The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) unveiled its new $17.5 million Little Italy-University Circle Station during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 11.
The new Red Line station, located on Mayfield Road at East 119th Street, replaces an old and functionally obsolete facility at Euclid Avenue and East 120th Street – about 0.3 miles away. This is RTA’s first new Red Line station in 46 years.
The opening came just in time for the more than 100,000 visitors who attended the annual Feast of the Assumption Festival in the historic Little Italy neighborhood Aug. 13-17.
Rendering courtesy: GCRTA
“The impact of this new rail station on the neighborhood has been large, positive and immediate. Located in the heart of Little Italy, the station significantly alleviated a long-term major parking issue, and attracted even more people to this great annual event,” said RTA CEO/GM Joe Calabrese.
Although there is no designated parking at the station, it is an easy walk to residential areas, merchants and restaurants located in this historic neighborhood. A growing housing market is nearby for professionals who live in University Circle, as well as the flourishing Uptown development, which stretches along Euclid Avenue, between Mayfield Road and East 117th Street.
Talk of a new station began in 2008, when local institutions helped with a study on transit-oriented development in the area. Included were: the Cleveland Foundation, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), Little Italy, University Hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University and University Circle Inc.
“The opening of the Little Italy-University Circle Red Line Station is incredibly exciting for University Circle. A connector between University Circle, Little Italy, Downtown and the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, this new station will improve transit access to our neighborhood and is an important step towards building University Circle as a complete neighborhood,” said Chris Ronayne, president, University Circle Inc.
That neighborhood includes the Cleveland Museum of Art, Severance Hall (home of the Cleveland Orchestra), Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, and the nearby Cleveland Clinic.
“The Federal Transit Administration is proud to partner with the RTA to bring a new transit station to this vibrant neighborhood,” said Therese McMillan, Acting Administrator for the FTA, which contributed $12.5 million in federal funding for the project.
“In Cleveland, and across America, investments like this one are helping to revitalize neighborhoods, spur new development and offer residents an attractive and convenient travel option for getting to work, school and other important destinations,” McMillan said.
The station includes:
- A single platform headhouse and entrance plaza that are ADA-accessible.
- A heavy-duty elevator and stairway from the street level to the platform and waiting areas.
- New concrete sidewalks, landscaping, lighting and bridge abutment repairs.
- Rehabilitation of two transit track bridges.
- Reuse of old vault under the railroad bridges as the lobby area. The vault was built in the 1920s as a potential commuter rail station by the Van Sweringen brothers, who built the Terminal Tower and the Shaker Rapid.
- Artistic lighting of the bridges lead ing to the station.
- Installation of a terrazzo flooring with a leaf pattern design by local artist Susie Frazier.
- Chandelier sculpture elements in the headhouse designed by artist Jennifer Cecere.
- Italian poetry engraved into the lobby steps by artist Gabriella Mileti.
Construction began on the Little Italy-University Circle Station in October 2013. The station was designed by City Architecture, and the construction contractor was McTech Corp.
On hand at the ceremony were Valarie J. McCall, RTA Board Member, APTA Vice Chair, APTA Chair of the Transit Board Members Committee, and Cleveland’s Chief of Government & International Affairs; Sony Nardi, RTA Board Member; Joe Calabrese, RTA CEO/GM; Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson.
More details can be found at RTA’s Little Italy page at: http://www.riderta.com/majorprojects/littleitalyuc.