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$5.5 billion in development built or announced since 2012 within 2,000 feet of Cleveland rail/BRT lines

The $110 million Intesa mixed-use development will rise next year at the new Little Italy-Mayfield Red Line train station.  Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in Cleveland's Ohio City and Shaker Heights' Van Aken District will be visited Sept. 18 in All Aboard Ohio's second-annual TOD On Tap bar hop by transit. Please register by Sept. 15 at the link below.

The $110 million Intesa mixed-use development will rise next year at the new Little Italy-Mayfield Red Line train station. Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is occurring throughout Greater Cleveland, as are transit-proximate developments that are less mixed and dense than TOD, and therefore less walkable. But all of these should contribute to growth in transit ridership.

For Immediate Release
August 22, 2014
Contact: Ken Prendergast, Executive Director, All Aboard Ohio
(216) 288-4883, @allaboardohio or kenprendergast@allaboardohio.org

An inventory of real estate development projects in Greater Cleveland measured by the nonprofit educational organization All Aboard Ohio shows that since 2012 more than $5.5 billion worth of investment has been or is being made within 2,000 feet of rail transit or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations. Some of these investments, mostly by the private sector, were attracted or at least physically shaped in terms of their design by the presence of a nearby rail/BRT station. All of the developments will benefit transit users and boost ridership numbers thanks to their proximity to the more than 100 rail/BRT stations of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, said Ken Prendergast, Executive Director of All Aboard Ohio which promotes improvements to rail and public transportation in Ohio.

A graphics-laden copy of our inventory is available HERE.

“All major cities in Ohio and across the nation are seeing significant investments in their urban cores, especially around fixed-guideway transit,” Prendergast said. “In fact our real estate inventory will soon be out of date based on recent news. This is part of a trend that began before the recession when Baby Boomers began retiring and downsizing while Millennials began looking for communities that support low-mileage lifestyles. Miles-driven per capita has declined every year since 2004 and is now at its lowest level since 1996. City populations are rising faster than suburban populations for the first time since the 1920s; this includes Cleveland’s urban core as well.”

Factors involved in this tectonic shift are decades of improvements to cities’ infrastructure, amenities and safety, in addition to changes in personal preferences regarding housing and lifestyles, as well as personal incomes failing to keep up with costs of living. We are in the early part of this shift as the Baby Boomers started hitting 65 years old in 2011 and the Millennials are beginning to move out of their parents’ homes. The Baby Boomers and the Millennials are the two largest generations in history.

Prendergast noted that Greater Cleveland is the best place in Ohio where a transit-supportive development inventory can be estimated as it is the only metro area in Ohio with rail transit and BRT services. Five rail spokes totaling 39 route-miles fan outward from the Tower City hub in downtown Cleveland. The city also has the 7-mile-long HealthLine BRT that opened in 2008 on the city’s east side and the 4-mile West Shore Express is under construction on Clifton Boulevard on the city’s west side. Some 53,000 riders each weekday ride Cleveland rapid transit lines.

Cleveland won’t be Ohio’s only rail/BRT city for long. Two years of construction is halfway done for the modern, 3.6-mile Cincinnati Streetcar route linking downtown and Over-The-Rhine. Real estate investments are now being made along the streetcar’s route. Meanwhile, Columbus is in advanced planning for the 15.6-mile Cleveland Avenue BRT to address standing room-only conditions on buses linking downtown and Polaris Parkway.

All Aboard Ohio conducted the inventory of Greater Cleveland’s transit-supportive developments to give a real-world example of why more public investment in higher-level public transportation is needed in cities throughout Ohio. Fixed guideway transit (subways, light-rail, streetcars, BRT etc) attracts real estate investor interest because the guideway and stations cannot be easily moved, unlike bus routes and bus stops. Fixed transit facilities give developers the confidence that the transit service will continue to exist for decades and thus provide a marketable asset, a source of customers and a return on investment for years to come. The presence of fixed guideway transit provides a high volume of potential customers and the opportunity to provide mixed use, density and larger revenue streams. Public transportation can save users more than $10,000 per year, allowing tenants to spend more for better housing, more dining out, entertainment, shopping, education and health care.

“While some urban developments would have occurred without transit,” Prendergast added, “the presence of rail and BRT increasingly affects how developments are designed and where they are placed. So instead of putting developments in bunkers with blank walls far from the street behind a sea of parking, Transit-Oriented Development is pedestrian-friendly. It has windows, doors and light along the sidewalk. The first floor often features cafes, retail or other publicly accessible uses, and parking is placed to the side of the building, behind it or in a deck. The benefit is that everyone can safely and comfortably access the building regardless of whether they walk, bike, ride transit or drive there.”


Cincy Streetcar progress tour Aug 24

All Aboard Ohio invites you to join with us, Cincinnati Metro RTA and Cincinnatians For Progress in offering a free walking tour of construction progress on the Cincinnati Streetcar project. The tour for the public will start at 10 a.m. Sunday August 24 at the Gazebo in the center of Washington Park. Numerous Metro bus routes are within walking distance and parking is under the park which is bounded by Elm, Race, 12th and 14th streets.

Experts Paul Grether of Cincinnati Metro and John Schneider of Cincinnatians For Progress will lead the tour of the Over-The-Rhine loop of the Cincinnati Streetcar route. During the tour we’ll learn a lot about the technical aspects of the rail construction, streetcar vehicles as well as the development occurring along the route. If you are not a member of All Aboard Ohio you are in luck! Southwest Ohio Director Derek Bauman will accept your $5 membership fee on the spot and you’re good to go!

For more information, contact SW Ohio Director Derek Bauman at (513) 262-0345.

Ohio-Indiana mayors, MORPC to jointly seek Columbus-Chicago rail

Columbus-Chicago map1

Mayors in nine cities in Ohio and Indiana, along with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), announced Aug. 6 that they will sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) within the week calling for cooperation in development of a Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus passenger rail corridor.

The Ohio cities represented are Columbus, Marysville, Kenton and Lima. The Indiana cities include Fort Wayne, Warsaw, Plymouth, Valparaiso and Gary.

  • For the MORPC press release and quotes from Ohio leaders, see HERE.
  • For news coverage from Ohio with more quotes on the MOA, see HERE.
  • For news coverage from Indiana, see HERE.

The MOA calls for the parties “…to systematically and incrementally develop the higher speed rail (“HSR”) intercity system in cooperation with existing freight rail operators and owners of right‐of–way along a corridor from Chicago to Columbus through northern Indiana hereafter known as the Northern Indiana/Ohio High Speed Rail Initiative.”

Specifically, the MOA resolves that the parties will work together to secure funding for the federally required Environmental Impact Study (EIS), the next step in developing the 300-mile passenger rail line. The EIS would examine the preliminary engineering, technical analysis, service planning and environmental impacts along several different routes in order to determine the preferred route for locating the rail lines. Once complete, the EIS would be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration. This study could begin in late 2014 and would take 18 months to complete.

“Today’s announcement represents a significant milestone in the planning and evaluation of the proposed rail corridor from Columbus to Chicago, “said MORPC Executive Director William Murdock. “With the leadership of the cities along the proposed route in Ohio and Indiana, the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) formalizes already significant collaboration across states to diligently review this new transportation corridor. The MOA is a practical, yet critical next step to pursue the next phase of analyses, the Tier One Environmental Impact Study and the Service Development Plan.”

“Support for passenger rail is strong in Lima and the Greater Lima area,” said Lima Mayor David Berger. “We have a large base of potential passengers among our business people, students and everyday citizens who want and need an alternative option to driving to Chicago or Columbus. Having access to fast, frequent trains also would send a strong message to investors and others who are looking for development opportunities in Lima, as well as assist our existing businesses in recruiting new talent.”

“Passenger rail will have a high impact on our region,” says Ohio Northern University President Daniel DiBiasio. “It would significantly improve access for residents of Lima and Northwest Ohio to Columbus and Chicago. By broadening travel options for students, we can dramatically enhance their ability to benefit from the incredible opportunities these great cities provide, including commuting to internship sites and back home during breaks. Faculty, who now drive to campus from Columbus, would have a faster, safer, more eco-friendly commute. In fact, passenger rail will enhance faculty and student recruitment, making Ada, Ohio much more accessible.”

“This is a big step forward in the effort to bring passenger rail back to our community,” said Ft. Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. “The Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus corridor will be good for citizens throughout northern Indiana and central Ohio. It will increase transportation alternatives and help boost economic development and tourism.”

According to a 2013 feasibility study by Transportation Economics Management Systems, the proposed service of 12 trains a day with at least 4 express trains would:

  • Directly connect the Greater Columbus market, totaling over 1.8 million people, with the largest center of commerce in the Midwest: Chicago;
  • Provide the same fast, frequent connections and benefits to Ohio cities like Marysville, Kenton and Lima;
  • Feature Chicago to Columbus travel times ranging from 3 hours and 45 minutes express service to 4 hours local service;
  • Attract an estimated 2.1 million riders in 2020 and will increase to over 3.3 million riders by 2040;
  • Generate a positive operating cost ratio of an estimated $5 million once the system ramps up in 2020 and rise to $64 million by 2040, operated by a private franchise operator. The business plan indicates that private operation of the system would be possible without annual government subsidies;
  • Generate an estimated 12,000 temporary jobs during construction and 26,800 permanent jobs over the 30-year project; and
  • Provide an estimated $6 billion of increased output for the region’s businesses.

The study was completed in 2013 by Transportation Economics & Management Systems, Inc. (TEMS) for the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association.

For more information, contact All Aboard Ohio at info@allaboardohio.org or call toll-free at 844-GO4-RAIL (844-464-7245).


Summer Meeting & Family Outing on Cincinnati Dinner Train Aug. 23!

Join us Aug. 23 at 5 p.m. for a ride on the Cincinnati Dinner Train, boarding at  the BBQ Revue, 4725 Madison Road [MAP] in Madisonville, northeast side of Cincinnati. Exit I-71 onto Red Bank Road (Exit 9), go south to Madison Road and turn right. BBQ Revue is less then 1 mile west, on the left.

Cost is $45 per person for the meeting, train ride, dinner and beverages. The first 30 registrants will ride the dinner train’s newly acquired Moonlight Dome car. Additional coach seats are available in the rest of the train.

Yes, I would like to register today!

An All Aboard Ohio Board Meeting will be held at 4 p.m. at the BBQ Revue. You are welcome to attend and observe. Board the train starting at 5 p.m. You must be on board by 5:30 p.m. There will be a brief association report in the Moonlight Dome car prior to the 6 p.m. departure. Food will be served on the lower level of the dome car. Dinner includes:

Pulled pork
Pulled chicken
Mac and cheese
Cole slaw

All Aboard Ohio has a group rate available for booking HERE at the Hampton Inn & Suites-Cincinnati Uptown, 3024 Vine Street. If you would like a tour of the Cincinnati Streetcar construction progress on Sunday morning Aug. 24 at 10 a.m. hosted by Cincinnatians For Progress, please RSVP to Derek Bauman at (513) 262-0345 or email him at derekbauman@gmail.com. This is for the streetcar tour only!

Cincinnati Dinner Train1

All Aboard Ohio members will be the first customers of the Cincinnati Dinner Train to ride in the Moonlight Dome. Here is the car’s heritage:

The Moonlight Dome was part of a C&O stillborn train called the “Chessie” which was to run between Cincinnati and New York. This new train was conceived in 1946 with the cars being built by the Budd company in 1948. By 1949 plans within the C&O had changed and the “Chessie” train concept was abandoned. There had been six “stradodomes” built for the C&O, three end of train observation dome coaches and three mid train dome sleepers. These domes were specially built so as to be able to go into Washington D.C. through the tunnel. They were several inches lower than the standard vista domes used by Northern Pacific and other rail lines.

The three mid-train dome sleepers were sold to the B&O in 1949 and re-named the “Moonlight Dome”, “Starlight Dome” and “Sunlight Dome”. Each had three staterooms, one crew bedroom under the dome and five roomettes in the A end of the car. Moonlight Dome served on the Lakeshore Limited and the Shenandoah line throughout its career. Once in private hands, the crew lounge/work area under the dome was converted to a kitchen and the five roomettes were removed so as to allow for a lower lounge.

Moonlight Dome is the only Amtrak-compliant stratodome on the rails. A few of the other stradodomes are still in existence but in need of total overhaul. After being sold by Amtrak in the early 1980s, Moonlight Dome has been through four owners. In January 2014, Brian Collins and Harry Davis, who also own the private car Birch Grove, purchased Moonlight Dome. Extensive underbody work to the trucks was done in July of 2014 and massive interior improvements are planned throughout 2014 and 2015.