Amplify your support for trains & transit!

BigGive logo

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Join The Big Give rally — beginning at 10:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 12 ending 24 hours later — for an opportunity to show your community spirit and support for All Aboard Ohio!

Amplify your giving!

The Columbus Foundation, its family of donors, and community partners are providing a bigger-than-ever $1.3 MILLION BONUS POOL for The Big Give. Donations received during the 24-hour rally will be eligible for bonus pool funds on a pro rata basis. Everyone who gives during The Big Give 24-hour period will have their donation(s) amplified!

HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

1. CLICK on The Big Give banner when you visit columbusfoundation.org, beginning at 10:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 12. SELECT “Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers dba All Aboard Ohio” from among 630 nonprofits that are part of PowerPhilanthropy.
2. GIVE securely using a major credit card, with a minimum of $20. Columbus Foundation Donors can also make a grant (minimum of $100) through their Donor Advised Fund or Supporting Foundation.
3. CELEBRATE knowing that you are strengthening your community and state for all! Share your experience and why you gave via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or other media, and follow The Big Give via social media at #BigGiveTCF.

DETAILS

  • The Big Give kicks off on Tuesday, May 12 at 10:00 a.m. EDT. Visit columbusfoundation.org to start giving to your favorite nonprofits at this time.
  • The minimum credit card gift is $20 using a major credit card (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express). Columbus Foundation donors can make a grant (minimum of $100) through their Donor Advised Fund or Supporting Foundation.
  • Everyone making a donation will receive an email confirming receipt of their donation.
  • Donations, once made, cannot be rescinded.
  • All credit card fees will be covered by the Columbus Foundation, 100 percent of donations go to participating PowerPhilanthropy nonprofits, including the Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers, dba All Aboard Ohio.
  • The bonus pool percentage ratio and preliminary results will be posted on Thursday, May 14 at columbusfoundation.org.

Questions? Contact thebiggive@columbusfoundation.org or 614-251-4000.

Or contact info@allaboardohio.org or 844-GO4-RAIL (464-7245).

###

Spring Meeting, May 16, Marysville, OH

Marysville-Library

Join us Saturday May 16 at 9:30 a.m. for All Aboard Ohio’s Spring Meeting in the conference center at the Marysville Public Library, on the south side downtown at 231 South Plum Street (CLICK FOR MAP). Continental breakfast, boxed lunch (turkey, ham/cheese, veggie sandwiches), and refreshments will be provided by caterer Made From Scratch.

AGENDA

  • Coffee & Conversation
  • Welcome (10 a.m.) – Terry Emery, Marysville City Administrator
  • Columbus-Chicago passenger rail, Central Ohio rail & transit update — Thea Walsh, Director, Transportation Systems & Funding, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission & Dina Lopez is the Principal Planner, Transportation Systems and Funding, MORPC
  • Central Ohio rail & transit discussion — Stu Nicholson, Media Relations & Public Outreach at Engage / Murphy Epson
  • Hoosier State extension initiative — Derek Bauman, SW Ohio Director, All Aboard Ohio
  • Northern Ohio Rail Alliance update — Ken Prendergast, Executive Director, All Aboard Ohio
  • Lunch
  • Next meeting — July 25, Summer Meeting & Family Outing, Transit Oriented Development & rail transit tour, Cleveland
  • Amtrak/federal report — attending NARP board, council members
  • Local Meeting reports from around Ohio
  • Adjourn by 2:30 p.m.

Cost is $25 per person:

Clicking on the above may require you to scroll down the page to complete your order.

DEADLINES: Please submit payment online by May 12 — remit payment by mail by May 10 with check/money order payable to “All Aboard Ohio” at: All Aboard Ohio, c/o Spring Mtg, 230 West Huron #85.53, Cleveland, Ohio 44113.

LATE REGISTRATION: To make a late registration by May 12 and pay at the door, call Executive Director Ken Prendergast at (216) 288-4883 and mention the Spring Meeting, leave your full name, number of persons in your party and your phone number. Thanks!

###

We’ve moved!

Please note as of Dec. 1, 2014, All Aboard Ohio moved its statewide offices to Cleveland’s public transportation and retail hub, Tower City Center! Our new mailing address is:

All Aboard Ohio
230 West Huron Road #85.53
Cleveland, OH 44113

Our telephone number remains (844) 464-7245, a toll-free number you may better remember as 844-GO4-RAIL. Our e-mail address continues to be info@allaboardohio.org for general inquiries.

 

Want up-to-the minute news, updates?

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YOU TUBE. It’s easy. Just click on the above logos or the links in this text to go to All Aboard Ohio’s social media pages. Simply join us or follow us. If you haven’t registered for Facebook or Twitter, take a moment to sign up.

You’ll enjoy instant news on rail travel discounts or special packages, travel tips, rail and transit service interruptions, local/state/federal policy issues, discussion and dialogue from around Ohio, the U.S. and even the world. For more in-depth news, dues-paying members receive the quarterly Ohio Passenger Rail News. Click HERE (5mb PDF) for a free sample of our newsletter. Please join All Aboard Ohio if you think this flow of information is important and you want it to continue. With your support, it will!

Cleveland RTA busily replacing rail stations

Little Italy-University Circle is the first all-new (not a rebuild-in-place) rail station Cleveland since 1996. This station will open this year on the Airport-Windermere Red Line.

Little Italy-University Circle is the first all-new (not a rebuild-in-place) rail station in Greater Cleveland since 1996. This station will open this year on the Airport-Windermere Red Line. Its construction required shutting down the Red Line last summer so the eastbound track we’re riding on in this photo could be moved to insert the new platform between the tracks (All Aboard Ohio photo).

Cleveland has $90 million worth of active station projects along its 50-mile rapid transit system (37 miles rail, 13 miles Bus Rapid Transit or BRT). In fact, there are more station projects moving forward simultaneously now than perhaps at any time in the 40-year history of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA).

Of the 52 rail stations in the GCRTA rail system, replacing or relocating 11 of them is in various stages of project development (ie: design, funding procurement, bidding, construction). This doesn’t include the $18.5 million reconstruction of the Cedar-University Circle station which re-opened Aug. 28, 2014.

Only one station site is new – Little Italy-University Circle. It replaces a poorly sited station (Euclid-East 120th) for a location at Mayfield Road where it’s helping to spur the $200 million Uptown and Intesa developments. Most station projects are to keep the system in a state of good repair and/or to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

These are the 11 station projects listed in order of total cost (graphics for each station follow that station’s listing):

Tower City Center (located on Red/Blue/Green/Waterfront lines) – total projected cost is $25 million – Work will start this summer and continue into 2016 on replacing Tracks 7 and 8 costing $7 million with slab tracks like what was done in the airport tunnel and station in 2013 (SEE PHOTO). The old Shaker station’s track 7 will be used temporarily for most westbound trains for the next two years.

Tower City Center GCRTA station (click to enlarge).

Tower City Center GCRTA station (click to enlarge). GCRTA will replace ex-Shaker station track 7 first and then current westbound track 8. Other tracks and drainage will be replaced as more funding becomes available.

GCRTA CEO Joe Calabrese (with blue folder) tours elected officials and media on Stand Up For Transportation Day) April 9 to show them needed trackbed improvements at Tower City station (Click to enlarge).

GCRTA CEO Joe Calabrese (with blue folder) tours elected officials and media on Stand Up For Transportation Day April 9 to show them why trackbeds need to be replaced at Tower City station (Click to enlarge).

 

Little Italy-University Circle (Red Line) – $17.5 million – This station is due to open this year, resulting in the replacement and closure of the Euclid-East 120th station. It involved relocating the eastbound track on a new bridge over Mayfield Road to insert the platform between the tracks.

Little Italy-University Circle station under construction on Mayfield Road, Sept. 27, 2014.

Little Italy-University Circle station under construction on Mayfield Road, Sept. 27, 2014 (Click to enlarge).

 

Brookpark (Red Line) – $16.5 million – Contracts were awarded in March to start construction this year. This station is GCRTA’s second busiest after Tower City Center.

Groundbreaking for the new Brookpark station was held April 9, 2015. This station, GCRTA's second busiest after Tower City, sits on the border of Cleveland and Brook Park. This is the Cleveland entrance.

Groundbreaking for the new Brookpark station was held April 9, 2015. This station, GCRTA’s second busiest after Tower City, sits on the border of Cleveland and Brook Park. This is the Cleveland entrance (Click to enlarge).

 

East 79th (Red Line) – $12 million – Design and construction funding procurement has begun for this station. All Aboard Ohio dropped its objection to rebuild this station at its current, remote location when GCRTA and the city joined up to develop transit-supportive land-use plans for the surrounding area.

East 79th Red Line station. There is also an East 79th station on the combined Blue/Green lines  (Click to enlarge).

East 79th Red Line station. There is also an East 79th station on the combined Blue/Green lines (Click to enlarge). Photo is courtesy of Cleveland.com and appeared with THIS ARTICLE.

 

East 116th (Blue/Green lines) – $6.3 million – Design of a modern, ADA-compliant, two-level station is nearing completion and construction is due to start in 2016.

East 116th station at Shaker Boulevard on the combined Blue/Green lines. There is significant new residential development at the former St. Luke's Hospital next to this station.

East 116th station at Shaker Boulevard on the combined Blue/Green lines. There is significant new residential development at the former St. Luke’s Hospital next to this station.

 

Lee-Van Aken (Blue Line) – $5.4 million – Construction is underway to replace this two-level station with an ADA-compliant facility and should be finished in about 20 months.

Lee Road-Van Aken station on the Blue Line in Shaker Heights (click to enlarge).

Lee Road-Van Aken station on the Blue Line in Shaker Heights (click to enlarge).

 

East 34th-Campus ( Red/Blue/Green lines) – $3.4 million – Design of a modern, ADA-compliant station is nearing completion and construction is due to start by 2017.

East 34th-Campus on the combined Red-Blue-Green lines. However there are no ridership generators within a quarter-mile of this station and no plans to build any, yet GCRTA was urged to rebuild this station anyway for $3.4 million.

East 34th-Campus on the combined Red-Blue-Green lines (click to enlarge). However there are no ridership generators within a quarter-mile of this station and no plans to build any, yet GCRTA was urged to rebuild this station anyway for $3.4 million. Photo is courtesy of Cleveland.com and appeared with THIS ARTICLE.

 

East 105th-Quincy (Red Line) – $4 million – All Aboard Ohio successfully urged tripling the length of the tiny station platform and adding an access point from East 105th (serving the New Economy Village development) as part of the Opportunity Corridor boulevard (underway). The Ohio Department of Transportation is funding 80 percent of the cost.

East 105th Red Line station concept as advocated by All Aboard Ohio in 2013 (click to enlarge).

East 105th Red Line station concept as advocated by All Aboard Ohio in 2013 (click to enlarge).

New Economy neighborhood looking south on East 105th toward the expanded Red Line station (click to enlarge).

New Economy neighborhood looking south on East 105th toward the expanded Red Line station (click to enlarge).

 

Farnsleigh (Blue Line) – $0.225 million – The station is being retrofitted with an ADA-compliant ramp onto trains. Will support the $75 million first phase of the Van Aken District development by RMS Investment Corp. in Shaker Heights.

Phase one of the Van Aken District mixed-use residential/retail/office is being developed by RMS Partners between the Farnsleigh and Warrensville stations on the Blue Line.

Phase one of the Van Aken District mixed-use residential/retail/office is being developed by RMS Investment Corp. between the Farnsleigh and Warrensville (see next listing) stations on the Blue Line (click to enlarge).

 

Warrensville (Blue Line) – $0.2 million – Also getting new ADA ramps and will also support the adjacent Van Aken District development.

Warrensville station at Van Aken Boulevard on the Blue Line in Shaker Heights (click to enlarge). There is also a Warrensville station on the Green Line at Shaker Boulevard.

Warrensville station at Van Aken Boulevard on the Blue Line in Shaker Heights showing the old ADA ramp (click to enlarge). There is also a Warrensville station on the Green Line at Shaker Boulevard.

 

Lee-Shaker (Green Line) – $0.2 million – Also getting new ADA ramps.

Lee Road station at Shaker Boulevard on the Green Line (click to enlarge). There is also a Lee Road station on the Blue Line, but at Van Aken Boulevard (see listing above).

Lee Road station at Shaker Boulevard on the Green Line (click to enlarge). There is also a Lee Road station on the Blue Line, but at Van Aken Boulevard (see listing above).

For updates or more information about these and other Cleveland rail system capital improvements, please visit the GCRTA Major Projects page.

###

Save Hoosier State train, expand to Cincy

A southbound Hoosier State train arrives Lafayette, Indiana on its way from Chicago to Indianapolis. All Aboard Ohio wants this train to run daily, run faster and run to Cincinnati.  (J Feister photo)

A northbound Hoosier State train arrives Lafayette, Indiana on its way from Indianapolis to Chicago. All Aboard Ohio wants this train to run daily, run faster and run to Cincinnati. (J Feister photo)

In a March 18 letter, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) urged the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration to continue the Chicago-Indianapolis “Hoosier State” train service and to improve the service to attract more riders. Among the improvements, he advised INDOT and FRA to extend the train service to Cincinnati. All Aboard Ohio thanks Senator Donnelly for his constructive, well-timed letter supporting the Cincinnati extension.

He joins Senator Dan Coats (R-Indiana) in supporting the Hoosier State service. Senator Coats’ recent letter dealt with a dispute involving INDOT and the FRA (see last paragraph of this blog posting) rather than any expansions or service improvements. Regardless, the bipartisan support of this train is much appreciated.

All Aboard Ohio believes that the best way to boost ridership on the Hoosier State is to:

  • Run the northbound and southbound Hoosier State trains daily (each currently runs four days a week with Amtrak’s Cardinal service on the other three days)
  • Reschedule the Hoosier State two hours later northbound and two hours earlier southbound
  • Reroute it via faster tracks into Chicago
  • Add three new passing sidings and install more seamless welded rails for higher speeds (already underway)
  • Improve grade crossing safety with “triggers” set farther from road crossings and constant-warning-time circuits
  • Extend the train service to current and future Amtrak stations in Connersville, Indiana plus Ohio stations including Oxford, Hamilton, I-275/Tri-County area and Cincinnati Union Terminal
  • Provide coordinated, connecting bus service with through-ticketing to off-route destinations such as Middletown, University of Dayton and downtown Dayton.

Numerous cities, businesses and civic organizations are supporting the Hoosier extension to Cincinnati including the Hamilton County Commissioners, city councils of Hamilton, Norwood, Oxford, Wyoming and Cincinnati Council’s Transportation Committee Chair Amy Murray, Miami University, University of Cincinnati, the U.S. Bank/Haile Foundation, Cincinnatians For Progress and others.

All Aboard Ohio Executive Director Ken Prendergast noted the Cincinnati expansion depends on continuing the Hoosier State train service beyond April 30.

“You can’t expand and improve a train that no longer exists,” Prendergast said. “That’s why were so interested in what’s going on in Indiana. The long-term future of this train must be secured first. Then we want to consider expanding a faster, more frequent version of this train service to Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio.”

Senator Donnelly acknowledged this course of action in the letter he sent today to INDOT Commissioner Karl Browning and FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg.

“I write today to support the continued service of the Hoosier State line. I was pleased to see that the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has announced the continuation of service through the end of April, and I ask that INDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) work together to continue the safe operation of the Hoosier State well beyond that time.

“As you know, the Hoosier State is an important transportation option connecting Indianapolis, Chicago, and the communities in between. Even as its future has been uncertain in recent years, demand for the service continues, with nearly 34,000 passengers during Fiscal Year 2014. I regularly hear from constituents who rely on the Hoosier State, as well as from those who would like to see the service improved and extended into southern Indiana communities and Cincinnati, Ohio.

“I know many Hoosiers support the state working to improve and expand the Hoosier State service. I am sensitive to concerns related to employment practices and state resources that may result from FRA policies. It also is important, however, that the state work closely with FRA to ensure the safe operation of the Hoosier State line. I also expect FRA to continue working with the state to address their concerns, while also ensuring that the safety of Hoosiers is not compromised.

“It is my hope that INDOT and FRA will quickly reach a resolution that will ensure the safety and continued operation of the Hoosier State line. If I may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know. I stand ready to assist you,” Senator Donnelly wrote in his letter.

INDOT and the FRA are attempting to work through new rules implemented by the FRA to assign safety and liability compliance on states who are already required by a 2008 federal law to sponsor passenger rail routes of 750 miles or less. Longer routes are a federal responsibility. Indiana is the first state to be notified by the FRA, apparently because it is attempting to involve a private-sector third party (Iowa Pacific Corp.) to provide train equipment and on-board service crews to improve customer service over what Amtrak has delivered. North Carolina Department of Transportation was the first the state to engage a private-sector third party in 2008 which was also met with resistance from the FRA, then administered by Joseph Boardman. Boardman is now the president and CEO of Amtrak. NCDOT sued the FRA which then backed off.

END