Title

CLEVELAND'S RED LINE RAPID: NEW LIFE FOR A RAIL TRANSIT HYBRID

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2000

Subject Area

infrastructure - station, land use - planning, mode - rail

Keywords

Strategies, Strategic planning, Rehabilitation (Maintenance), Rapid transit extensions, Rapid transit, Rail transit stations, Rail transit, Priorities, Objectives, Line extensions (Rail transit), Heavy rail transit, Goals, Cleveland (Ohio)

Abstract

The Red Line of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is a 30.3-km (19.2-mi) grade-separated, high-platform electric rail transit line running almost exclusively on railroad rights-of-way. Long assigned to the rapid transit category, the Red Line has many aspects in common, and even shares tracks, with light rail and also resembles inner-city commuter rail. Opened in 1955, the Red Line started service at a time when its urban market was entering a long period of decline. Although designed for high capacity, the Red Line has never had the opportunity to deliver on its promise. Nevertheless, the line serves an unusually wide range of metropolitan travel destinations and has the potential to develop into a regional rail line that can be a model for other cities. After years of stagnation, the Red Line is on the verge of a turnaround. The line is in the midst of a station rebuilding program and is to be extended into the suburbs beyond its west-side terminus at the airport. These developments are examined here, and other strategies are proposed that could further contribute to the Red Line's revival.