Friends of the Circle-Heights Bike Network: Meeting one minutes

Monday, June 16, 2003
7-8:15 p.m.
Cleveland Heights Public Library/Coventry Branch

Attendees: Ryan McKenzie, Marc Lefkowitz, Larry Tafe, Mike McGraw, Dominic Liberatore, Chris Adams, Rip Ruhlman, Neil Bognar, Arline Bognar


Ryan introduced the concept of a Circle-Heights Bike Network. The group discussed the need to work on making streets in a 16 square mile area in University Circle, Cleveland Hts., Shaker Hts. and University Hts. more bike friendly. In the process, the group hopes to raise awareness of bikes as a practical means of transportation that is affordable, fun, and improves health.

Each attendee expressed his or her areas of concern as a cyclist, including specific streets with broken pavement, problem intersections, and a general lack of "safety" or visibility on the road. Each also offered suggestions for improvements or areas they would like to work on improving.

Major areas identified to focus efforts:

  • Partnering with staff from cities in the network to help implement a plan for improved bicycle amenities
  • Boosting public awareness of cyclists' right to the road through signage, pavement markings, promotions, etc; and
  • Improve safety and accessibility for riders on the road

II. Goals

The group discussed ways of creating the network and offered both short- and long-term goals, including:

  • Wayfinding signage (marking bike routes)
  • Paint on the road (striped bike lanes)
  • Safety training for cyclists
  • Encouraging motorists to "share the road"
  • A community-wide "Ride the Heights" event

III. Short-term projects

The group expressed concern and the desire to improve conditions on the road for safer cycling. A short-term solution is to have each member of the group travel selected streets with a notepad and possibly a camera, documenting areas of concern, i.e. big potholes, sewer grates in the wrong direction (parallel to the road), roads that could be swept of debris. Each member could draft a short letter to their city service department noting the areas of concern and requesting a repair. Ryan noted that putting these issues in writing doesn't have to be adversarial, but it has the advantage of making the city liable for fixing them.

IV. Long-term projects

a. A discussion ensued about where to begin. Ryan mentioned that Cleveland Heights offered to have their sign shop fabricate wayfinding signs; Shaker also would welcome wayfinding signs. Ryan announced that he had a discussion with a professor in the Industrial Design department at Cleveland Institute of Art about organizing a design competition for wayfinding signs, possibly for the fall. If that process begins soon, a signage system could be in place by next spring. Follow up is needed with the cities and CIA to put the proposal in writing as well as research on national best practices (a Web search). The group might offer to seek grant funding from NOACA for this wayfinding design and fabrication process.

b. Dominic announced that Shaker Heights has received enhancement funds from NOACA for improving walking and biking conditions at Chagrin and Lee roads near Shaker Towne Center. Shaker council is supportive of bike improvements on Chagrin Road, he added. The Friends group can work on getting a commitment in writing from the city, encouraging the city to consider improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians with a letter writing campaign and help put a program together. Dominic has a letter that he wrote to the City of Shaker Hts. about his street that might serve as a template.

c. To develop a plan, the Friends group could do the leg work that would serve as the basis for a study for a bike lane on Chagrin, Lee, Euclid Heights Boulevard, Coventry Road or other city streets. The Friends might write letters and make phone calls to steer the implementation of bike lane feasibility studies (looking at intersection improvements, traffic signal timing, traffic counts, etc.), and conduct pavement studies to determine the location of hazards.

d. Neil noted that the group should focus on bicycling as a fun, family activity (not just a transportation option). He suggested that people might identify with a concept like "Ride the Heights," where routes are identified that connect fun and interesting aspects of the city, such as great gardens or parks.

e. Marc suggested reaching out to block club groups, or neighborhood councils in order to expand the Friends group.

f. Arline suggested that the group promote and involve more of the public at community events, and that rider education classes should be considered a priority.

V. Next steps

The Friends agreed that identifying 'Hot spots' or areas of concern on streets should be the next step. This will involve surveying their streets and identifying the hotspots. A letter writing campaign can follow.

Hot spots and letters to the city will be the topic of the next meeting.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 16 at Cleveland Heights/Coventry Rd. Library at 6:45 p.m.

If you have any questions, call Ryan or Marc at 216-961-5020. Ryan will set up a Yahoo Groups account so that the Friends group can communicate via email in between meetings.


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