Routes released: RTA plans for possible reopening of Public Square on March 6

Posted at 3:23 PM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 16:05:25-05

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority plans to start routing buses through Public Square beginning March 6.

The RTA released the planned routes Thursday afternoon.

Buses have not been allowed in Public Square since it underwent renovation over the summer. 

Bus access remained closed even after the newly renovated square reopened at the end of June.  

City officials said it was going to stay closed until they were able to analyze traffic patterns in the area "to determine if there [was] an opportunity to further realign or restrict traffic on Superior Avenue."

In December, the Federal Transit Administration told city and RTA officials they would need to pay back $12 million of funding granted in 2004 for the Euclid Avenue HealthLine bus-rapid-transit project due to a breach of contract.

The RTA has repeatedly asked for an extension to pay back the debt. The final extension was granted on Feb. 20. Now, the RTA must reopen the square or pay the debt by March 7. 

When News 5 asked if the City of Cleveland would reopen the square to buses on March 6, a city spokesperson said: "This is a process in which the city is focused on the operational and financial issues as well as addressing the safety and security concerns."

A safety study, commissioned by the RTA and released last month, found that not allowing bus traffic in the area actually increases the risk to pedestrians. 

Cleveland Chief Operating Officer Darnell Brown called it a "premature release of information" and said the city will need a "clear understanding and assessment of risk" before they will reopen Public Square to buses. \

If all goes as the RTA planned, four bus routes will make stops within the square on Superior Avenue: the 3, 26, 38, 81.

These are the same bus routes that were originally planned to serve Superior Avenue after construction.

All trolleys will continue to go around the Square.

View a map of the routes here.