We're just a week away from the long awaited arrival of the Republican National Convention. Beginning this coming weekend Cleveland will be alive with politicians, delegates, aids and even in some areas protesters, leaving our city with restricted travel, heavy security and crowded sidewalks. If you plan on traveling downtown during the convention, Cleveland.com has outlined several guidelines and traffic restrictions to abide by.
We are proud of Cleveland for hosting this historical event and we're happy to say that we were lucky enough to contribute to a few projects in preparation for it! Should you need anything, at anytime, please do not hesitate to contact us. We'll be fully operational during the week of the convention and will be doing our absolute best to serve your needs.
How to navigate Cleveland during the RNC
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is prepared to add additional service -- at the expense of the convention -- during that week to accommodate increased traffic, and will offer a $20 convention pass that gives travelers unlimited rides on public transit for the week. "We're encouraging people not to stay home that week," said Joe Calabrese, RTA CEO. RTA also will have volunteers out at various stations directing those unfamiliar with the authority's service on how to use public transit. Calabrese said train service will be the preferred mode of transportation because the trains will be less affected by road closures in the city. However, the Waterfront Line will be closed July 17 -- as will portions of the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway -- for a welcome event at Voinovich Park. RTA will be running three-car trains instead of two-car ones, and will add additional service to its rail and bus routes as needed. "It's going to be a very dynamic situation," Calabrese said. "We'll have extra people on standby." While its official plan still is being tweaked, RTA is planning to set up two downtown bus hubs -- one at West Third Street and West Sixth Street for buses from the West Side and another at East 12th Street and East 13th Street for buses from the East Side -- as it did during the Cavaliers victory parade. Calabrese said RTA will look at the Secret Service's transportation plan line by line in the next week to see if it will impact service in any unexpected ways, and will release detailed information about the authority's plans by the end of next week.
On The Water
Access to the city by water will be restricted, but not overwhelmingly so, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. "The goal is for the waterways to be as open as possible during the event while providing security," said Lt. Commander Marvin Kimmel, spokesperson for the Coast Guard. "The focus is to make sure the public gets to most use of the waterways as possible." The only waterway that will be considered a security zone during the entire convention will be the stretch of the Cuyahoga River through downtown. That area, known as Zone 4, will be inaccessible 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily from July 18 through July 22. "On that stretch of the river, there should be minimal impact to boaters," Kimmel said. The water abutting Burke Lakefront Airport also will be considered a security zone -- Zone 2 -- but only from 6 a.m. through 11:59 p.m. July 17.The Coast Guard will set up some sort of visual clues to alert boaters to the various zones -- either patrol boats or another visual elements. And notice of enforcement periods will be made to boaters over VHF channel 16. "The U.S. Coast Guard will have an on-water presence pretty much 24-7 during the event," Kimmel said.
Most notably, the Inner Belt Freeway will be closed completely during the hours of 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. July 18 through the end of the convention. That week, the Inner Belt westbound will be restricted to one lane from East 21st Street to just west of the West Third Street overpass, and eastbound lanes will be limited to one lane just west of the West Third Street overpass to the East 14th Street interchange. Large commercial vehicles will be prohibited from traveling westbound on the Inner Belt between East 21st Street and the I-490 interchange and eastbound between the I-490 interchange and Prospect Avenue. Delivery companies like FedEx already are making plans to mitigate the impact the road restrictions will have on their business.
On-street parking downtown will be banned from 12:01 a.m. July 18 through 2 a.m. July 22 on all streets between West 10th Street and East 26th Street and north of Carnegie Avenue, as well as on West 25th Street between Detroit Avenue and Gehring Street.