RTA service changes coming to CH and UH
On June 13, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) will introduce its NEXT GEN service revisions, which will bring major changes to Cleveland Heights and University Heights.
In 2019, RTA hired Jarett Walker and Associates to assist with redesigning its route network to improve service frequency and connectivity within the constraints of its financial resources. This type of streamlining has become common in the transit industry, with complete network redesigns in Houston and Columbus among the most notable.
NEXT GEN will bring some improvements to transit service in the Heights, but there will also be cuts. Service frequency will be increased on some lines, while service to some parts of Cleveland Heights will be eliminated altogether.
The Mayfield Road bus (line 9) exemplifies NEXT GEN’s positive and negative effects. For the first time in years, Heights cities will have direct service to downtown Cleveland—on lines 9 and 11—but the routes to downtown will be circuitous. Making a transfer will often still be quicker. The current line 9 ends its westbound trips in the center of the Cleveland Clinic campus, at East 93rd Street and Euclid Avenue, while the NEXT GEN line 9 will serve the Clinic only from stops along East 105th Street and Hough Avenue.
Rush-hour trips on line 9 now skip Severance Circle and travel between Richmond Road and the Mayfield Red Line station in 22 minutes. Under NEXT GEN, rush-hour trips all will enter Severance, increasing trip time to 28 minutes. The change is necessary because line 37, which now serves Severance during rush hour, will no longer enter Cleveland Heights. Weekday frequency on the 9 will improve, with 41 weekday runs in each direction, compared to the current 34.
Similar changes will come to Cedar Road. The current line 32 will be discontinued and replaced with a rerouted line 11, and the number of weekday westbound runs will increase from 30 to 39. As with line 9, service to the center of the Cleveland Clinic campus will be discontinued, with the 11 serving the Clinic from stops along East 105th Street and Quincy Avenue. The trip to Tower City from Cedar and Lee roads will take a lengthy 41 minutes.
The most drastic change will be the revisions to what is now the Monticello-Euclid Heights (7) line. The 7 now comes down Monticello Boulevard to Mayfield Road and connects to the center of the Cleveland Clinic campus (East 93rd and Euclid) by way of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard. Beginning June 13, the 7 will not come west of Taylor Road. Westbound 7 buses will turn north on Taylor and end their runs at the Stokes-Windermere Red Line station in East Cleveland. There will no longer be any RTA service on Coventry Road or Euclid Heights Boulevard.
As noted above, the East 185th-Taylor (37) line, which had already seen reduced service in Cleveland Heights, will cease serving the city altogether. The rerouted 7 line will replace a small part of the lost 37 service.
Changes will be less dramatic to other bus lines. The only 24-hour service to the area, the Warrensville (41) line, will be relatively unchanged, with some added service on Sundays. Weekday frequency on the Lakeview-Lee (40) line will be significantly improved, and the East 200th-Green (34) bus, which runs along the eastern border of University Heights, will continue as a limited-service, weekday-only line, but will be extended to Tri-C East from its current terminus at Green Road.
For more information on NEXT GEN, visit www.riderta.com/nextgen.
Vince Reddy works at LAND studio and has lived in Cleveland Heights for 24 years.