Thursday, March 5, 2009

Opportunity Corridor and the Inner Belt Bridge

So far the crowd's favorite part of the speech was when the mayor identified four infrastructure projects as really important to our economy: a new Inner Belt bridge, the Opportunity Corridor, the West Shoreway and (this one's new to me) the riverbed road.

That's good, because everyone wants a new Inner Belt Bridge. Most every commuter I know is scared of the current bridge, now that the state has had to lighten its load, though few feel they can easily avoid the bridge.

Years ago, Jackson was not enthusiastic about the Opportunity Corridor, the proposed boulevard to connect I-490 and University Circle. The fear was he might kill it if it took out a single home in his old ward. Now he's behind it -- good news for the city.

Same with the West Shoreway, which was a Jane Campbell/Chris Ronayne vision. Jackson's commitment to the lakefront plan has been questioned sometimes, but here he's embracing a big part of it.

(Update: In the Q&A, Jackson explained his ambivalence about the Opportunity Corridor. He said he doesn't want it to bisect the southeast side and isolate any neighborhoods, as freeways have done in other parts of the city. A valid concern, though I think the boulevard would make a now-isolated part of Cleveland, the "Forgotten Triangle," much more accessible. Here's my essay about why the Opportunity Corridor should be built, from December 2004.)

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