed any longer.”
When the station is rebuilt, it will be enhanced by a new plaza, widened bikeways and walkways, and a new 2,500-square-foot indoor waiting area. Located within the Rockefeller and Ambler Parks, the station was designed with its park setting in mind, with the front glass wall providing an open, inviting feeling from the parks to the train platforms.
The station, which serves about 2,500 riders daily and provides access to seven bus lines and the RTA Red Line, is near Case Western Reserve University, John Hay High School and the School of the Arts, Little Italy, Fairfax, University Hospitals, and student and senior housing.
“The University Circle Station is going to be a more attractive option for commuters who would prefer to save money on gas and leave their cars at home,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “Our nation needs to reduce its dependence on oil and revitalized and renovated stations like this one will better serve current riders while encouraging new ones.”
GCRTA plans to break ground on the project later this year, and construction is expected to last two years, during which time the station and bus terminal will remain open.
The University Circle Rapid Transit Station Project was among 75 projects in 40 states that shared $600 million from the U.S. DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II Program. The U.S. DOT received nearly 1,000 construction grant applications for more than $19 billion from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. TIGER II grants were awarded to projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a region or metropolitan area.
The projects chosen demonstrate their ability to contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities or enhance the quality of living and working environments of communities through increased transportation choices and connections.
The U.S. DOT also gave priority to projects that are expected to create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate rapid increases in economic activity.