Eastside Greenway - A Vision for a Future Eastside Cleveland Bikeway

Blog Date: 
Wed Sep 23rd 2015

Eastside Greenway
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EASTSIDE GREENWAY 
The Eastside Greenway seeks to connect the east side of Cleveland with 18 Greater Cleveland municipalities through a unified trail network that will link neighborhoods to employment centers, transit and existing green spaces. The communities within the study area include East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Beachwood, Pepper Pike, University Heights, Richmond Heights, Highland Heights, Highland Hills, North Randall, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Euclid, South Euclid, Lyndhurst, Bratenahl, Orange Village and Warrensville Heights and eastern portions of Cleveland.

The Eastside Greenway project is a great idea, but in some ways I feel that it might be too early to write about it. Today it is just a great idea -- a concept for the future. I look forward to writing again about how the work of today's leaders made a difference in the quality of life.

Just imagine having bike paths that would tie the different eastside communities together! I think it could make a big difference in how the people there will live and interact.

I learned about the positive economic impact that a bike trail can have to a community last year when I met with staff from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (@RailsToTrails). (See the map of the potential biking future for Ohio/PA/WV that they shared with me). Here is the link to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Resource Library - Economic Impact.

The Eastside Greenway report that is being developed also will include information about the health benefits of a bicycle infrastructure.

Here are the Eastside Greenway vision statement and goals:

 
Vision: an interconnected system that serves the community with positive health, recreational, transportation and economic benefit 

Project Goals:

  1. Identify a non-motorized network to provide more travel options.

  2. Support economic development and reinvestment in underutilized or vacant/abandoned properties.

  3. Integrate community health considerations into preferred non-motorized recommendations.

  4. Incorporate green infrastructure into the greenway recommendations.

  5. Complement existing plans and initiatives to encourage collaboration between regional and community partners

These goals can be found on page 14 of the Public Meeting Presentation, May 2015 PDF. Read this document for interesting facts about this project.

Go to the Eastside Greenway website as it evolves to reflect the progress on this project. Later in this blog post, I mention some articles I read about the Eastside Greenway project, but I also suggest you go to the press page on the Eastside Greenway website for a list of even more articles.

 

January 28th Public Meeting – Gathering Input

I was excited to read about a public meeting on January 28, 2015, presenting the idea and seeking community input on how best to tie the eastern suburbs of Cleveland together with bike paths. I recommend learning more by reading Steven Litt's (@Steven_Litt) article Preliminary version of East Side Greenway plan ready for public reaction. Be sure to see the Eastside Greenway: Alternatives Frameworks report to the community which is embedded in the article.

I was VERY impressed with the LAND studio (@cleveLANDstudio) one-time spectacular -- AHA! Cleveland -- in August 2014. I was now interested in learning about their role in Eastside Greenway as a project that would have a permanent presence in our community. (Learn about AHA! Cleveland in my blog post: AHA! PechaKucha Night Cleveland VOL 23.)

On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at 7:00 p.m., I went to the Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern (@HappyDogAtEUC) to learn more. My first time there (I will need to get back again – fun environment) and I was happy to see so many interested people attending. It was standing-room only in the Underdog (Happy Dog's bar in the basement).

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Standing room only in the Underdog (Happy Dog's bar in the basement)
Eastside Greenway Presentation

The room was filled with engaged people looking at road maps marked with potential parallel bike paths. Display boards showed a variety of options on how these trails could be made to complement the roads and local terrain. (See pages 17-23, Public Meeting Presentation, Jan-Feb 2015 PDF.)

Attendees were invited to put stickers on the display boards indicating what bike path options were most desirable, and on the maps to show what routes would best serve our needs.

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Eastside Greenway Path Options
Eastside Greenway Path OptionsEastside Greenway Network PotentialEastside Greenway Path OptionsEastside Greenway - Major MIssing LinksEastside Greenway - Secondary Connections

To get additional perspective on this and other public meetings read:

Here are my tweets/retweets about the January and February 2015, Eastside Greenway Public Meetings:

 

 

July 21st – Community Report

On July 21, 2015, I was very pleased with the number of attendees at John Carroll University (@JohnCarrollU) for the Eastside Greenway report to the community. It was particularly good to see city officials from the eastside suburbs which would contain and maintain the bike paths, along with representatives of partner organizations like the Cleveland Metroparks (@CleveMetroparks).

Learn more about the meeting from Steven Litt's (@Steven_Litt) article that I read before attending the event: Tuesday unveiling set for Eastside Greenway vision as backers pivot to making plan a reality

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June 21, 2015 – Community Report
Eastside Greenway Public MeetingEastside Greenway - Economic VitalityEastside Greenway Eastside Greenway - Public Survey

I was also glad to learn at this meeting that the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (@neorsd - @WallyWaterdrop) and Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (@GCRTA) were project partners. It is good to know that the Eastside Greenway project has engaged partners who will be looking at the issues of runoff water pollution, and community-wide transportation needs. (If you are interested in learning more about the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's work to keep our water clean, please see my blog post: Visiting Wally Waterdrop - NEORSD Open House.)

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Eastside Greenway Partners
Eastside Greenway Goals

The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission @CountyPlanning) and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA -@NOACA_MPO) were the lead agencies presenting at this meeting. As part of the meeting, it was stated that LAND studio (@cleveLANDstudio) would most likely be charged with the responsibility of developing the plan for the next steps in the implementation of the project.

The following photo identifies priority areas:

  • Priority Projects: Near-Term
  • Priority Projects: Transformative
  • Projects Under Development
  • Future Projects
  • Existing Trails & Facilities

Eastside Greenway - Route Priorities
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Here are my tweets/retweets regarding the Eastside Greenway report to the community, and other related announcements since the meeting:

Related tweets after the meeting...

On September 22, 2015, I went to a related event: @CleveMetroparks Reservation Plan Meeting

 

Final Report – Starting Point

Eastside Greenway
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On September 21, 2015, I was told by Cleveland Metroparks Senior Strategic Park Planner Kelly Coffman (@kbcoff) that she had received an email that day saying the final report was ready for the public.

The next day I saw the following announcement in this tweet:

 

Here is the final report that was shared on the Eastside Greenway project website - Eastside Greenway Plan: A Strategic Vision to Connect Eastern Cuyahoga County

I have included the EastSide Greenway Plan PDF here:

Eastside Greenway Plan: A Strategic Vision to Connect Eastern Cuyahoga County
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As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, while it is the final report for this part of the project, it is actually the starting point for making the vision of an eastside bike system a reality.

Two interesting facts:

  • Green infrastructure will be used in creating the Greenways, including stormwater management facilities and habitats for plants and animals.

  • "Surveys by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show Americans will walk up to 2 miles and cycle 5 miles to get to a destination. Two-thirds of all trips we make are 5 miles or less."

I recommend reading Fresh Water Cleveland's (@FreshWaterCLE) September 17, 2015, article Eastside Greenway envisions future connections, since it summarizes the Eastside Greenway project.

I look forward to the day that I will be able to write a follow-up blog post in the future saying how today's leaders' wise stewardship of this idea led to the reality of a better quality of life in our community.

Related Projects

I drafted this blog post back on August 10, 2015, so I want to mention some positive developments that have transpired since then that relate to the Eastside Greenway project. These are projects that will enhance the experience of a person on the Eastside Greenway by improving adjacent biking destinations.

Great video....

Cleveland Riverfront Trails
Lucias Sidler
Published on Jul 9, 2015 This video is documentation of Cleveland's newest (2015) riverfront trails. Including Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trial which is part of LAND's studios Lake Link project and Scranton Flats section of the Towpath Trail.

 

Also, please read my "Take a Hike" - Cleveland's Flats & Beyond! blog post about Cleveland's Cuyahoga River-related development. The blog post includes information about the Cleveland Foundation announcement of a $5 million centennial legacy grant for Lake Link Trail.

 

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