The gradually expanding network of bike-friendly streets in Cleveland and the surrounding suburbs just got a little wider with the addition of a bike lane and sharrows on Edgehill Road from Overlook Road down to Little Italy. The route, one of the most heavily-trafficked for east side bike commuters, was just freshly paved and restriped.
"This is part of the Circle-Heights Bicycle Plan
," says Chris Bongorno, Director of Planning with University Circle Inc.
, which helped to shepherd the project through in collaboration with the City of Cleveland and the City of Cleveland Heights. "We did a study that showed that 25 percent of the University Circle workforce lives within a five mile bike commute. The idea is that there would be more people choosing to bike if we give them facilities that they're comfortable using."
The Circle-Heights Bicycle Plan was funded by the Northeast Ohio Coordinating Agency (NOACA), the regional body that is responsible for divvying up federal transportation funds and helping to establish regional planning priorities. The Edgehill Road project is actually the first aspect of the plan to be completed.
The project was carefully engineered to maximize safety and functionality for cars and bikes. In addition to the five-foot-wide bike lane, there is a four-foot "bike buffer" that adds greater separation between motorists and cyclists. The downhill lane on Edgehill has sharrows, signaling to drivers that bicyclists "share" the road. The reasoning is that bikes travel nearly as fast as cars down the hill (25 mph speed limit). The plan preserves on-street parking on one side of the street.
Other bike infrastructure amenities in the area that will be completed in the next few years include an off-street trail along Cedar Glen Parkway from Cleveland Heights to University Circle. Cleveland is building its portion of the trail this year, and Cleveland Heights expects to complete its portion by 2014 or early 2015.
Coupled with the Lake-to-Lakes Trail and Euclid Avenue bike lanes, the infrastructure is slowly being added to connect the Heights to University Circle and beyond via bicycle. That's one reason why Cleveland was recently awarded a Bronze-level certification as a bike-friendly community from the American League of Bicyclists.
Source: Chris Bongorno, Richard Wong
Writer: Lee Chilcote