Monday, January 25, 2010

Cleveland Public Square- Cleveland, Ohio

The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) included the Cleveland Public Square in its Hall of Shame, because you have to take your life in your own hands to reach it across busy streets. Looking at old postcards, you can see that the streets have always been wide, although when there were just streetcars and very few automobiles, it was much easier to cross. Still, I think it's fair to say that the design was never great as a public square.

The square is actually a quadrant of squares, separated by busy streets. The original design was probably ideal for accommodating the various streetcar lines, but today it doesn't work very well. Recently there has been talk of consolidating the quadrants to make one square. PPS has also suggested slowing the traffic and narrowing the pedestrian crossings.

This is a picture of the Square in about 1906.

This card and the next one suggest very little traffic and relatively easy access to the Square.

Here you can see the quadrant and the streetcars.

Today, Cleveland's Public Square is a missed opportunity. I feel confident though, that the City of Cleveland will work to transform this square into the vibrant and lively center it should be.

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