Innerbelt Study update

November 17, 2005 A thoughtful proposal by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission of the multi-million dollar Innerbelt project as an investment to reshape Cleveland's transportation network and development fortunes spurs a citizen movement. The proposal calls for a signature bridge as we prepare to replace (or add to) the current uninspiring bridge. A more southerly alignment will open up land just south of Jacobs Field for development, perhaps mitigating the higher cost for better design.

Innerbelt reconstruction moves forward, with conditions (from the March 2004 EcoCity Digest)

On February 12, the community committee overseeing the Cleveland Innerbelt project gave its conditional approval for a "recommended design concept and scope" and allowed the billion-dollar project to move into the next phase of planning. Conditions included a request by the City of Cleveland that the Ohio Department of Transporation agree to seek approvals from the City Planning Commission at the end of future planning milestones.

While generally supportive of the broad outlines of the project, citizens on the committee voiced numerous concerns. Go online for summaries compiled by the city and EcoCity Cleveland (our comments stressed that the best outcome for the city would involve reducing traffic congestion and commuting through transportation investments that support downtown housing).

Also online is an interesting letter from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, which calls for the Innerbelt project to address stormwater runoff from highways. In recent months, representatives from the sewer district have done great work to raise the issue of trasportation impacts on water quality.

The following update appeared in the February 2004 EcoCity Digest

EcoCity has advocated for non-motorized travel improvements to be included in reconstruction plans for the I-90 Central Viaduct Bridge over the Flats. Perhaps most exciting is the prospect of a pedestrian/bicycle path connecting the Tremont neighborhood (and points south via the proposed extension of the Towpath Trail) directly to Jacobs Field and downtown. The path would offer a faster, more direct route with spectacular views of the Cuyahoga River valley and the Flats.

The following update appeared in the January 2004 EcoCity Digest

In January, ODOT announced a $3.7 billion statewide package of major new transportation projects including $515 million for the Cleveland Innerbelt Curve and Viaduct. The funds will be used on the multi-phase project to reconstruct and upgrade Cleveland's Dead Man's Curve and viaduct beginning in 2010.

The following update was written by EcoCity Cleveland Transportation Manager Ryan McKenzie on September 1, 2003.

The Cleveland Innerbelt Study has narrowed the alternatives for reconstructing the Innerbelt freeway to four possibilities. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is in the midst of its 2-year study phase which involves identifying all the possible problems along the corridor and then analyzing possible solutions.

The "hybrid alternatives" range from the minimum ($350 million), which calls for modest improvements to the Central Viaduct bridge, to the maximum ($1.2 billion), which reconfigures access points on the Innerbelt freeway, constructs a new boulevard to serve the near East side and University Circle, a new roadway to serve the Cuyahoga River Valley, a new Central Viaduct Bridge, and other significant improvements.

The timetable calls for the study's 36-member Scoping Committee of neighborhood and civic leaders (including EcoCity Cleveland's David Beach and Ryan McKenzie) working with transportation consultants, business owners, and neighborhood residentsto select a preferred alternative by this fall. Actual physical work is scheduled to begin in 2007 and be completed by 2009 or 2010.

The "advanced" and "maximum" alternatives include a truck route from Whiskey Island to I-490 to alleviate truck traffic in residential areas. They also include a new six-lane boulevard beginning near the existing 1-490 exit at E. 55th Street to E. 105th Street & Quincy Avenue. Finally, they include conversion of the Shoreway to a Lakefront Boulevard through downtown, from Dead Man's Curve to W. 6th Street.

Proposed improvements in the "maximum" alternative include a completely new Central Viaduct Bridge with signature architecture, and creating street-level frontage roads along the Innerbelt trench through downtown.

A variety of other improvements are proposed, but the development of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes and an extension of RTA's Waterfront Line through downtown have been eliminated from consideration. Click for more information.

EcoCity Cleveland is participating in the Innerbelt planning process: We're working to minimize the negative impacts of this highway project on the quality of life in surrounding areas, and to actively improve conditions for walking, bicycling and public transit.

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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2005

Back to Innerbelt

The next Innerbelt meetings:

November 17, 2005 at CSU's Wolstein Center, ODOT presented its plan for the Innerbelt, including the Innerbelt Bridge. Public comments on the plan—and on a movement to construct a signature bridge— can be during December, 2005 and January, 2006.

Innerbelt Study Milestones for 2005-06

Following the November meeting, ODOT plans to continue through a set of milestones that will bring the Cleveland Innerbelt Plan to the preliminary engineering and design stage of the project development process in February 2007. The milestones are:

  • Rollout Alternatives Report for the Cleveland Innerbelt—December, 2005. ODOT will receive on this report.
  • Economic Impact Analysis—December, 2005. ODOT looks at potential economic impacts of its Preferred Alternative, specifically, proposed changes to Innerbelt Trench and closing of ramps.
  • ODOT submits Access Modification Study to FHWA—February, 2006. Detailed operational analysis of traffic revision.
  • ODOT circulates preliminary environmental impact findings to public for comment—July, 2006.
  • ODOT hosts a public meeting on ODOT Preferred Alternative and environmental impacts—July, 2006.
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