City still wants Public Square closed to bus traffic despite findings of study requested by mayor

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland city officials said Tuesday they still have concerns about potential acts of terrorism in Public Square if it is reopened to bus traffic.

A study done by a safety and security firm about the closure of Public Square stated that security and terrorism concerns exist whether Superior Avenue is open or closed, however.

The study, completed by K&J Safety and Security Consulting Services, Inc., was requested by Mayor Frank Jackson's office. A summary of the study was released Tuesday.

Study suggests Public Square bus traffic should resume on Superior

It also states closing Superior Avenue to RTA usage has increased the operational risk to RTA operations, pedestrians and motor vehicles at 15 pedestrian crossings and five intersections around the perimeter roadway.

The city of Cleveland responded Tuesday night at a news conference, where Police Chief Calvin Williams and Chief Operating Officer Darnell Brown addressed the media and shared their concerns.

"We cannot identify a huge security concern and not do anything to mitigate it," Williams said, of potential threats to Public Square. "We thought we were still in that process of evaluating and making decisions on those (concerns) before we come to a final product and say, 'Alright, this is it,' and it seems like some people have jumped the gun and said that we're at that process already."

The threat of "vehicular attacks on crowds" was a specific example brought up in the press conference.

Brown also repeatedly said he had not seen the full study, not even a draft of it. He also said it was his understanding that the study wasn't completed and wouldn't be until Friday.

"There is no study at this point in time. There was no study if you've got a study give it to me," said Brown.

He said he only received a one-page report from the executive summary of the study.

"I don't have anything other than the one-page document that we got today," said Brown.

A spokesperson for the RTA released a statement after the news conference: "The City was provided more comprehensive draft portions of the study on both Jan. 30 and when it met by teleconference with K&J on Feb. 3, with the understanding that portions of the report likely would be ready to be distributed to the RTA Board on Feb. 7. The final report is expected on Feb. 10.  K&J indicated that their final report will not effectively change the conclusions outlined in their summary."

The statement also said that the RTA and the safety and security firm believe the information K&J provided does address the safety concerns of the city.

The Federal Transit Agency has given RTA until Feb. 21 to either reopen the square or pay back $12 million of a federal grant.

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