Douglas Guth | Fresh Water Cleveland

An artist's rendering of a proposed four-mile streetcar line from the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center to a new center at Westminster Avenue and Harbor Boulevard in Garden Grove. (City of Santa Ana)Cathy Poilpré may be the quintessential transit rider. She lives in Lakewood near the recently upgraded 55 bus route that whisks her to her job as director of marketing and communications at Cleveland Public Library. Poilpré also rides the rapid and uses the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority‘s (GCRTA) free trolleys to attend lunchtime concerts at Trinity Cathedral or meetings at Cleveland State or Playhouse Square.

Having a dedicated bus line available during rush hour is a convenient alternative to dealing with morning gridlock or mushing through snow and ice supplied by a typical Cleveland winter, Poilpré declares.

“I get dropped off right in front of my job,” she says. “I actually get to work faster since we glide past all of the cars sitting in traffic.”

Though Poilpré is mostly satisfied with her riding experience, Cleveland’s public transportation system, and its rapid service in particular, suffers in comparison to the other cities she’s called home.

The CPL director, a veteran of the Washington D.C. metro during her four years in the nation’s capital, calls out RTA’s limited destinations and small parking lots as factors that could curtail those interested in giving public transit chance.

“If the system was easy and practical, tourists and residents alike would use it instead of driving,” says Poilpré. “With downtown Cleveland developing, more young people would be prone to do without a car if they could get anywhere, anytime.” Read more