The Cleveland Planning Commission kicked off a series of public meetings on the feasibility of the Midway, a dream hatched three years ago by a pair of "avid cyclists" who proposed a network of protected bike lanes surrounded by green space that would run right down the middle of the road.
Engineers from consulting firms, Baker and SmithGroup JJR, were on hand at the Cleveland Public Library this morning to explain that the plan has won conceptual city approval for 15 proposed roads. Impressively, they are main roads with favorable conditions—wide, low traffic volume, serve an important transportation purpose—for a road diet on a scale never before seen.
While funding and a commitment to start has not been secured, the announcement today was two fold: Cleveland has developed a design standard for a mid-road green cycle track (the first in the country), and it has won the support at City Hall. Cleveland supports the Midway, said Planning Director Fred Collier, because it would encourage “a more equitable use” of the road.
The 15 roads include two that would go a long way in forming a bike network that Collier hopes would attract those too timid to bike on the road. They are St. Clair Avenue from the Flats to the city border with East Cleveland and East 55th Street from Slavic Village to the Lakefront (based on informal voting from the 25 or so attendees, they were the clear favorites).
Baker engineer Nancy Lyon Stadtler said the attraction of a center of the road bikeway is to put cyclists away from the path of turning cars. Separate bike signals would offer cyclists a head start. Stadler admitted that smaller segments might not get built first, if at all. Neil at SmithGroup JJR said the Midway plan doesn’t have a price tag yet, but he felt it was significant that the city agreed in concept to re-purposing two lanes of a four lane road for a two-way, 10 foot bike path surrounded by six feet of a green median, and to the design standard. The 15 roads that Cleveland agreed to consider a Midway network of protected cycle tracks include:
- Buckeye between woodland and OC
- Chester between E. 13th to UC
- Community College Ave from E. 22nd to E. 35th street (Tri C)
- E. 12th Street (meets N-S criteria even though it was recently reconstructed)
- E. 55th Street -- today it’s very busy but if look at connectivity from lakefront to SV and after the OC it may be feasible to put bike lanes in.
- Fulton connecting the Zoo
- Lakeshore Blvd. in Waterloo
- Lakeside Ave from W. 3rd street east
- Lorain Ave. picks up where the cycle track has been adopted by Planning commission
- Payne Ave. downtown from E. 13th to E. 55th - as it crosses interstate no interchanges
- Pearl Road from brookpark to the Zoo
- Rocky River Drive from Lorain Ave south to Brookpark
- St. Clair Avenue East Bank to boundary of the city
- Superior Public Square to E. 55th
- Woodland Avenue downtown to MLK
Public meetings for the Midway continue this evening from 6-8 at Fairhill Partners and tomorrow (Thursday) 6-8 at Zone Recreation Center. If you’re not able to attend a meeting, and want to provide input, take the Midway online survey here.