In honor of National Bike Month, we asked 10 local leaders, “What are the 5 most exciting bike projects of 2014?” We gave them leeway. They could be breaking ground or just getting underway. They could be a visionary protected bike lane that doubles as a greenway in the middle of a major city street (actual answer) or it could be a really hot event this summer.
Many shared the same answer (there was a lot of excitement around protected bike lanes). See the highlights from their picks below.
One thing they all share: High hopes that every one will get built, soon, to give Cleveland momentum for biking as a major mode of transportation. We can all help by rallying some support. Tell your friends, tell your local councilman how investing in these projects will transform the way bikes integrate with the car as an accepted, nay, anticipated way of getting around. Also, let us know, what bike project in 2014 are you most excited about?
Lorain Avenue “green lane”
Eric Wobser, Executive Director, Ohio City, Inc.
Obviously, I think that the Lorain Avenue Streetscape Project, if it can be adopted by the Planning Commission in 2014, would be a huge victory. It would include Cleveland's first cycle track and extend the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge cycle track to and through Ohio City. This would connect two of the fastest growing residential neighborhoods in the region and make it safer to cycle, and would be easy to extend into a more comprehensive system along Carnegie, West on Lorain, North on West 25th and more.
Stronger 21st century infrastructure connections making it easier to connect from neighborhoods to employment centers are critical. For example, a recent All Aboard Ohio study estimated over 5,000 residents of Ohio City and Detroit-Shoreway commute to work in Downtown Cleveland. Stronger connections will help us build on our advantage of proximity.
W. Michael Fleming, AICP, Executive Director , St Clair Superior Development Corporation
The most exciting project in my mind is the Midway project, which is in the early planning stages but could heat up depending on some upcoming funding opportunities.
The Midway is a project being spearheaded by Bike Cleveland with support from Bialosky and Partners Architects. Like many American cities, Cleveland once had an extensive trolley network whose removal has left very wide, single-use streets. The Midway envisions taking those lanes once dedicated to public transit and converting them into protected bike routes, with St Clair Avenue between East 55th and Martin Luther King Boulevard serving as a potential pilot for the project that may ultimately span the city.
In the St Clair case, a full, thirty feet of right-of-way can be dedicated to this project with no impact on existing traffic, meaning that bicycle riders will not be the only beneficiaries of this transformative project: runners, walkers, seating, gardens and countless activities can fit in the right-of-way and can return life to where once only cars were allowed.
John McGovern Board President, Ohio City Bicycle Coop Chair, RTA Citizens Advisory Board Board Member, Bike Cleveland League Certified Cycling Instructor #3671 Co-creator, the Midway bike project
McGovern adds: The Midway pumps new blood into Cleveland’s historic, human-scale transport network to provide a best-in-class experience for cyclists of all ages while transforming the city with 50+ miles of linear green way (nearly the same acreage as the Nature Preserve at Dike 14)
Marty Cader, City of Cleveland bike planner
The West Shoreway Bikeway. The construction of a new, 2.5 mile off-road bike path that connects Downtown, Ohio City, Detroit-Shoreway and Edgewater neighborhoods to the lakefront at the Edgewater Reservation of the Metroparks. The bikeway will parallel a new roadway that will be a 35-mph boulevard with a tree-lined median. The new roadway has a proposed name of “Edgewater Parkway.” Construction is starting in 2014 and finishing in 2015.
The Towpath Trail
Jacob VanSickle, Executive Director, Bike Cleveland
Scranton Road Peninsula—A section of the Towpath Trail, creeping closer to the future Canal Basin Park, will be formally opened this summer. While it doesn't connect directly to any existing bike infrastructure, it is exciting to see a section of the Towpath complete as we piece our way to a connected Towpath in the City of Cleveland.
Forest City Fundo
Jeff Sugalski, bike commuter and organizer of Pedal for Prizes Real Estate Development Director at Burten Bell Carr Community Development Organization
Forest City Fundo is on the top of my list. I'm most excited about the Fundo because its been a work in progress for over two years and will be Bike Cleveland's largest event to date. It's intended to be a regional draw and will showcase portions of almost every Cleveland neighborhood.
Safe Routes to School
Mary Dunbar Member, Cleveland Heights City Council and President, Heights Bicycle Coalition
The projects I'm most excited about are all really works in progress. One is the application by the City of Cleveland Heights, in partnership with Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District and Hebrew Academy, for funds to improve traffic safety and infrastructure around schools. We are waiting to hear how much money we'll receive and which of the projects we proposed we can pay for. Ohio Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School is supposed to let us know this month.
Christopher R. Lohr, Community Planning Advocate, Research Assistant at the Center for Economic Development, Member of Bike Cleveland Advocacy Committee
I’m looking forward to Complete Streets momentum (with a combination of NOACA, County, and City policies). Part of this is the city's complete streets design guide that is supposed to follow the Streets Typology that was released.
Marty Cader adds:
Multiple key arterial roadways under construction in 2014 will see the installation of new bike lanes and signage. These installations are a direct result of the passage of the Complete & Green Streets Ordinance in Cleveland. The roadways include Fleet, Puritas, Triskett, and Denison avenues, East 72nd, and East 93rd streets.
Jeff Sugalski adds:
I'm excited to see how the City of Cleveland's Bike Facility Implementation Plan takes shape in 2014. This year will determine how smoothly and quickly the implementation process goes, how innovative the City of Cleveland is willing to be with its planned bike infrastructure, and how much it takes into account community input.
Fix it First
Jim Sheehan, Director, Ohio City Bicycle Co-op
If this time next year the patches are still sticking from the pothole-filling machine that Cleveland just contracted, like they are supposed to, it may be the best thing the City has ever done, for the most cyclists. Everyone loves to complain about Cleveland potholes, but motorists' don't have their lives endangered. For cyclists, if you miss the hole, you are still in danger from overtaking traffic if you don't have space to swerve. (insert photo of holes in bike lane on Euclid Westbound at ~34th St.)
Barb Clint Director of Community Health and Advocacy YMCA of Greater Cleveland Co-creator, the Midway bike project
Of course, the Midway Protected Bike Boulevard network will weave Cleveland neighborhoods together and also connect them to regional recreational amenities and employment centers by way of a linear park-like system of protected bike facilities.
If you are looking for a second favorite, I'll wildly endorse the Lake-Link Trail project being spearheaded by Land Studio. The project is exciting and compelling on multiple levels. A shout out to the CSU Levin College Urban Studies Capstone project work on it which was utterly professional.
This project links to another favorite, Rotary's Red Line Greenway project. When viewed systemically, these two trail links—and the Midway—will enable Clevelanders of every socio-economic background not only ready access to the river and Lake Erie, but also a true, active transportation network to enable everyone to safely move about town.