Make ODOT Listen To Us For Once


Wed 10/9 @ 6:15pm

By Joe Baur

The Ohio Department Of Transportation is now accepting comments conveniently through email regarding the Opportunity Corridor. While this may be a practice in soliciting citizen comment merely for the sake of pretending to care (ODOT’s history warrants the pessimism), I’m encouraging everyone to write in to Amanda Lee at to share your comments and/or concerns. And because these letters are easy to ignore by public officials, I’ve decided to use my venue here at Cool Cleveland to share my letter publicly.

I don’t purport to be an expert in urban planning. My thoughts are generated based on research and what far more educated folks have had to say on the project with a dash of firsthand experience in what it’s like to live car-free in an auto-oriented town.

Good Morning,

My name is Joe Baur, a 27-year-old Clevelander living downtown with some comments on the Opportunity Corridor.

I moved back to Cleveland two years ago because I was excited about what I saw as a new, progressive direction the city was heading in. The Euclid Corridor project proved to be a success, seemingly providing the physical proof this city so desperately needed that the future of American cities is in alternative modes of transportation. With that in mind, I picked out an apartment downtown specifically because it’s located close to the Rapid and has a HealthLine stop right outside.

Since then, my perception of the direction our city is heading in has change for the worst.

We’ve welcomed more parking downtown by adding a casino parking garage, the city has not followed through on promises for more bike lanes; and now ODOT, the city and groups led by suburban residents are trying to sell us on the Opportunity Corridor. This is a new road that we cannot afford. And since my generation is the one who will have to be paying for this road, I feel the need to say something.

First, we absolutely do not need a new road in Cleveland. We have plenty that need attention as is. Current infrastructure is failing across the city, and I question the funding for the upkeep of already existing roads. Federal funding, regardless of the government shutdown, is waning. What is ODOT’s plan once this money goes away? The Opportunity Corridor will only add to our existing infrastructure problems.

Also, this road is going through a part of town where people largely rely on public transportation. How can ODOT honestly say this project is about them and not suburban commuters when many neighborhood residents won’t even be able to access the road? RTA has already said the proposed corridor would not be a priority for them.

Second, ODOT is trying to sell this project as a boulevard, not a highway. Yes, the stated speed limit is 35mph. But anyone who has ever driven in Cleveland knows nobody pays attention to the speed limit. Ontario Avenue off the highway downtown has posted signs for 25mph, yet cars are encouraged to go faster with wide lanes and they happily do so. Not to mention the proposed sound barriers reek of highway, not a street or boulevard where businesses will flourish in a hard-hit part of Cleveland.

Young Clevelanders, the very ones breathing new life into our urban core, have spoken loudly against this project and others like it that contributes to our existing, unsustainable infrastructure. Sweet Moses! When will the state government and ODOT listen to us? People are driving less. Plenty of people who cannot afford a car, $10,000 per year, are forced to own one because of projects like this. We need to stop with the 1950’s thinking of getting people out of the city to the suburbs as quickly as possible and start with a fresh, 21st Century perspective if we want Cleveland to thrive today and in the years to come.

I strongly urge ODOT to cancel this project and redirect the $300-plus million designated for the Opportunity Corridor toward redeveloping our existing infrastructure for alternative modes of transportation.

Thank you for your time.



That’s the long and short of it. If you’re as fired up about this project as I am, then come on down to the Cleveland Museum of Art for a panel discussion on the project Wed 10/9 at 6:15 p.m. Cheer on writer and activist Angie Schmitt as she takes on the David role against the Goliaths of Cleveland’s “We know better than you young people” crowd.


Joe Baur is a freelance writer, filmmaker and satirist with a diverse array of interests including travel, adventure, craft beer, health, urban issues, culture and politics. He ranks his allegiances in the order of Cleveland, the state of Ohio and the Rust Belt, and enjoys a fried egg on a variety of meats. Joe has a B.A. in Mass Communication with a focus on production from Miami University. Follow him at and on Twitter @BaurJoe.




Cleveland, OH 44106

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2 Responses to “Make ODOT Listen To Us For Once”

  1. In a SENSE Nick Perry IS right about UNIV.CIRCLE,etc.IS a real rabbit run especially during rushhour and considering importance of THAT along with the ed thing,MedMart,etc. gov officials to rest are gonna bend over backwards to accommodate all that…may or may not like idea of burbite stand far as jobs,income,and all that but is true…LIMITS as to how much ridershare,RTA,staggered work hours,telecommuting can accomplish… UC is THIS crown jewel of sorts..AND LOT of ed over there which spits out LOT of the coveted demographics…thou ENOUGH of THAT gets dispersed thru area or REST of country so hey…LEAST $ in the area via student days…PUTTING up that FANCY new CWRU CC med school bldg among other things…

    Quite frankly politicos,bureaucrats,bondholders LIKE the $ that comes in…PARTLY explains WHY the ped bridge thing far as good ol Higbees CasinoCentral which OTHERWISE would have maybe stayed empty,turned into parking lot or some wiggedout WGW WTH bizarre ‘public endeavor’ which well CONSIDERING what WENT THRU with CUYAHOGA COUNTY corruption mess which quite frankly I VIEW THAT as certain interests who upended the whole apple cart and put area thru this ringer to…

    THROW in aging populations and rest of it,etc. who will need or likely use more said medical services,etc….LIMITS to satellite campus med centers. THOSE ARE limited service facilities…

    So long as the imminent domain residents,biz gets a fair shake and deal out of it…ARE ways around all THAT..,.vouchers,’trades’,rent support,etc.

    Far as ACTUAL jobs,biz opportunities for ACTUAL hoodies along THAT route… FAST FOOD, gas station,car wash,etc.etc. MAYBE other but I don’t see if IF is ‘other’ I would TEND to view THAT in conjunction with medical miracle industrial complex aisle over there….IF helps fill in EXISTING bldgs.,etc. and brings NEW life to them then GREAT….

    GOT mixed emotions on the leveling but at end of day got too many unneeded,outmoded underused bldgs.,etc.and if this helps eliminate some of that then hey…YEAH get SOME tax $ such as it is…if not in foreclosure,probate,LANDbank,tax abated (READ whatever into THAT….Yuppies to rest sure are…). AT end of the day poo pathetic average slobs getting shoved farther out or to SIDES (away from lake…for as long as still got folks who have $ to build buy ALONG lake…). WARPED way all THAT fancy shindig thing FINALLY ends and natives SPARED rest of it….and FINALLY get whatever jobs,biz,etc. THEY can get…warehouse,pizza shop,’polishers’,etc.

    The rich burb women thing stopping the PAST roadway extension effort SEEMS surreal,wild considering area but then hey…SEEN that before…SAD to say at ONE point WERE rich people in that area, along Millionaires Row aka Euclid Ave,etc. Wellll…I DONT have to go into all THAT history thou DO have BIG McMansions popping up in bizarre spots IN THAT area which SEEMS a weird mix of rural bucolic (ENOUGH of are TURNED back INTO woods,etc. THINK like portions of DETROIT)…

    Far as rich folks,biz,etc. JUST enough of these mgmt. types,biz owners,etc. who do VERY well thank You very much ….semi shocked THAT many…TRY tracking how THEY get THEIR $…gov contracts,medico,whutever left of viable old business,etc.

    Far as Mr.Kanter…maybe snide and snarky but afraid NP closer to the truth…

  2. ARCHITECTURALLY Litt&Co. maybe a genius but in other ways a idget…Give HIM cred for image thing but in a down n dirty dog city with the crazycrap going on,etc.which took on life as own as were and THEN wonder WHY a OHIO steps in,issues court rulings it does,a mr.Fitzgerald gets elected,cops are way they are and all that…LIMITS to Yuppie thing and even medical,ed thing…thou least HELPS lot of the wrecks,and provides SOME sense of organization,mgmt of newbie ‘parkland’…the natives? I feel for em….culturecrud race thing to rest of it but finally… Which is NOT fair to them cuz LOT done to them in so many ways but…I THINK enough politicos,voters,etc. finally semi threw in towel on that poo crew…heck..THIRD of OWN race,voters threw in towel on own… literally have to wait for drugs,jail to finally beat daylights out of the slobs to point where FINALLY stop doing that huha…I HATED to get into all THAT bad baggage but it lurks in the background…

    FINALLY gonna run out of projects,money,need,politico will,voter patience,residents,TAXING authority,etc. quite frankly I view fair amt o fthis as grab the $ while can and RUN…or get the project done… IN A SENSE laid all the groundwork in every sense of the word… MedMart to rest…let it grow..then harvest… thou gosh ONLY knows WHAT kind of techie world gonna have by THEN… FLIT thru any sci mag…You will see what I mean…

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