• As reported here, the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Transportation Group is at the table helping ODOT design the bike/ped connection between Gateway and Ohio City/Tremont via a new multi-modal path on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge/Ontario, bike lanes on Abbey Avenue and a complete system of wayfinding signs and pavement markings. This is a welcome development: advocates and the transportation agency working together to figure out a safe, comfortable connection between three of Cleveland's busiest entertainment hubs. It also promises to introduce Cleveland to a bunch of new design ideas like sharrows (aside from the occasional experiment, the city hasn't taken on bike pavement markings in any systematic way, even on its bike way), plus some cutting-edge design treatments like bike boxes, designated space for cyclists in crosswalks, and, if advocates and the city can agree, a bike path or designated space on the pedestrian promenade in front of Progressive Field and the Q. The group continues to meet with ODOT (and will lead the agency on a ride of the route this week) – see the notes from its initial meeting here.
• The recent New Urban News highlights a massive, mixed-use infill project underway in downtown Quincy, Massachusetts. It led to thinking about creative reuse strategies (and financing) for the many failed proposals to redevelop the desert of surface parking that has a choke hold on Public Square and the Warehouse District in downtown Cleveland. Quincy has one developer, Street-Works, with ambitious plans to raze 20 blocks of pretty shabby one-story shopping strips for hotels, destination retail at the street level, a wellness center and high rises (which will help the developer make a profit). It gets even more interesting with the financing agreement between Street-Works and the city. The bulk of the financial risk will be bourne by the developer (and its lenders and investment partners) rather than the municipality. Street-Works will round up the money to pay for infrastructure replacement, and the city will purchase the public infrastructure, including parking garages, only when the buildings are occupied and producing enough revenue to cover the city's debt cost. Seems like an interesting model and perhaps instructive for Cleveland where developers like Crocker Park's Stark Enterprises wanted to develop in downtown (that is, if the Byzantine financing of Flats East Bank cannot be repeated).
• Cuyahoga County's residential recycling numbers for 2010 are in, and at 27.93% we may rank high by Ohio standards, but we're still lagging compared to regions touting their 'green-ness' on a national scale. By comparison, King County/Seattle-which set a Zero Waste by 2030 goal- has a residential recycling rate of 54%. Looking at Cuyahoga's numbers, it's a tale of two types of cities-those doing abysmally poor and those doing really well. On a tonnage basis, Cleveland diverts the most of any city at 21,232, but its overall rate is still a very low 11.23%. Some but not all small and extremely rich suburbs like Pepper Pike rank higher than average (most are communities like Cleveland Heights which have a diverse population but also a big group that considers itself green). Frankly, its Cleveland and laggard suburbs such as Garfield Heights (10.3%), Gates Mills (16.32%), Highland Hills (17.46%), Parma (12.14%) and Euclid (15.96%) that are bringing the totals way down (as a comparison, Parma and Euclid have the same total solid waste as Lakewood at 16,000 tons, with Lakewood recycling 15,000 tons and Euclid recycling 3,000 tons; Parma 5,438 tons).
The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District hopes its new Special Waste Convenience Center (pictured) will boost the county's residential recycling numbers by offering a place for hard to recycle materials such as polystyrene, athletic shoes, toys and other odds and ends. The District converted a former bowling alley in Garfield Heights for storing, sorting and finding a recycler for stuff that would otherwise end up in the landfill from the 54 cities that pay dues to belong to the district. The center should allow cities to expand their curbside or special collection of materials where previously no solution existed (the center is not open to the public, but is open for cities).
• From the Cleveland Restoration Society: "The Magnolia-Wade Park Historic District, which runs from East 105th Street to East 115th Street from East Boulevard to Ashbury Avenue, is being considered for local (historic district) designation. While listing in the National Register is an honor, it is local designation that provides real protection through review of alterations, new construction, and demolitions. This designation is long overdue and was initiated by Councilman Jeffrey Johnson, Ward 8, after he learned that Mt. Zion United Church of Christ planned to raze two mansions adjacent to their church building and replace them with a one-story new construction. The homes are contributing structures in the district of fine Georgian Revival, Tudor, and French Renaissance houses, many of which are located on Magnolia Drive and now serve as schools, offices, and cultural institutions. Wade Park Avenue and the numbered streets adjacent to it are strictly residential.
The homes the church plans to demolish are 1573 East 108th (originally 10723 Magnolia Drive) and 1574 East 108th. The house at 1573 (pictured) is attached to the main church building. Constructed in 1907 as the residence of George Grandin, it was designed by the architectural firm Bohnard & Parrson, who also designed many fine homes in Lakewood and Cleveland Heights. Betty Parrson, the daughter of Raymond Parrson, left a legacy to Cleveland Restoration Society in honor of her father. The house at 1574, now known as Pilgrim House, was built in 1908 as the residence of Francis Line and was designed by J. Milton Dyer, also a noted architect who designed the Cleveland City Hall, Athletic Club, First Methodist Church (3000 Euclid Ave.), and Summit County Courthouse. CRS participated in public meetings held June 22 and July 13. The Cleveland Landmarks Commission approved the designation at their June 23 meeting. This matter will go to the Cleveland Planning Commission on August 5 and should be voted on by City Council soon thereafter.