Perspective: Captain America no hero to commuters

2:04 PM, Jun 1, 2013   |    comments
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The cheers turned into jeers Friday as commuters muttered nasty things about Captain America, or at least the moviemakers shooting the superhero's new movie in Cleveland.

City Traffic Commissioner James Muhic called the morning traffic jam " a little worse than we expected."

For drivers who claimed they sat in near gridlock for close to two hours on what is normally their 15-minute trip because of the West Shoreway shutdown the answer was "%$*#@ REALLY?"

Mayor Frank Jackson claimed nothing that happened Friday gave him second thoughts about his decision to close the West Shoreway for two weeks to accommodate moviemakers. By not having to tear down and set up everyday to shoot spectacular stunts and crashes, the moviemakers mission is much easeir to accomplish.

Muhic believes things will improve this coming week because school is not in session and two downtown traffic disruptions, the Casino's birthday celebration on Public Square and construction on Superior, will disappear.

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission's Ivan Schwarz says the Shoreway shutdown was necessary to seal the deal to bring the movie shoot here. And it is filling hotel rooms, creating jobs, bringing business to local companies and restaurants. And the promise is success will breed more success and bring more less heralded but still lucrative movie shoots here.

About 40 movies and shows have been shot in Greater Cleveland in recent years. Only two, "The Avengers" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" caused significant inconvenience or disruption.

Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers was out Friday morning to see if traffic backed-up to Lakewood. He was pleasantly surprised to see it was not. But as mayor of the most-impacted suburb, he did get calls and e-mails from irate drivers.

He said Lakewood is "willing to take one for the team" providing there is a post-movie shoot accounting that shows real payoff. If there's not, he says, "we shouldn't do this again."

Other west suburban mayors, including Westlake's Dennis Clough and Rocky River's Pam Bobst, said they are tentatively supportive of the shutdown as a temporary inconvenience to achieve a greater good. But they are taking a wait-and-see attitude to watch how things go next week.

The mayor's reelection opponent Ken Lanci is passing on the opportunity to criticize Jackson's decision. Lanci tells me he agrees with the Shoreway closing as a way to create jobs and boost Cleveland's economy.

A downtown parking lot operator is suing, claiming the disruption will cost him the lion's share of his business which is near the Shoreway's end. He claims the movie operators offered meager compensation.

You know the tide will have turned about Captain America's perception he becomes a villain and  a parking lot operator actually becomes a hero.


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