Support Cycling and Pedestrian Access for the Proposed I-90 Bridge (And Get A Great View Along the Way)

Submitted by Kevin Cronin on Sun, 11/29/2009 - 23:23.

Despite public support and an obligation to evaluate cycling and pedestrian access to the proposed Interstate 90/71 Bridge from tremont to downtown, the Ohio Department of Transportation refused to do so.In response, a bunch of cycling and community groups took on the responsibilities ODOT dropped.  Come out next Sunday, December 6th, and learn about an exciting vision for a cycling and pedestrian lane on the bridge and why an exciting, beautiful path (along with a place to enjoy the view) to connect the towpath and downtown makes sense for Northeast Ohio. 

ClevelandBikes has been working with the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op, Green City Blue Lake Institute, the Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative and others, to develop a cycling and pedestrian lane for the proposed Interstate 90/71 bridge, from Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood to downtown Cleveland.  Because ODOT refused to consider the option, despite strong public support and legal requirements, a lawsuit was filed and designers developed an option for the public to consider.

A rally to support pedestrian and bike access on the bridge will be held next Sunday, December 6th at 2pm at Lincoln Park in Tremont (W. 14th Street and Kenilworth Avenue).  Anyone interested in safe, convenient and healthy car-free access between Downtown and Tremont (and a great scenic overlook of downtown) is invited to attend: the event is free, and refreshments and entertainment will be provided. Cyclists are urged to ride their bikes, with free mechanical safety checks provided by the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op. Helmets are strongly suggested, and OCBC will have some available to borrow or purchase.

The rally will evaluate alternative walking and biking routes proposed by ODOT for the bridge and present other information about a dedicated path over the bridge.  Participants will divide into groups, taking a different route from Lincoln Park to the intersection of Ontario Street and Carnegie Avenue, where a brief rally will address the issues of equity and civic interest in this nearly $1 billion project, before returning to Tremont for refreshments and discussion of strategies for further public input in this process.

After the rally, the job is not over.  Please follow-up and attend the next meeting of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), when this local board will decide on ODOT’s final proposal for funding of this project. You can also email, call, or write Cleveland Mayor’s action line, 216 664 2900 (or email mayorsactioncenter [at] city [dot] cleveland [dot] oh [dot] us">mayorsactioncenter [at] city [dot] cleveland [dot] oh [dot] us) and the ODOT project director, Craig Hebebrand, at 216 581 2100 (or email him at craig [dot] hebebrand [at] dot [dot] state [dot] oh [dot] us) to let ODOT know you support biking and walking the proposed I-90/71 bridge!

This huge taxpayer investment -- ODOT’s largest ever -– will affect the places we live, work and play for the rest of our lives. Any donations to the event organizers will be used to help pay for engineering and professional services to document ODOT miscalculations of the feasibility and cost to safely accommodate pedestrians and cyclists in this project.  For more information, please stay tuned and visit Green City Blue Lake Institute.

Kevin Cronin
ClevelandBikes : When ClevelandBikes, Cleveland Benefits!

With all due respect, isn't this deadly?

Kevin - I love to ride and love your dedication to riding but you are proposing to place people who are physically exerting themselves and breathing deeply within a few feet of 1,000s of polluting trucks and automobiles, combined with the already bad air over the Flats... you're talking brain damage, heart attack and asthma conditions here.

Many places are just not safe for humans, and for some reason people want to put bicyclists in many of them... good use for toxic sites, some think.

Not to mention the excellent, scenic bike access from Tremont to downtown through the Flats or over the Lorain/Carnegie Bridge... with such a poor plan for the community and vehicle aspects of the ODOT bridge and such waste of transportation dollars ahead... I don't get this at all...

Explain how this is not dangerous to people's health.

Explain why this is needed by anyone.

Disrupt IT

Traffic-related air pollution and the brain

Before answering, read "Traffic-related air pollution and the brain " from the Myth of Alzheimers.

At one time, putting lead in gasoline and paint seems like a neat idea, too.

Traffic-related air pollution and the brain

Posted on October 21, 2009... some highlights:

  • There is evidence that both short- and long-term exposure to particulates are associated with reduced oxygen supply to the heart (myocardial ischemia), heart attacks, stroke, arrhythmia and sudden death, cardiovascular hospitalization and mortality and blood clotting. Compromised blood flow may contribute to reduced oxygenated blood to the brain over time.
  • It is theorized that particulates from pollution (these being a complex mix of solids and liquids including organic and elemental carbon, nitrates, sulfates, and metals) affect many organ systems in the body.
  • Studies on both humans and animals are beginning to demonstrate links between air pollution and neurodegenerative processes.  Comparisons of brain tissues show more pronounced markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and Alzheimer’s-type pathology in residents of polluted-air cities compared to residents of relatively clean air cities. Children in Mexico City have performed less well on psychometric measures, and MRI scans have revealed higher incidence of abnormal lesions in the prefrontal areas of their brains.  Similar lesions have been found in a study of dogs from highly polluted areas, strengthening this worrisome association.
  • Further, particulate matter has been found in brain tissue and in blood vessels, suggesting that fine particles of pollution may translocate from the lungs and pass through the blood-brain barrier and lodge in the brain where they cause inflammatory processes (elevated cytokines, increase in expression of the COX-2 enzyme, etc) and the deposition of neural proteins such as Abeta42.
  • Research has also demonstrated that pollution can activate the stress response in our bodies, which I would anecdotally say has been my experience living in a major US city.
  • I recently caught wind of a compelling study that will be published in next month’s Environmental Research journal, which further strengthens the association between pollution and cognition.   The researchers studied nearly 400 women in Germany who had lived at the same address for at least 20 years, and found that those near busy roads were more likely to perform worse on cognition tests.  Clearly, a multitude of factors could have influenced the womens’ cognitive performance, but the relationship between proximity to pollution and poorer cognition signals that the link between environmental health and brain health must be taken seriously.

Disrupt IT

This is one of the dumbest

This is one of the dumbest ideas I've heard since the talking about the bridge began.  There are so many other, shorter and safer routes to incorporatea bike and pedestrian lanes into without propelling them into such close proximity of fast moving traffic.

Norm, you are so right, the safety factor alone would be enough to scare the pants off anybody with common sense not to mention the funes.  Even separate lanes divided from the flow of moving traffic is not enough to provide enough distance for safe travel.  Flying objects and debris from accidents from vehicles traveling at high rates of speed could kill a person instantly.  A helmet only protects the head, what about the rest of the body?  The impact to the chest from a small gravel thrown from the tire of a big truck could take a person out as easily as a rock to the head.


Innerbelt Bike Lanes

Kevin-thanks for posting here, but I have to agree with Norm and Jerleen--it's a proposal that comes with a $$ price tag and I would consider it a gross waste of my tax dollar.* 

I would much rather see entire streets rededicated to bike traffic.  St. Clair (East) and Lake Ave. (West) and Broadway (Southeast) and Fulton (Southwest) would be a great candidates for primary bike travel.  I also think that Superior Ave. and Fairmount Blvd. could be made more bike friendly. 

To get downtown from the west side--my preferred route is to ride the wide raised sidewalk along the Lorain-Carnegie bridge.

(BTW--I am typing this from home)

 *I also think that this proposal is also meant to distract from the land and demolition issues surrounding the new inner belt which will take out houses and businesses to the west of the existing bridge/inner belt.  The money wasted and the redistribution of wealth/land going on in Tremont is unconscionable. Jerleen--the print version of the article has a photograph showing the houses to be demolished...several on Fairfield west of the innerbelt.  Stripmatic company will be bought out and demolished, too.  Consider that this business made significant investments in their property a few years ago...and how this will impact the Gateway animal clinic.

Laura, Stripmatic is a goner

Laura, Stripmatic is a goner for sure, but the Animal Clinic has been granted a reprieve and will not fall under the wrecking ball.  I know that the Greek Church is not going to be taken.  I do have a map but i don't know if I can scan it for NEO, I think it is too large. 

I will have to tell my son's

I will have to tell my son's significant other about the Greek Church.  She is Greek.  That seems a real shame as the Greek nationality is a real minority group in the area.  Maybe it is because so many of the Greeks have moved out of the area.  That's too bad, I enjoyed the Greek festival with her a few times.

I also agree that it sounds dangerous to put a bikeway next to a freeway.  I wouldn't want to ride a bike there.

I hope you understood

I hope you understood correctly - The Greek Church is NOT going to be taken by ODOT.

I misread Jerleen.  I

I misread Jerleen.  I thought you wrote that the Greek church was going to be taken.  My mistake.  I am glad to hear that it is staying in place.  Sorry about my mistake.  I will have to learn how to read all the words....that little not word says a lot.

No problem, it is easy to

No problem, it is easy to misread sometimes .  And sometimes in posting,  I will make errors that also make the meaning confusing.  That is why it is nice to be able to reply to comments - one can correct ones self. 


That is right, another

That is right, another reason to keep the comments option.

reading comprehension is an important skill

my requests for the removal of the comment feature was for a SINGLE blog entry = not the entire board.

Again, reading comprehension is an important skill.

Nobody said anything

Nobody said anything different dbra.  There was some discussion about closing the comments section, that is all.  Communication requires the ability to have feedback to assure that the reader understands what was said by the writer.  I was pointing out one example of the importance of keeping the comments option open as a way to facilitate understanding and clear up misperceptions, and yes, even to correct mistakes in reading comprehension.  No offense meant towards anyone. 

I think you're misunderstanding

 I believe the bike lane is to be a separated by a large jersey barrier from the rest of the roadway. One would not be biking directly next to the traffic as if you were going down Euclid. There are many safe examples of this typology around the world.

It would look something like this image GreenCityBlueLake has in a blog post showing a similar bike lane across an interstate bridge. They also have images of what the InnerBelt bike could look like if included, if you click through.

If the so called Jersey

If the so called Jersey barrier is anything like the one on Abbey bridge, what happens in the winter time after the snow plows hit?  It is well into spring when the heaps and piles of snow melt before you can see the paths again. 

Is Jim McKnight working with ODOT on this project?  I don't think a Jersey barrier can be a sure fire safety barrier when it comes to protecting cyclists and pedestrians on the bridge.  It is a total waste of money that would be much better spent on improving safer alternative bike routes.  This is another one of those West 14th Street "Round About" ideas that is safe in a model scale and on paper when in actual use, becomes a whole new "traffic disaster zone."

Snow on the Inner Belt Bridge

Thanks for posting here Ted--I have a degree in Landscape Architecture and did work for some time in the design profession.  We have snow in NEO and the major maintenance issues that come with it.  

Snow is a major factor never factored into so many of our design proposals.  We always want to believe a different reality.  It's better to design for our reality.

If you click through the

If you click through the link and look at the proposed design, they are showing (while not dimensioned) a quite sizable distance between the path itself and the freeway, to accommodate for the issues that are being raised.

If we used the weather as a reason not to do this, then really, where would it stop? One could make the same argument against the Euclid Corridor bike lane, or any other attempt at getting people to not rely on vehicles as their sole means of transportation. Certainly, these are reasonable issues, and if not dealt with properly, it would not be successful, but its not reason alone not to do it. I think the positives of it outweigh the negatives.

Just because you personally would not use it, does not mean other people wouldn't.

As an avid biker I would use it quite often, as well as many others I know.

I think it is time to we quite looking at our infrastructure one dimensionally. Even interstates. This is 2009, almost 2010, not 1979. The Innerbelt Bridge is a great chance to change local perceptions about what an infrastructure project such as this can be.

I definitely think issues of connectively need worked out if it the bike lane is incorporated. If it doesn't connect to anything on either side of the bridge it could be a waste of money. If it can be connected intelligently to the Euclid Corridor bike lane and to other near west side neighborhoods, it would do a lot of good.

A waste of money is the expansion to I77 south of Cleveland or the expansion of route 8 with more exits and more lanes between Cleveland and Akron as well.

Doing something that encourages people to become empowered with their personal transportation choices, in a city as improvised as Cleveland, in my mind, would never be a waste of money. 

Also, this plan is not the work of ODOT. It is a proposal that various entities (CUDC, GreenCityBlueLake, Cleveland Bikes) in Cleveland are trying to convince ODOT to incorporate. There seems to be some large misunderstanding about that. Its not an attempt distract from ODOT starting to buy properties for the new bridge. Its just some concerned citizens trying to get ODOT to do something progressive for a change. I'm not involved with the plans, but know others quite well that are, and would love to see it happen.

It is partially in response to a challenge from Steven Litt, a few weeks ago, to come up with graphical plan to sell the bike lane idea, instead of just trying to use words to convince ODOT of it.

I think you make a lot of sense

when you ask "If we used the weather as a reason not to do this, then really, where would it stop? "

we seem to do that a lot in cleveland.

hey as a photographer i'm all for it - the access to new vistas will be amazing!

you can be their friend

 they have a Facebook page with tons of fans

The article states: "One

The article states:

"One goal of the event, he said, would be to publicize safety problems with ODOT's alternative to including a bike lane on the new bridge. ODOT has agreed to improve a neighborhood bike route north from Tremont across the Abbey Avenue Bridge to East 20th Street and the Loran-Carnegie Bridge, which cyclists and pedestrians now use.

But the bicycle groups aren't happy. They say the Abbey Avenue alternative only raises new questions about safety, which have not been addressed by the city or ODOT."

I would like to know what are the safety issues with the Abbey Avenue alternative? And why does the bike route need to be placed along the freeway?  What are the advantages of having it there?

I just want to say Hallelujah!

the West 14th street ramp is open again AND someone had a flash of brilliance to add an entrance lane. No longer do you have to do a "Magic Merge" and pray the aggressive drivers will let you on the highway.

I have to say, I'm 50/50 on the bike/pedestrian lane idea. Biking through the flats sEEms ideal, until you actually dO it (I relied on bike transport to get to work Tremont-Downtown  for over a year) and then you realize the horrible condition of the road, the maniacal truckers and the damn awful soot and dirt vehicles kick up as they whiz past you, as well as two daunting hills (you're screwed either coming or going) make the "journey" less than pleasant and down right dangerous.

Both the other bridges are scary and nothing shields you from wayward vehicles. If its snowed, forget about it - you're doomed. And, I think someone on drugs designed the "bike path" on the Detroit Superior bridge - its the most dysfunctional and truly dangerous route to take.

But what really gets me is what you face once you get downtown. Its the most dangerous bike turf I know of. It seems efforts towards making that area more bike safe (forget about this "friendly" lingo crap - its life and limb thats at issue) would be the most important. Unless you're 20 something and had a childhood in gymnastics or dirt biking, you're almost certain to get injured.

I gave up on the biking to work idea a couple of years ago and now focus on fuel efficient vehicles.

I attended the Traffic

I attended the Traffic meeting at Post 58 on November 10, 2009, at which time Jim McKnight, from McKnight Associates, showed slide images of some of the new connector trails and part of the discussions included the Abbey Bridge areas over to Lorain and West Side Market. 

The new plans would be to remove the Jersey barriers and widen the pathways which would allow some type of snow removal device to maintain the crossings in the winter time.   I travel th Abbey Bridge in the winter and sometimes when it snows, you can't walk across the bridge - unless you walk in the middle of the bridge - the snow plows burries the sidewalks and the barriers.  The idea is to make the bridge safer for cyclists and pedestrians but to make it more open and accessible to those with disabilities and are wheelchair bound.  We all agreed that the entire area in Tremont should be opened up and made more pedestrian friendly - giving ALL residents more of an access to what the community has to offer and making it safer and easier to get to the libraries, bus stops, shops, churches, restaurants, etc.   The same goes for getting to West 25th and Lorain/West Side Market.

The plans also showed how these bike trails could be connected to the entire city. 



  I did not know that we


I did not know that we could make requests….if so I would like this design please.

Now, this design makes more

Now, this design makes more sense and removes the safety issues from the traffic.  I like this one.

connect both sides of the river


Why just a bridge…it could be work of art and also highly functional as it connects both sides of the river.  

Dream on-Remember the Flats anyone?

Ted--please don't be discouraged from posting and commenting here.  But, before we dream BIG for new infrastructure in NEO, I would like to
see investment and maintenance of existing infrastructure.  There are a number of beautiful lift bridges in the Flats--namely the
Eagle Ramp bridge that should be repaired and reopened.  Let's fix what we have first.  Please.

NOACA Governing Board Meeting

I'd just like to chime in here and let everyone know that the NOACA governing board is not expected to make any decision on the Innerbelt bridge at the December 11th meeting. The ODOT presentation will be a project status report for information only. There will be no resolution before the board regarding the Innerbelt bridge.

Public comment is still welcome, although it's our understanding that ODOT will not be commenting on bike/ped facilities due to pending legal action. You can find information on NOACA's public meeting comment policy on our website:

 Jonathan Giblin, NOACA