There is a sign up along Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland. Even though the sign is invisible, everyone who travels on Euclid Avenue can read it clearly.
The sign says "Automobiles Stay Away".
And so today the once proud great downtown Euclid Avenue corridor has been murdered by our public officials.
The Euclid Avenue corridor project was supposed to breathe new life into one of the most important commercial sectors of downtown Cleveland.
However, the design and construction program running from Public Square East all the way up to University Circle discourages automobile traffic and unfortunately, this means that Clevelanders are avoiding Euclid Avenue like the plague.
First of all, the world's most imposing median strip has been constructed up-and-down Euclid Avenue. This median strip is not just a mere 6 inches in height. This median strip is much higher off the ground. In fact, you can injure yourself if you were to accidentally slip standing near its edge.
The new median strip appears to have been constructed to make absolutely certain that no one can turn left on Euclid Avenue into any of the various businesses. In addition, few intersections allow you to turn left even at a traffic light.
Automobile traffic is limited to one single lane in each direction. A new bus line encourages the use of public transportation by setting aside most of the surface on Euclid Avenue for specially designated bus only lanes.
Street parking is now limited to just a few spaces.
The net result of this so-called forward-looking design is as follows: everyone avoids Euclid Avenue when driving. You cannot easily arrive at a Euclid Avenue destination if you're behind the wheel.
Many businesses have disappeared because of this remarkable impact. The famous parades up-and-down Euclid Avenue are of course a thing of the past because of the giant median strip.
Jane Herak, who operated a now shuttered restaurant just off E. 13th St. and Euclid Avenue, offers the following comment: "I have never before in my life seen a project that was so effectively designed to destroy the business life of a region."
There are legions of other business operators who agree with Jane but who are afraid to come forward because they fear retribution from the political establishment that wasted our tax dollars on this hairbrained project. A bunch of eggheads must have viewed the automobile as passe, likely to disappear off the scene by the year 2011.
They were right. At least on Euclid Avenue downtown, cars have disappeared because no one is stupid enough to try to navigate this impossible stretch. Unfortunately, viable small businesses on Euclid avenue are disappearing as well.
Years ago, Euclid Avenue was the toast of the town, featuring the homes of people with names such as Rockefeller, Mather, Hannah, and Severance. Today, you can view it as a place where your political leadership spent $200 million to bury the commercial business community. Welcome to Ghosttown, USA.