CLEVELAND — Isaiah Kent was left stunned after the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority moved a bus stop directly in front of his Union Avenue home without warning.
Kent showed News 5 the new bus stop, which is located at the bottom of the walkway to his house. Kent said he became so frustrated with RTA riders waiting in front of his house at all hours of the day and night and concerned about the safety of his family, he removed the bus stop sign and took it some 500 feet down Union Avenue to its original location.
“I shook it loose and moved it down there, because that’s where it’s supposed to be, away from a house," Kent said. “With riders waiting out front, my dog is always barking, waking up my daughter, waking me up, then I got to figure out is there somebody standing out here.”
“And now that certain laws are passed where anyone can carry a weapon, you’re not about to put my daughter in jeopardy, you’re not about to put my wife in jeopardy, you’re not going put my sister in jeopardy, and you sure as hell not going to put me in jeopardy.”
Marvetta Rutherford, who is a Route 15 GCRTA rider on Union Avenue, said riders were never consulted about the new bus stop location. Rutherford is concerned there is not adequate space for riders in front of Kent's home to keep riders safely away from traffic.
“This was so dumb, I’m sure the children and the dog that live here could have done a better job of installation," Rutherford said. “The placement, it’s just totally egregious that they think that this is okay to do such a thing in this neighborhood or any neighborhood.”
“The bus drivers didn’t even know that it had been installed. This is just dumb, now they have to come back and cap that off and totally take it out.”
Chris Stocking with rider group Clevelanders for Public Transit told News 5 that the bus stop move points to a much bigger issue with GCRTA and its inadequate communication with riders. Stocking said there is only one rider on the 10-member RTA Community Advisory Board who is an actual RTA rider. Stocking said his group sent a list of recommended improvements to GCRTA on Feb. 3, but the group is still waiting for a response.
“RTA needs to explain why the stop was moved, what’s the rationale for doing this, and they need better customer service," Stocking said. “This is just one example that may be RTA needs to look at how they communicate with riders.”
"You took away all the real-time displays in the bus shelters, when are those going to come back? On the advisory board, it's hard to be one out of ten, you need other people who can support you on the board, you just can’t be a lone wolf.”
Greater Cleveland RTA quickly responded to our story and agreed it will move the bus stop to another location, and issued the following statement:
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority installed a bus stop in an accessible and pedestrian safe location, largely based on its proximity to the signalized intersection of East 110th Street and Union Avenue. However, we understand the outlying concerns expressed by some of our customers and will therefore reexamine the area and adjust the bus stop placement to ensure the continued crossing safety of the public, while keeping the stop near the traffic signal.
Meanwhile, Kent had just one request for the Greater Cleveland RTA.
“Figure out who is in the area first, do some recon, figure out what’s going on before you start making decisions," Kent said. “If you want this, knock on the door and ask, ask us is it okay if we put this here.”
“Okay, let me put a bus stop in front of your house and see how you like it, without asking you.”