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See the 4-mile Cleveland bikeway plan

Marc Lefkowitz  |  08/20/13 @ 2:00pm  |  Posted in Biking, Transportation choices

Would you be more likely to bike from the Near West Side to downtown Cleveland if you knew a protected bike path was waiting for you on the sidewalk of Ontario Street? Would you bike your family down to a day game or convince your date who’s a little wobbly on two wheels to take the bike path on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge if it linked up to a bike path in front of Progressive Field and The Q?

Ontario Street bikeway<br />A proposal for a green lane in the sidewalk of Ontario Street would be part of a 4-mile protected bikeway in Cleveland. Images: GreenCityBlueLake, Bike Cleveland and Cleveland Urban Design Center. <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

A green lane for less ‘road warrior’ types would attract more people on bikes to downtown by making the bustling Gateway District easier to navigate. It’s the premise behind the Ontario Street Bikeway, a plan prepared by Bike Cleveland, GreenCityBlueLake (GCBL) and the Cleveland Urban Design Center (CUDC).

“We developed an alternative—that can be implemented immediately—to connect people on bikes safely from the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge to the Cleveland Bike Rack,” Bike Cleveland explains.

The regional bike advocacy group released a position statement calling for bike lanes on Ontario Street during its recent repaving. The group also sees how the Lorain-Carnegie bike path entices cyclists who feel more comfortable riding separated from the road by a physical barrier like a curb. Ontario Street has a tremendously wide sidewalk in front of the ball parks.

Bike Cleveland presented the plan for a protected bikeway recently to Historic Gateway District and executives with the professional sports teams. Their support came with a caveat: The bikeway is painted in the sidewalk space owned by the city (located between the curb and a row of planters), and not in their sidewalk space (between the planters and the buildings), says Bike Cleveland executive director Jacob Van Sickle.

The Ontario bikeway plan was also presented to high-ranking officials at Cleveland City Hall. Building public support may be the next, most important step to securing a green lane on Ontario. For that purpose, Bike Cleveland set up a webpage with the plan and to gather feedback.

Details about alignment and relocating exactly four light poles, a fire hydrant and an advertising kiosk were worked out by GCBL and Bike Cleveland who hired CUDC to perform a detailed study and produce a plan. The cost estimate of $70,000 includes moving city infrastructure, and painting a green lane on Ontario Street that would start at Eagle Avenue, a road that bisects the stadia but is closed to vehicles and bikes on game days. The bike path would provide 2,500 feet of protected space on the east sidewalk of Ontario, ushering cyclists to where it crosses Huron Road. The project includes a 250-ft. paved path and improvements in a grassy area at the northeast corner of Huron and Ontario that would connect cyclists to the Bike Rack, a bike parking station at 2148 E. 4th Street, and to popular E. 4th Street destinations and Euclid Avenue, a more sedate road with bike lanes.

In 2012, a multi-use path was installed on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge and a broad, pedestrian promenade where it touches down at Carnegie and Ontario. The path and promenade have attracted cyclists, joggers and pedestrians.

Concurrent to the Ontario Bikeway effort, Bike Cleveland is working with Ohio City, Inc. to create a protected bikeway (sometimes called a green lane or cycle track) on Lorain Avenue, slated for construction next year. At a recent public meeting, initial designs for the street called for bike lanes on both sides of the road. But the area is populated by families who want safe bike facilities. Residents and Bike Cleveland asked Ohio City, Inc. to engage the design consultants to explore consolidating the lanes in to a protected, two-lane cycle track on the north side of Lorain Avenue, from W. 25th Street to W. 80th Street. Oftentimes physically separated from traffic by a barrier such as plastic bollards, cycle tracks provide a greater sense of protection for less experienced riders, and have proven attractive to new cyclists.

In making a case for a cycle track on Lorain Avenue, a large stretch of the Near West Side of the city would gain a protected bike way that links — to the bridge path and the Ontario Street bikeway — to the heart of downtown Cleveland. In two easy and relatively inexpensive steps, the city would create a nearly 4-mile protected bikeway that vastly improves the network for bikers at all skill levels, and leverage the big investment in the bridge path.

GreenCityBlueLake would like to thank Fairmount Minerals for funding that helps us foster the creation of design graphics for this project.

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6 years ago

I sense an undertone of sarcasm borne out of frustration @North Park with the glacial pace it is taking the City of Cleveland to paint the promised bike lanes on Detroit Avenue from W. 25th Street to Lake Avenue. Based on the appearance of a "pop up" bike lane on Detroit Avenue recently, you're not alone. A note about the so-called geurilla bike lane which has now been removed. Our observation is the bike lane painter's actions were informed by a national movement called Tactical Urbanism, which advocates working with the community on solutions. Sometimes, when cities are slow or show no signs of addressing a glaring issue, tactical urbanists have taken matters in to their own hands in order to make a point. Tactical Urbanism founder Mike Lydon has seen respected members of communities take similar action, and in most cases the initial response from the city is reflexive, but done right (i.e. removable, like the Detroit Avenue case) it can lead to a dialogue and permanent change. On Detroit Avenue, the city was already committing to bike lanes, so the statement in the pop-up bike lane was "OK, hurry up then." In other cases, tactical urbanism has been employed to "fix" a problem with no solution in sight, such as paint in a crosswalk at very dangerous intersection. Congress for New Urbanism points out: "Tactical urbanism tends to work best in places with 'good bones' that have been compromised by automobile-oriented design." For more, see:

North Park
6 years ago

Can you do some reporting on the recently painted bike lanes on Detroit Ave?

North Park Blvd.
6 years ago

What does walking one's bike acros the street achieve anyways? I remember my grannie telling me to do that, but I was never really sure why. In any event, cycling will never be taken seriously as adult transportation as long as there is signage requiring cyclists to dismount and walk their bikes across the street. Couldn't there just be a sign for the cyclists that says "stop and look left before crossing on green"?

6 years ago

The recommendation for the cycle track at intersections is similar to that seen in the slide titled Pike-Allen Pedestrian Mall (in New York City). The cycle track ends, indicated by the three triangles and potentially a sign, well in advance of the crosswalk to warn cyclists to dismount and cross their bikes on foot.

North Park Blvd. Cycle Track
6 years ago

I understand that cycle tracks present safety issues for cyclists at intersections. What improvements need to be made at the intersection of Huron and Ontario so that northbound drivers on Ontario turning right onto Huron don't crash into cycle-track cyclists heading north across Huron?

6 years ago

The ADA ramps could stay in place. In similar circumstances, cyclists have handled them without a problem.

The "4-mile Cleveland Bikeway" is a way of packaging the Ontario Bikeway in to one "ask" that includes the existing Lorain-Carnegie multi-use path and a proposed protected bikeway from W. 25th to W. 80th streets. The project will need public support, so it may be easier to think of it as connecting up an entire corridor from downtown to the west side.

6 years ago

So we are talking about a 2,500 foot stretch of sidewalk... where is this 4-mile figure coming from?

North Park Bvld.
6 years ago

How are the ADA ramps adapted under this proposal?

The Understanding Gap
6 years ago

At that cost and considering no pedestrians currently use that strip of land west of the planters (even on busy game days), this project seems like a no-brainer. Is Cimperman on board with this? This would be a great opportunity for the city to make amends with the cycling community for the Detroit Avenue debacle.

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