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New rapid transit initiative, Clark-Fulton plan, ripens West 25th Street corridor for investment

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Posted at 5:17 PM, Oct 15, 2021

CLEVELAND — From Old Brooklyn to Ohio City to the neighborhoods in between, a re-design of the West 25th Street corridor proposed by the GCRTA could have a profound impact for decades to come. On the same day that "transformational" plans for the Clark-Fulton neighborhood were released, the Cleveland Planning Commission also approved the 25Connects initiative, a Euclid Avenue HealthLine-esque transit-oriented development plan that includes protected bike lanes and dedicated bus-only lanes spanning from Old Brooklyn to Ohio City.

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The Cleveland Planning Commission approved the GCRTA’s plans for a special zoning overlay for transit-oriented developments along the three mile stretch of West 25th Street. The zoning overlay creates new parking requirements in addition to a more streamlined process for dense, walkable, mixed-use developments in the corridor.

The potential new developments are expected to be the byproduct of a new rapid transit line along West 25th Street. Although 25Connects requires extensive design and engineering work, a dedicated bus-only lane for much of the corridor. In portions that are highly constrained, a peak use, bus-only lane may be more feasible. Many have billed the plan as the West Aide equivalent to the $220 million Euclid Avenue HealthLine project.

The 25Connects project will cost an estimated $40 to $60 million, according to the GCRTA and could potentially receive significant funding through a federal transit program.

“It will be valuable to the area. Where I live [along West 25th], there are a lot of seniors. It’s easier for them to get where they need to go if they know the bus is going to be expanding and quicker,” said Arnetta Coleman, who rides the RTA almost every day. “It’s going to be even easier and quicker and better. The quicker, the better.”

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The dedicated bus lane could cut commute times by as much as 20% and perhaps even more during peak times.

The approval of the 25Connects program followed the approval of a new master plan for the Clark-Fulton neighborhood, which is bisected by West 25th Street.

Crafted through extensive public input, the Clark-Fulton plan pitches the neighborhood as an eclectic, vibrant center of the city’s Hispanic neighborhood, which ranks among the city’s fastest growing demographic. The key components of the master plan include more trails, paths and greenways, in addition to protections against gentrification. According to the presentation used at Friday’s planning commission meeting, nearly half of the neighborhoods residents live in poverty.

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The neighborhood, however, has been at the center of more than a billion dollars in investment, namely an expansion of MetroHealth, which has also been the catalyst of other private investment in the area.