Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Cleveland

HUD Tells Cleveland: Don’t Let Opportunity Corridor Go “Horribly Wrong”

2:13 PM EDT on July 7, 2015

It was a sad day in Washington, DC, last year when Harriet Tregoning left the DC Office of Planning. But it’s becoming clear that she's a great addition at HUD.

HUD's Harriet Tregoning told Cleveland to take the opportunity to make their Opportunity Corridor something better than the commuter highway it's designed as. Photo: ##https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasngo/5100802268/in/photolist-psJvB2-eWV1pu-eWUZ9q-eWUXMA-dTRgGv-dzRZUZ-dzRZKH-dzXt2Q-dzXsXG-dzRZzR-dzRZxe-dzRZtP-bQmfVa-bBrA6s-bQmfRe-bQmfNX-bQmfL8-bBrzWQ-bQmfFR-9YztWt-8LJWNG-898wtA-4NHG45##Thomas Le Ngo/flickr##
Photo: Thomas Le Ngo/Flickr
HUD's Harriet Tregoning told Cleveland to take the opportunity to make their Opportunity Corridor something better than the commuter highway it's designed as. Photo: ##https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasngo/5100802268/in/photolist-psJvB2-eWV1pu-eWUZ9q-eWUXMA-dTRgGv-dzRZUZ-dzRZKH-dzXt2Q-dzXsXG-dzRZzR-dzRZxe-dzRZtP-bQmfVa-bBrA6s-bQmfRe-bQmfNX-bQmfL8-bBrzWQ-bQmfFR-9YztWt-8LJWNG-898wtA-4NHG45##Thomas Le Ngo/flickr##

In her capacity as the agency's principal deputy assistant secretary for community development, Tregoning issued a stern warning to the city of Cleveland and Ohio DOT last week not to mess up the road project known as the "Opportunity Corridor." Clearly she fears they will do just that.

"You could either get it gloriously right or horribly wrong," Tregoning said during a visit to Cleveland, according to the Plain Dealer.

In its quest to cut a faster path for drivers from the freeway to University Circle, a major employment center, Ohio DOT plans to spend more than $100 million a mile and destroy 76 homes to build a five-lane, 35-mph road. If you want to build a project like that in 2015, it clearly helps to cloak it under the guise of "opportunity."

But Tregoning recognizes the project for what it is: suburban-style road-building in an already-depressed area of a city that desperately needs a different kind of growth. Talking to the City Club, a civic engagement organization, she urged local leaders to see the corridor as an opportunity for development and employment, not just a road for commuters to get to work fast. And that would require changes to the road design itself.

"I love my friends at the state DOTs, but they often overbuild things," she said. "They build for a traffic projection that is very unlikely to happen." Indeed, traffic in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County rose just 0.02 percent a year between 2000 and 2013. There’s no justification for building such a wide and fast road inside the city limits where walkable development is called for.

Tregoning warned that building a five-lane, high-speed road through the city’s most depressed neighborhoods flies in the face of a regional plan, funded by HUD through its Partnership for Sustainable Communities with U.S. DOT and the EPA. The plan, called Vibrant NEO, seeks to make Northeast Ohio greener and more economically competitive by reversing the cycle of sprawl and investing in established communities.

Construction is already underway on the Opportunity Corridor, and ODOT says it's too late to make any changes. The project is scheduled for completion in 2019. Something drastic will have to change for Cleveland to heed Tregoning’s words and get it "gloriously right" after all. Otherwise, she said, it would be “as if Vibrant NEO never existed.”

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Monday’s Headlines Likes Stadiums Without Parking

The lack of parking at Kansas City's new soccer stadium is a feature, not a bug. Plus other news.

February 26, 2024

Should Communities That Suppress Housing Lose Their Road Funding?

A Colorado bill would require sprawling cities to take action to increase their affordable housing supply before they collect money to build more roads — and some want to take it national.

February 26, 2024

Why ‘Safe Systems’ Are Not Enough to End Road Violence

Two years into the National Roadway Safety Strategy, why hasn't America made more progress towards Vision Zero?

February 26, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Are So Fresh and So Clean

The only thing Americans love more than a car is a clean car.

February 23, 2024

CalBike: Tell the Legislature Hands Off Active Transportation Funding

Calbike has an action alert that allows its members to write directly to legislators with their feelings on whether or not the ATP funding should be restored before the legislature votes on the budget in June.

February 22, 2024
See all posts