Advocating for Bike and Ped Access in Cleveland, With a Beat

A couple of months ago, we wrote about Clevelanders protesting
a $450 million rebuilding of the city’s Innerbelt Bridge that fails to
include bike and pedestrian access. Since then, the Ohio Department of
Transportation has dug in its heels,
saying that there is no time to make any amendments to the
environmental impact statement on the project before a March 2 deadline.

But Streetsblog Network member Green City Blue Lake
says that bike lane advocates aren’t giving in yet, and are determined
to use the time between now and March 2 to continue pushing for
amendments to the bridge plan. Yesterday, they posted the video above
to spread the word. Here are some of the lyrics:

Those who don’t have a car still do
Pay public infrastructure taxes too
So why can’t those who don’t have a car
Use the bridge in their own backyard?…

All kinds of traffic should be delivered
Up over the Cuyahoga River
If they drive a bike or just walk around
Give everyone a way to get downtown.

Let’s keep Cleveland on the right track.
Take a step forward not a step back
Now is the chance if we answer the call
To build a bridge that connects us all.

 They’ve got some support at the City Council level. From a GCBL post earlier this week:

"When you design a bridge, you don’t design it just for cars, you design
it for people," Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone told ODOT Innerbelt
Project Manager Craig Hebebrand at [a February 8th] Cleveland Planning
Commission [meeting]. "Why should the citizens of Cleveland settle for second
class? We should demand [a multi-use path on the bridge] from the
design phase. We should demand something better. Let’s see what the
prices come in. In Shanghai and in Portland they are designing bridges
for people."

Hebebrand said it’s too late from ODOT’s perspective to make any
changes. "There’s no way to physically amend the documents to add the
addendum in time."

Planning Commission member Lillian Kuri, however, got Hebebrand to
admit that there will be many addendums to the Environmental Impact
Statement before the end. Adding an addendum to that EIS for a bike/ped
multi-use path now should not be used an excuse, Kuri said.

Advocates agree, and we charge that we have 25 days, or 220 hours
until ODOT’s imposed March 2 deadline. We also contend that where
there’s a will, there’s a way. The comments from Councilman Matt Zone
illustrate this sentiment; and given Hebebrand’s assertions, it is
perhaps proof positive that the issue transcends ODOT and its usual
bureaucracy, and so it’s time to move up the chain of command.

We’ll keep following this story.

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A rendering of the bridge bike and ped path. This will soon be changed into another car lane if pro-car politicians in Marin and elsewhere have their way. Image: MTC/HTNB

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