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Ohio DOT Can’t Fathom Bike-Ped Access on Downtown Cleveland Bridge

innerbelt_concept.jpgOhio DOT says this
concept drawing of a bike-ped path on the Innerbelt Bridge does not
convey a realistic expectation. Image: GreenCityBlueLake

We've
got an update today on a storyline we've been following for months: The
Ohio Department of Transportation's refusal to build a path for biking
and walking when they replace Cleveland's I-90 Innerbelt Bridge. Back in
December, cyclists
rallied to urge the DOT to include such a path
, which would create a
direction connection to downtown. In the face of ongoing
pressure
from local activists, as well as Congressman
Dennis Kucinich
and Senator
Sherrod Brown
, DOT chief Jolene Molitoris has continued to
stonewall the idea.

Marc Lefkowitz at member blog GreenCityBlueLake
writes:

ODOT finally released a letter explaining why it doesn’t see away to design a bridge today with a simple multi-purpose path. Workingagainst ODOT in this case are at least 30 instances where multipurpose paths are alreadyon highway bridges. The problem has never been one of can it bedone, the issue has always been our DOT cannot imagine why it should be done.

In her letter to the Governor last week, ODOT Director Jolene Molitorisshed more light on ODOT’s thinking – the bridge is a problem to besolved, not an asset to be gained. Molitoris writes: “ODOT took adifferent approach to evaluating this issue as part of this renewedsecond look. To start, we asked the very simple question: if bicycle and pedestrian access were added to the Innerbelt Bridge, what challengeswould need to be overcome?”

That sounds eerily similar to the old approach. Rather thanfigure out how to meet the community’s expectation, ODOT is looking foran excuse to lower those expectations...

Members of Congress and local business leaders alike continuethis week to press Governor Strickland to request that ODOT Region 12ask the bridge designers to think of a creative solution in their bids.In other words, this fight isn’t over; not by a long shot.

Read Lefkowitz's
full post
for some sharp observations about Ohio DOT's opaque
decision-making process.

More good stuff from around the Network: Joe
Urban
debunks Joel Kotkin's recent
piece
in the Wall Street Journal claiming the demand for city
living has been exaggerated. A visit to Boston prompts a
Burqueño
to wonder -- what if the Big Dig had been a big freeway
teardown instead? And Twin
Cities Streets for People
posts a sickening computer simulation of
how oil spewing into the Gulf may spread.

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