EcoCity Cleveland alerted the Mayor to the impending loss of bicycle lanes in the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project in the following letter.
Within days, the City sent a letter to RTA affirming its understanding that the project "will include bike lanes that are stamped, striped, and signed from the campus of Case to Cleveland State Universities."
January 17, 2005
The Honorable Jane Campbell, Mayor
City of Cleveland
601 Lakeside Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44102
Dear Mayor Campbell,
On behalf of our members and the community as a whole, we are writing to ask that you demand that full bicycle lanes be returned to the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project proposal.
As you have noted in many public speeches and comments, bike lanes between CSU and Case are essential. We thank you for your leadership, and note that both the Cleveland Planning Commission (April 16, 2004) and Cleveland City Council (April 26, 2004) have each taken votes to define bicycle lane design guidelines, and support ODOT-approved bike lanes as part of the ECTP. This is the best place to start building a safe and convenient bike network in Cleveland
We have recently learned, however, that RTA’s 90% submittal still fails to respond to these very specific calls for full bike lanes that meet defined safety standards. The 90% submittal does not deliver the ODOT-approved bike lanes as agreed upon, and instead offers a paved shoulder of inconsistent width, with 18 conflict-prone intersections and a meaningless “bike route” designation.
Some would like to wave off the change as simply "lane" vs "route" semantics. Unfortunately, they are dangerously misinformed – the safety differences are significant.
Bicycle "lanes" must meet specific design standards for safety – especially at intersections (where crashes are far more likely to happen) – and they therefore create clear rights and responsibilities for all road users. On the other hand, there is no safety standard required to designate a "bike route" – it is an empty and almost cynical gesture. ODOT knows the importance of this distinction, and is careful to uphold these standards.
In this case, RTA’s 90% submittal shows the roadway narrowing significantly at approaches to 18 intersections, forcing cars and bikes together at the very places where the danger is greatest. It is absolutely crucial that these narrowing intersections are designed clearly for the safety of all corridor users. Yet no ODOT-approved pavement markings or signage are proposed in the 90% submittal.
If the project is built as currently proposed, the result will be a less safe environment on Euclid Avenue – after all the design, construction, and money spent –than we have today.
This is even more troubling because Euclid is the only viable non-motorized corridor between downtown Cleveland, University Circle and suburbs to the east.
ECTP staff have been aware of these design deficiencies since ODOT articulated them in a June 10, 2004 letter to the project consultants. At RTA’s direction, the consultants replied on July 16 with a very detailed plan defining two options for fixing the problems (including a no-additional-ROW option). The consultant’s transmittal letter noted “we do not believe this will be a significant cost increase,” but that “some amount of re-design will be necessary.” It further noted that “option A provides a project that best combines stakeholder expectations and enhanced safety by the addition of continuous 5’ bike lanes through all intersections.”
Despite this assessment and recommendation, no design corrections were attempted, and ECTP staff decided to eliminate the agreed-upon, ODOT-approved bicycle lanes. We’re told that Director Ronayne, his planning staff, and the public knew nothing of this fundamental safety change until late December 2004.
It is crucial that you stand firm in requiring RTA to include ODOT-approved bike lanes in this important project:
Mayor Campbell, your administration, the Planning Commission and the Council could not have been more clear about the requirement that Euclid Avenue include this crucial safety and quality of life element. The consequences of missing this opportunity would be felt daily by Clevelanders for many decades to come, but can be corrected now with minimal cost and delay to the project.
We therefore urge you to withhold City approval of the ECTP 90% submittal until RTA presents plans that include ODOT-approved bicycle lanes.
David Beach, Executive Director
Ryan McKenzie, Transportation Program Manager