“The Rabbit” was what I called the train that went through my neighborhood when I was a kid. “Rapid,” my mom would respond, with extra annunciation on the P and D sounds. I didn’t have context for the word “rapid,” but in my imagination, the train scurried across the tracks through Shaker Heights just like a giant bunny would. It made perfect sense. Some of my earliest memories are on the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s Rapid trains. As a toddler, I would ride with my grandparents to Tower City to run down the hallways, put pennies in the fountains, and move floor to floor on the elevators and escalators.
The Rapid has always been a part of Shaker’s landscape. The Van Sweringen brothers built the train line to encourage wealthy Clevelanders to buy homes in their new garden-city-esque development at a time where cars were only just starting to become widely available. The original train followed today’s Blue and Green lines, connecting Public Square with Shaker Square before splitting into two parallel tracks: Van Aken and Shaker Boulevards.
As one of many Clevelanders who do not drive, I still take the Rapid frequently to get where I need to go (although now there is less excitement and I don’t need someone to hold my hand when I board). Living in Cleveland Heights, I now typically take the Red Line which connects East Cleveland through University Circle to Downtown Cleveland and then on to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
RTA is always working to improve the system that brings so many Clevelanders to where they need to go, and in the past few years, we have seen major upgrades to accessibility at stations, beautiful murals along the routes, and the addition of the HealthLine, which is a bus-rapid transit system. A tip for newcomers to town: Trains are especially full on game days…be ready to squeeze in and enjoy the pre- and post-game energy!
We’re almost wrapped up with our 40 favorite parts of Cleveland for 40th anniversary blog series! Even after 40 years, the Executive Arrangements team is still exploring Northeast Ohio so we can offer honest recommendations to you and your job candidates. We would love to help you attract top talent to Cleveland with full-day (or even multi-day) orientations. For more information, please contact us here or give us a call at 216.231.9311.