South Euclid, Cleveland Heights, University Heights could become a pilot region for the county’s ‘Bike Boulevards’
SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio – South Euclid, along with Cleveland Heights and University Heights, may in the future be home to something known as Bike Boulevards designed to provide cyclists with safer paths to their destinations.
South Euclid City Council, unopposed, on Tuesday (Sept. 27) approved seeking a TLCI grant from the Northeast Ohio Regional Coordinating Agency (NOACA) to create the first regional lane connectors Neighborhood Greens in Northeast Ohio by designing and marking various routes in communities. Before the grant application is officially filed, the city councils of Cleveland Heights and University Heights must first discuss and approve the project.
The project is part of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission’s Greenways Network initiative, which aims to eventually include all communities in the county.
“It’s about creating bike boulevards,” said South Euclid Community Services Manager Keith Benjamin. “So (as an example) instead of a cyclist having to take Warrensville Center Road, which with north-south traffic is crazy with cars going 35 miles an hour, you create these connectors that go to north and south, in the same neighborhoods and same area, but you do them on the side streets – 25 MPH streets where traffic is much slower.
“With the signage and the sharrow markings (pavement markings that aim to improve bicycle safety), you create these neighborhood connectors – connectors to our parks, connectors to schools and also connectors to other cities. There is a proposed connector that would go through South Euclid, to University Heights, to Shaker Heights.
Benjamin said Shaker Heights was involved in the planning of Bike Boulevards, but said, “It’s just for scale. The three communities for this phase, that’s phase one, are South Euclid, Cleveland Heights, and University Heights.
If funded, South Euclid will serve as lead agency for the project. Although the exact amount of the grant is not known, Benjamin said it could be between $150,000 and $200,000.
The three cities are expected to invest money in the project in return for the grant. “But implementing Bike Boulevards isn’t an expensive proposition,” said Benjamin, who writes South Euclid’s grants. “It’s mainly about signs, setting up plows, education and awareness, and implementing common sense traffic calming measures.”
In a memorandum he wrote to South Euclid City Council, Benjamin said: “Cycle boulevards are streets of low volume and speed of motorized traffic, designated and designed to prioritize travel by bicycle. Bike boulevards use signs, pavement markings, and speed and volume management measures to discourage motor vehicle travel and create safe and convenient bike crossings of busy thoroughfares.
Benjamin said there is “no major construction associated with this project.”
“I think it’s a great idea because the more connections we provide to various cities by alternative means, bikes, walking, etc., the better it is for residents,” said John Fahsbender, councilor for South Euclid. “It’s not fun to ride a bike on the main arteries. You just can’t move from place to place.
“And if you have the designated bike lanes, you can get from your house to parks and other places. What’s envisioned is a county-wide effort, so you’ll be able to take these greenways and get to the lake, river, and various other locations.
As part of a recent road improvement project, South Green Road in South Euclid has had a lane added for cyclists, along with a number of street markings to ensure safety cyclists.
If NOACA grants the money, South Euclid, Cleveland Heights and University Heights would serve as pilot regions for implementing the Neighborhood Greenways plan. The grant application must be submitted before October 7th.
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