Cleveland-Akron Commuter Train Would Cost $171 Million

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A northeast Ohio traffic study recommends a $171 million commuter train to relieve congestion between Cleveland and Akron.

If the recommendations of the $2.5 million study were approved, they would serve as a blueprint for how nearly $1 billion is spent in the corridor.

"This study lays out how the region will develop over the next 25 years," said the project manager, Kirt W. Conrad, director of planning and development for Metro Regional Transit Authority.

The study by Parsons Brinckerhoff, one of the nation's largest transportation engineering firms, was paid mostly by the federal government and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The firm concluded that spending $1.2 billion to expand northeast Ohio highways would still leave the Cleveland-Akron corridor congested during rush hour.

Parsons Brinckerhoff recommends a combination of highway improvements, a commuter train, express bus service upgrades and traffic management technology.

Although many routes have been considered, the study recommends a commuter rail from north Akron to Cleveland with stops in Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Macedonia, Bedford, Garfield Heights at Interstate 480 and three stops in Cleveland.

Some of the stations would include park-and-ride lots for easier access by car.

A second phase of the rail would include downtown Akron and Canton.

A trip from Akron to Cleveland would cost $3 one way and take about an hour. The train would run only during peak commuting hours.

The study projects 2,700 daily riders, mostly commuters who choose the train over their cars. About 27,000 commute from Summit County to Cuyahoga County daily, according to the 1990 U.S. census.

Although the recommendation is a significant step toward securing federal funding, a commuter rail might not be ready for another five to 10 years.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)