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Was Lorain-Carnegie a good deal? Green building below the radar; bike/ped faces steep cuts

Marc Lefkowitz  |  07/08/11 @ 9:26am

·The elevated and separated bike/ped path that will be built on the north side of the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge was a good compromise. It is a suitable replacement for a multipurpose path on the Innerbelt Bridge. It can be argued that the experienced cyclists doesn't gain a separated facility on the roadway, and that the bridge could still use a 'road diet'. An issue arose early on in the planning when bike advocates sought a bike lane on the bridge-providing a bike lane wasn't possible, said ODOT. The issue is in the agency's current rules, which don't allow for less than 12 ft. wide (outter) lanes on the bridge, a state route (even though new evidence suggests 10 ft. wide lanes are just as effective state route or no). Why doesn't ODOT have context sensitive rules for urban roads that would allow for a four lane road to be converted to a three lane road with bike lanes as road diet guru Dan Burden suggests? It is one of the questions raised by the Lorain-Carnegie project. ODOT rules eliminated the possibility of a bike lane on Lorain-Carnegie because the agency refused to slim the lanes to an even calmer and industry emerging practice 10 ft. (min.) wide lane (leaving many to wonder, if other states can do a 10 ft. wide lane, it seems perfectly reasonable to reconfigure the bridge for the traffic of a shrinking city, where bikes are becoming an increasing percentage of how we get around to places).

On the bright side, it makes sense-working within ODOTs current rules-to design a 15 ft. wide bridge path that will connect on the north side of the bridge with a path along the west side of Ontario connected to a new crosswalk by Progressive Field/The Q. It will continue to be the most heavily used route ? not to Broadway ? so a real presence on the north side of the bridge enhances the experience of cyclists at all levels and pedestrians heading in both directions between downtown/Gateway and Tremont / Ohio City. The Plain Dealer reported on the bike/ped improvements to the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge yesterday.

·If we burn nearly half of our carbon emissions in buildings, then 'building below the radar' -the name for this Heights Arts talk tonight featuring some of the region's true innovators in residential green building-needs to get on the radar, soon. Get up to speed on recent passive and straw bale homes, and hear from the Cleveland Clinic's director of sustainability.

·Since 2006, ZeroLandfill Cleveland has diverted from local landfills and re-purposed back to artists and schools 500,000 pounds of expired specification samples from local architectural and interior design firms. This Friday the group kicks off the 2011 'harvest' season: Get your free samples here.

·All of the good bike plans for the Cleveland area won't amount to a hill of beans if Congress moves forward with a weekend raid of $2.5 billion in transportation cuts, which Rails-to-Trails says "disproportionately targets" core walking and cycling programs like Transportation Enhancements (TE), Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) and the Recreational Trails Program. The national nonprofit is so worried about the last minute move, that it's not even sure what good asking supporters to contact their legislators and tell them not to cut biking and walking funds will bring. Can a groundswell of support make a difference? If you want to put in a word of support, contact Governor Kasich and ODOT Director Jerry Wray (614) 466-2336.For more information.

·"Arguments suggesting that legacy cities should be ignored, and that thriving metros nationwide ? some already struggling to accommodate fast growth ? will absorb the nation's growth is misguided," states Reinventing America's Legacy Cities: Strategies for Cities Losing Population. The report from Center for Community Progress and the Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University's Earth Institute points shrinking cities like Cleveland the way to leverage its legacy for redefinition.

·Cleveland Public Art hosts an opening Thursday for local artist Lina Stapleton and a photography exhibit produced by Rustwire.com. Stapleton's piece, raíces, showcases the beauty of a plant's root structure within transparent hanging boxes and clear polymer deco beads. Spanish for "roots," raíces displays the natural rhythmic pattern of 40 suspended root structures and plant anatomy.

Rustwire.com's Big Urban Photography Project Art Show, features photographic interpretations of Rust Belt cities as seen through the eyes of their young residents. The show is the result of a multi-year collaborative media project that called on the region's best documentary and fine arts photographers.

This project is part of Rustwire.com's mission to explore socioeconomic issues and promising transformational strategies in this and similar regions through photography, essays, and original reporting from residents and ex-pats. Over two years, the blog solicited submissions for photography that captured the essence of these proud, troubled cities. Dozens of amateur and professional photographers submitted images of Detroit, Youngstown, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Toledo, Cincinnati, Buffalo and other places.

Artists include Cleveland's Ben Seigel, Billy Delfs, Michael Reilly, David Bergholz, Bridget Callahan and others photographers from Youngstown, Erie, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and New York City.

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