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Cross-city bike lane finally gets its due

Marc Lefkowitz  |  04/19/13 @ 2:00pm  |  Posted in Transportation choices

Perhaps signaling a new era of cooperation, Cleveland and its neighbor Cleveland Heights have agreed to paint a bike lane up and “sharrows” down Edgehill Road—a popular route for hundreds of cyclists commuting between the city and its eastern suburbs.

Making sense of it all<br />Cleveland Heights will 'neck down' the huge intersection at the top of Edgehill Road, making it safer and more civilized for cars, cyclists and pedestrians to share the road.Circle-Heights bikeway proposal<br />Key for the image:
Dotted light blue=Future Study (i.e. Cornell Road) 
Dotted yellow=Proposed Signs (i.e. Mayfield between Kenilworth and Coventry)
Dotted green=Proposed bike lane (i.e. S. Overlook Rd.)
Dotted purple=Bike lanes up/Sharrows down (i.e. Edgehill and Mayfield Hill) The Green Sharrow<br />Green sharrow lanes are an option for higher visibility and safety where bike lanes cannot fit.Top of the hill<br />Current conditions on Edgehill Road at the top, in Cleveland Heights. Add bike lanes will travel<br />The plan calls for repaving and adding a buffered bike lane on the uphill lane of Edgehill Road scheduled for 2013.<br />Sharrows down<br />The current plan calls for sharrows on the downhill lane of Edgehill Road<br />Conflict zone<br />On-street parking for about six homes on the downhill lane of Edgehill Road in Cleveland led to the decision not to include a bike lane.
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Edgehill will be repaved this year and get bike facilities for the first time, both cities confirm.

The backstory on Edgehill goes something like this: For years the two cities couldn’t agree to when or why it needed repaving, and so the road between Cleveland’s second-largest employment center, University Circle, and the entrance to the Heights has languished, its shoulder crumbling and potholes forming.

The recently finished Circle-Heights Bike Plan cast light on the situation, and its importance in the region’s bike commuting network.

The bike lane will start at brick-lined Murray Hill in Little Italy as Edgehill climbs and curves. Cleveland Heights will continue the bike lane as it crosses the city border (in the middle of the hill).

The design calls for a buffer zone between bike and car lanes that widens as it nears the top of the hill. It will clarify the lane position for cars and bikes, and correct a confusing and dangerous intersection (where cars try to squeeze past one another).

The new lanes will be reinforced at the top of the hill with a narrowed intersection. Cleveland Heights plans to close, significantly, the distance cyclists and pedestrians have to cross at East and South Overlook. Following through on a design from the Circle-Heights Plan, the city will build big bump-outs with native-plant bioswales, says Councilwoman Mary Dunbar. The bioswales may even reduce some of the erosion and pavement damage from stormwater runoff.

The plan shies away from a bike lane on the downhill side of the road. The complicating factor is a few hundred feet of on-street, residential permit parking in Cleveland.

Is it a smart plan to continue giving away free parking for less than a dozen homes in exchange for reduced visibility at a sharp curve where hundreds of cyclists are sharing the road with thousands of fast-moving cars?

While it is commendable that both cities have agreed to narrow the lanes for cars, add a bike lane and use a more permanent material for the sharrows than paint, we wonder why they set limits on themselves for the downhill lane?

A compromise position might be a green sharrow lane. According to the National Association of City Traffic Officials (NACTO), a green sharrow lane is an option for roads, especially hilly ones, where space for bike lanes are limited. Salt Lake City and Long Beach, California tried green sharrow lanes and found they boosted predictability and thus safety for motorists and cyclists (in surveys, drivers and cyclists say they prefer them to periodic sharrow markers).

Comments on the Edgehill plan can be submitted to Cleveland Heights Planning Director, Richard Wong, and Cleveland Planning Director, Robert Brown as both cities prepare the final details.

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Considering the Heights
4 years ago

Hopefully, the downhill sharrows will actullay be bikes-may-take-full-lane sharrows instead of Cleveland Heights' wimpy tucked-into-the-curb sharrows like the ones on Euclid Heights and Lee! Also, on the subject of pedestrian friendliness, does Cleveland Heights plan on getting rid of the channel right-hand turn lanes in this intersection at the top of Edgehill, and doing something about the nearby pedestrian-unfriendly Kenilworth/Derbshire circle? With respect to the latter, crosswalks would be a good start. And we wonder why some folks don't want to walk...

Considering the Heights
4 years ago

There isn't room on Edgehill for a downhill green sharrow lane as shown in the Long Beach picture?

Mary Dunbar
4 years ago

Not sure which issues to address. Edgehill Road is too narrow at Murray Hill for a bike lane, because of on-street parking for the houses on the south side of the street in Cleveland. Bikes can keep up with downhill traffic, more or less, so the need for a downhill bike lane is less compelling than the need for the uphill bike lane. It would be great if Edgehill had room for two downhill lanes (permitting a green sharrow lane as shown in the Long Beach picture), but it doesn't. We are awaiting the final Circle-Heights Bicycle Network plan, which is expected to have plans for connections. It should be complete soon. Then we can work on implementation.

Considering the Heights
4 years ago

Of course, I should have also asked what happens to the sharrows at the bottom of the hill? Will they continue down Cornell to Euclid? Will there be bike lanes on Cornell? And, BTW, how is it that we have a college in an urban setting so bereft of bike lanes?

good qt.
4 years ago

Good question on where the bike lane goes. It would be more effective if it linked up as a network. And Edgehill Road from the top of the hill into Cleveland Heights would appear to have enough width to fit bike lanes. We have raised this point in a blog post critiquing the Circle-Heights Bike Plan. Please share your thoughts with Cleveland Heights officials, including Planning Director Wong.

Considering the Heights
4 years ago

What happens to the bike lane once it reaches the top of Edgehill? Does it end or does it continue through the intersection down Edgehill? Will both sides of Edgehill at the top of the hill have bike lanes?

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