Guest Post: Abogo Looks at Cleveland Gas Prices

July 20th, 2011

Greater Ohio’s partners are doing interesting things, and here is a recent write up from one of them.  Guest Post by Sahana Rao, Abogo Team, Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT).

Abogo is a tool that helps you see how transportation affects the affordability and sustainability of places you live, might want to live, or are just curious about. Named using a combination of the words “abode” and “go,” Abogo is powered by the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, which uses census information to show how housing and transportation costs change by area. Our Gas Slider helps you see how gas prices influence those transportation costs, so that you can get an even clearer picture of the cost of getting around a certain area right now and what that cost may be in the future. We’ve been using the Gas Slider to analyze transportation costs in various cities across the nation; for more on how you can use Abogo resources in your own hometown, visit our How it Works section or read our Do-It-Yourself blog post.

Cleveland, bounded to the north by Lake Erie (and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), is hailed as the “Comeback City” for its adaptability in the face of adversity. With an EIA-estimated average gas price of $3.62/gallon, how industriously do Clevelanders have to work to control their transportation costs?

Our first neighborhood is Conneaut, OH, just over an hour’s journey from Cleveland. Conneaut also lies adjacent to Lake Erie and, accordingly, boasts entertainments such as beaches, boating, and steelhead fishing.

How much do Conneaut residents have to shell out for transportation?

The average family living in Conneaut would pay $976 a month for transportation, which is 19% more than they would have paid in 2000. It looks like Conneaut has been more shielded from the effects of rising gas prices than most suburbs we’ve encountered, which could be due to the area’s walkable nature and the county transit system. However, since Conneaut is still relatively car-dependent, the monthly cost remains fairly high.

Does the same hold true for our next neighborhood? Buckeye-Shaker is a neighborhood on Cleveland’s East Side, a marriage between historic Buckeye and lively Shaker Square.

Let’s take a look at transportation costs for Buckeye-Shaker residents:

The average Buckeye-Shaker family would have to allot only $698 per month for transportation; however, that’s still 19% more than what they would have set aside for the same purpose in 2000. This just goes to show that, as much as walkability and transit connectivity help to alleviate the strain, no place is immune to gas price shock.

Fear not! You can lessen the blow of escalating gas prices by practicing alternative solutions and cost-saving tips for transportation. We’ve listed some helpful guidelines here:

Turn to transit: The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA, for short) provides bus, rail, and trolley service for (you guessed it!) the greater Cleveland area. The RTA also oversees the HealthLine, which offers rapid bus service on Euclid Avenue from Downtown to East Cleveland. Prove to yourself that transit makes a difference by calculating how much money you can save with RTA at Join The Ride. For those traveling out of Cuyahoga County, connections are available to several adjoining county transit systems.

Don’t bypass discounts: RTA runs a Commuter Advantage programs that assists employers in taking advantage of the Mass Transit Tax Benefit. If your employer is signed up, you will be able to pay for transit with pre-tax dollars, so make sure your employer is aware of the benefit! For more on the employer and employee savings afforded by this benefit, click here. There is also a universal U-pass for students; check if your school is a participating member of the program. Cleveland RTA may also offer discounts to those who are attending certain major events within the city.

Trade steering wheels for handlebars or sneakers when possible: According to NOACA, the number of Cuyahoga County bikers in 2010 was 50% greater than it had been four years earlier. It’s no wonder that biking is fast rising in popularity; after all, a bike gets infinity miles to the gallon! Clevelanders might even have access to a bike-share program in the near future. Get more information on biking in Cleveland at Cleveland Bikes and Ohio City Bicycle Co-op. You don’t consume gasoline (we hope), so we won’t assign an MPG value to your feet. We will, however, tell you that walking is just as efficient as biking in several parts of Cleveland. If you can’t bike or walk, consider using a car-share service like CityWheels.

If you are interested in learning more about how alternative transit options can help Cleveland become more economical and environmentally sustainable, we recommend CNT’s Broadening Urban Investment to Leverage Transit (BUILT) in Cleveland report.

Are gas prices affecting how you get around Cleveland? Let us know!

Founded in 1978, CNT is a Chicago-based think-and-do tank that works nationally to advance urban sustainability by researching, inventing and testing strategies that use resources more efficiently and equitably. Its programs focus on climate, energy, natural resources, transportation, and community development. Visit for more information.


On Our Radar

July 1st, 2011

We at Greater Ohio Policy Center monitor the news daily to learn more about the smart growth initiatives and news happening in our state and beyond that affect Ohio. Below are articles that caught our attention over the past two weeks, and we thought they might interest you as well.

Furthermore, we’re pleased to report that the 2012-13 budget included a $45 million allocation for a first-of-its-kind initiative called the Innovation Fund and Program, which Greater Ohio had a significant role in creating. The fund is an important initial step in promoting strategic and thoughtful government restructuring in Ohio. For more information, read Greater Ohio’s letter announcing this important project.

Governance Reform
Decades ago, they split apart. Now, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere are considering merging in the most significant step toward regionalism Cuyahoga County has ever seen.
The Columbus  Dispatch – 6-24-11      By Mary Beth Lane

Governance Reform
Decades ago, they split apart. Now, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere are considering merging in the most significant step toward regionalism Cuyahoga County has ever seen.
The Plain Dealer – 6-22-11      By Laura Johnston

When the housing bubble burst, homeowners on the financial margin couldn’t keep up with their mortgage payments. Both lenders and homeowners alike were shellacked by the double whammy of lower home prices and high unemployment. Foreclosures skyrocketed.
Governing – 6-11      By John O’Leary

While American cities are synchronizing green lights to improve traffic flow and offering apps to help drivers find parking, many European cities are doing the opposite: creating environments openly hostile to cars. The methods vary, but the mission is clear — to make car use expensive and just plain miserable enough to tilt drivers toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.
The New York Times – 6-26-11      By Elisabeth Rosenthal

Want to get the most job-creation bang for your infrastructure buck? Focus on meeting the needs of cyclists and pedestrians.
StreetsBlogNetwork – 6-21-11      By Angie Schmitt

By most accounts, transportation infrastructure in the United States is in serious disrepair. As roads and bridges across the country continue to age and deteriorate, governments at all levels are struggling to pay for maintenance and upkeep — not to mention investments in much-needed upgrades and new projects.
Governing – 6-11      By Russell Nichols, Ryan Holeywell

A poll released last week shatters the conventional wisdom that Americans are divided about climate change and its potential cures.
Transportation for America – 6-21-11      By Sean Barry

Land Bank
The attorney for Trumbull County’s new land bank, Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Adler, has filed foreclosures on 49 properties so far and expects them to be ready for purchase by September.
The Youngstown Vindicator – 6-22-11      By Ed Runyan

The near-term future of real estate development isn’t downtown or in the far-flung suburbs. It’s in between.
The Wall Street Journal – 6-16-11      By Kris Hudson

Shrinking Cities
In January of this year, Newsweek published its list of “America’s Dying Cities.” The story declared that these were cities “with bleak futures ahead.” Not surprisingly, the list contained many cities that have struggled in past decade, losing both population and industry.
The Infrastructurist –  6-13-11      By Peter Kageyama

Gov. Mitch Daniels sits in his grand cave of a Renaissance Revival office and reviews Indiana’s economic fortunes, his self-effacing manner not entirely disguising satisfaction. The state’s pension funds are relatively healthy, the unemployment rate is dropping slowly and per capita income is ticking up, slowly.
The New York Times – 6-23-11      By Michael Powell, Monica Davey