This month’s Zoom presentation by Rich Krisak is “Cleveland Transit: Years of Transition – The 1950s.” Cleveland was a large, prominent industrial city in the U.S., ranking fifth in population up to and throughout the 1950s. Industry benefited greatly from the war years, but it took its toll both on the population of Cleveland and its transit system. “Modernization” changed the electric rail scene dramatically in the 1950s. Rich’s program chronicles these tumultuous times, including the decisions made that would forever change the city including the demise of streetcars, the building of a new “Rapid Transit” system, and the loss of the Cleveland Union Terminal’s electrification.
Rich is a Cleveland native and a graduate of Cleveland State University with a degree in urban planning. He grew up in a transit family with relatives who worked for Cleveland Transit System, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, and their predecessors. Rich started his transit journey with the newly formed Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority as an intern while attending university. That beginning led to a 40-plus-year career in transit including five public agencies and several consulting firms. Rich has experience with planning, design, commissioning, and operating several “new-start” systems including Buffalo, Dallas, Houston, and Austin. His last position before “semi-retiring” was as MARTA’s chief operating officer for six years. He is still active as a transit consultant.
It is rare to find a treatment of a major American city’s traction history as comprehensive as the one Rich will present. You will not want to miss this program!