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Experts Say Sprawl Can Stifle Job Access

By Jay Miller, Crain's Cleveland Business

When Amazon.com site selectors were scouting locations for two fulfillment centers in Northeast Ohio, how potential locations were served by public transit was important to them.

"We met with Amazon's developers and engineers early on in the process," said Joseph Calabrese, CEO and general manager of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. "Even before they finalized on both locations they wanted to be sure those two areas had good transit service, and they do, and they are served by multiple routes today, seven days a week, 24 hours ad ay."

The online retailer will hire about 3,000 people at the centers in Euclid and North Randall -- pickers and packers -- to work three shifts pulling items off warehouse shelves and packaging them for shipment to customers. The jobs will pay about $12 an hour, with good benefits. 

Amazon's desire to put these centers where people without cars can reach them -- without burdensome long commutes involving multiple changes of buses or high commuting costs -- has not been a high priority for picking sites until now, but it is something many civic leaders hope can be the new normal. 

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