The View From 32


SEPTEMBER 23, 2007

The trip home

Lake view

Watching the NH to OH countryside scroll by under the plane's wing as it neared sunset, I saw the unmistakable long thin Finger Lakes in New York State.

Lake seen from plane window, looking southNot long afterwards I saw another large lake that surely was Lake Chataqua, a place where we vacationed several times when the kids were teens. Something about it didn't look familiar, though, including the road that crossed about 1/3 of the way down from its northern tip, closest to the wing in this picture.

Still, the general location seemed about right.

Nope. It took me a big of googling to find out for sure, but what I took a picture of was Mosquito Creek Lake in Ohio, quite a ways further west than New York's Lake Chataqua.

Trains, stations, passengers

I caught a Rapid at the airport just a few minutes after my plane landed. Couldn't be much more convenient. There were no more than twenty passengers in the entire trains, and only one other traveler coming from the airport. What does it take to make Clevelanders (and other Americans) ride public transit?

Inside Rapid car, people getting on Here in Cleveland the RTA (Regional Transit Authority) has spent tens of millions of dollars rebuilding stations along the Red Line that runs from the airport to near the far eastern edge of the city.

The new stations are attractive, architecturally interesting, bright, and much more comfortable than those they replaced. Still, not many people ride the Rapid outside of rush hour.

On this early Sunday night I saw only two or three people get on at any stations, including this mother and child who boarded at the West 65th/Ecocity station.

When the stations are renovated there's always talk of development that will spring up around them, but I see no evidence of that happening. It would be easy to check ridership statistics to find out if new stations even translate into more passengers, let alone new development, but I don't remember ever seeing these statistics.

I like the new stations, but shouldn't we be looking at what effect they have on ridership before investing millions more?

West Side Market

West Side Market building and clocktowerLooking across Lorain Avenue from the Ohio City Rapid Station, the West Side Market was a familiar sight glowing against the last light of twilight.

I crossed the street and walked alongside the building. I could feel a faint warmth radiating from the brick and masonry walls. Facing south, they'd been absorbing heat from the sun all day long.

I cut down Market Street where small groups were enjoying the sidewalk tables at the wine bar and the Flying Fig. Dave's parking lot was nearly empty as a few employees wrapped things up for the day. Further down Bridge Ave. both Heck's and Johnny Mango had a few customers.

I was happy to see that Harb's (now called Fulton Foods) was still open. It's one of the last "mom & pop" stores in the neighborhood. There used to be at least four within six blocks of my house, now it's just Harb's. I bought a small bottle of milk to have with my morning coffee.

I turned north on a very quiet 32nd St. and walked up the street. I picked up the day's Plain Dealer from my front porch, unlocked the side door, and was home. Only one new message on the answering machine... hallelujah!

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