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Congressman Kucinich takes multi-purpose path on Innerbelt to Washington

Marc Lefkowitz  |  02/25/10 @ 8:15pm

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) met yesterday with members of the Cleveland Planning Commission, including director Robert Brown, to discuss the path forward to ensure that plans to replace the I-90 Innerbelt bridge include a separate roadway for bikes and pedestrians. "The State of Ohio should be encouraging opportunities for the people of Cleveland to cross the Cuyahoga River in a way that is good for public health, good for the environment, good for businesses, and good for communities," Kucinich said.

The meeting centered on an effort that the Planning Commission endorsed in February for ODOT to include alternative designs in its bid packages which are due back March 23. Commissioner Lillian Kuri said ODOT's response that this is too late to amend an environmental statement is bureaucratic runaround.

"ODOT at its meeting with its bidders admitted there will be many amendments and adjustments to the environmental statement. They said the same thing before we got the bike and pedestrian promenade on the Detroit-Superior Bridge. We don't want to stop the project. We simply want them to authorize the firms to submit two bids, one with the path and one without."

Kucinich's legal counsel Marty Gelfand promised to contact the Federal Highway Administration to confirm that including an alternative bid would not delay the process.

"Federal highway already has standards (for a bike and pedestrian path on a bridge)," confirmed Cleveland Planning staffer, Marty Cader.

"I think firms would relish the opportunity because it's a significant span," said Commission Chair Tony Coyne.

The Cleveland Innerbelt Bridge was likened to the new Woodrow Wilson bridge on I-95 in Washington, D.C. which was recently built with a separated multipurpose bike and pedestrian path.

Present at the meeting were representatives of the Cleveland Planning Commission including Robert Brown, Director; Marty Cader, Staff; Tony Coyne, Member; David Bowen, Member; and Lillian Kuri, Member of the Cleveland Planning Commission. Also attending were Jim Sheehan, Director of Ohio City Bicycle Co-op, as well as Brad Chase and Marc Lefkowitz, staff of GreenCityBlueLake at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

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