Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Euclid Ave. is open

At last, Euclid Avenue is open again, all the way from University Circle to downtown. I took it to work today for my first look at the all-but-finished Euclid Corridor project.

The street looks completely different from the wide, empty, forlorn, tired road of a couple years ago. One lane of car traffic in each direction weaves between a bike lane, left-turn lanes, bus lanes, medians with bus stops. It all looks sleek and silvery. Even the industrial no-man's land just east of E. 55th is spruced up a little, with a banner mural and a new wood fence decorating a derelict building.

We'll see if the $168 million cost was worth it: if businesses do redevelop along the new streetscape, if the electric buses and faster bus commute attract more riders who use it as a link between downtown and the hospitals. Also, some bugs have to be worked out (such as better signs for left turns at intersections such as E. 55th -- I got stuck behind a guy who didn't figure this out.)

But as a driving experience, I like the new Euclid Avenue. Our long-barren Main Street looks attractive and cosmopolitan again. My 12-minute drive, from Mayfield to E. 14th, showed off some of the city at its best, from the fountain-filled plaza between the new Cleveland Clinic buildings to the straight-on view of the downtown skyline, opening like towering gates at Playhouse Square.

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