Clark Frazier, our originally scheduled speaker, is unable to present his planned program for this month. While traveling, his laptop was stolen, along with his presentation. Instead, we are pleased to feature retired MARTA chief operating officer, ERA member, and Ohio native Rich Krisak, who has graciously accepted our invitation on short notice to present Cleveland Transit 1955-1975: Mobility Redefined. This is a continuation of his presentation on Cleveland that he showed at the August 2021 ERA meeting.
Rich’s presentation covers the transit highlights of this tumultuous 20-year period. Cleveland’s streetcar era had ended, replaced by “Rapid Transit” — including a soon-to-be-built downtown subway — and a revitalized surface network of new trolley buses and motor coaches. The post-war economy was booming, and Cleveland ranked as the seventh largest city in the U.S., having just reached its population zenith of just under one million residents.
However, unforeseen forces caused the rapid decline of this vibrant city. Declining ridership, increased labor costs and rising fares put the transit system into a “death spiral” that would eventually result in the creation of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in 1975.
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!