CLEVELAND– City officials held a news conference on Tuesday to provide an update on Public Square.
Cleveland Chief of Police Calvin Williams said Homeland Security concerns are valid concerns. It’s a partnership between RTA and Cleveland police and Homeland Security. “We have to make sure that people understand the importance of Public Square. The City has featured Public Square as the heart of the city.” He went on to say, “It’s definitely one of the key infrastructure pieces for the city and has to be protected in that way.”
When the newly-renovated Public Square reopened in June, it remained closed to bus traffic. But the Federal Transit Administration said the city of Cleveland violated a 2004 agreement and RTA must repay $12 million.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson argued leaving the square open was “irresponsible” and would increase the risk of terrorist attacks.
On Tuesday, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority released the findings of traffic studies.
“Opening Superior Avenue to GCRTA usage will reduce the operational risk to GCRTA operations, pedestrians and motor vehicles around the perimeter roadway. The listed pedestrian crossing safety mitigations for the Superior Avenue center block pedestrian crossing should be implemented,” a report from K&J Safety and Security Consulting Services said. It also concluded “terrorism vulnerabilities exist whether Superior Avenue is open or closed.”
Another study determined that closing the street through Public Square would increase RTA’s annual operating cost by more than $805,000.