Sunday, April 28, 2013

Intermodal transit - 1934 to today

The intersection of Harvard and Broadway Avenues once hosted a busy intermodal transit hub, where commuters made their connections between the Pennsylvania Railroad passenger trains and local streetcars running to all points in the city.


By contrast, here's a Street View of the intersection as it looks today:

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One can make out the streetcar tracks still coming through the asphalt. Here was a place where commuters by the thousands per day would make their train changes to get home or get to another city. Did our culture change, or was it forced to change by that layer of asphalt poured over those streetcar tracks?

One such person responsible for the change in transportation habits in Cleveland was Albert S. Porter, the long-serving Cuyahoga County Engineer who was best known for progressive acts like bulldozing entire ethnic neighborhoods in favor of freeway interchanges, stopping downtown subway plans even after voter approval, and ultimately shutting down the streetcar system in 1954. For some hilarious further reading, check out this vitriolic, yet amusing essay about Porter, courtesy the KSU's Collective Urban Design Collective (appearing in the book "Cleveland Stories: True Until Proven Otherwise," pub. 2011).

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