When Will Cleveland’s Streets Become Bikeable?
In the late 1980s, as Cleveland was experiencing a surge in automobile use, the city created a “road master plan,” outlining where streets would be paved and where they wouldn’t.
“We created a bicycle master plan.
And what we said was, ‘Here’s what we want you to build,’ ” says Bill McBride, a city engineer who worked on the plan.
But in the years since, Cleveland’s bike-friendly infrastructure has become a template for the nation’s cities, thanks to a series of victories. “
The plan was never final.
But in the years since, Cleveland’s bike-friendly infrastructure has become a template for the nation’s cities, thanks to a series of victories.
In New York, where the city has a population nearly four times the size of Cleveland, bike lanes have been installed in many neighborhoods, including a stretch of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
In Detroit, the state-of-the-art Crosstown Light Rail is in its first phase of construction.
And in Minneapolis, a new pedestrian bridge linking the waterfront with the city’s Riverfront Park has opened.
In the Cleveland area, the new bike path along the riverfront is also a sign that the city is making strides in its bike-friendliness, even as other cities struggle to find the right mix of bike infrastructure and transportation.
“Bicycles are a big part of that. “
It’s a pretty obvious thing that we should do in Cleveland,” says Kevin Smith, a member of the group.
“Bicycles are a big part of that.
But I think there’s a whole lot of work that still needs to be done to make that happen.”
Smith says the city should build more bike lanes and bike paths to create “a bikeable environment.”
“We’re not going to be able to have every bike lane that we need,” he says.
Smith is part of a group of more than a dozen bicycle advocacy groups in Cleveland, which have been working for years to build bike infrastructure along the city, including dedicated lanes, bike racks and bicycle infrastructure for pedestrians.
They’ve created the Cleveland Bicycle Coalition and the Cleveland Cycle Alliance, both of which have held meetings to discuss ways to make bike-access easier for Clevelanders.
The group has met with city leaders, including Mayor Frank Jackson and several members of the city council.
They also worked with local business owners to build more accessible bike racks for businesses.
When the group met with the mayor and the council on Tuesday, it was clear the group was going to get a lot of pushback.
“I think he’s going to have to listen,” says Dan Zampese, the council’s chairman.
Zampese says he doesn’t think the city will be able as quickly as it needs to.
“It’s not that we’re going to say, ‘We’ve got to build the roads, but we’re not even going to build those bike lanes,'” he says, “because we don’t have the funds.”
For some cyclists, the fight over bike infrastructure is also about the city taking a stand against the car culture.
Bicyclists, for example, are increasingly frustrated that the number of people in cars has declined, and some are turning to the streets to escape their daily commute.
But, according to a new report from the American Cycling Coalition, the number and types of bikes in the city are up, but bike lanes are down.
The report found that the percentage of people using bikes on streets with a bike lane has decreased from 32 percent in 2014 to 26 percent in 2016, and the percentage who bike on streets without bike lanes has decreased to just 18 percent.
The number of bicyclists has also dropped from 5.5 percent in 2013 to 3.5 in 2016.
According to the report, the most common type of bike lane is one with a curb cut off.
Bike lanes with curb cuts are used by people who commute by foot or bicycle.
The group also found that there are fewer people biking on streets where there is no bike lane.
In addition, the average speed on Cleveland streets has decreased.
“I think people want to do what they can to get off the road, but it’s really tough for them to do that if they’re going the speed limit,” says Josh Bowers, the president of the Cleveland Bike Coalition.
In his report, Bowers said the group plans to continue to fight to make Cleveland more bike- and pedestrian-friendly, including increasing bicycle access along the waterfront and working to make it easier for people to access parks and bike lanes.