Welcome to the Bruce blog—a weekly update
on news, events and issues affecting life in Cleveland. Reporting
as it happens on transit, development, planning, environment and
arts & culture.
Basically, we write about creative ideas forming,
talk to the people who have an inside track on the issues, and sometimes
offer a commentary of our own. (For disclosure purposes, Bruce blog
is a local, independent writer who also works part-time with nonprofit
Cleveland. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those
of EcoCity or any other organization).
City of Cleveland officials went into full press last
week in an effort to convince the public that they have a plan for
our future. Both Mayor Campbell at her State of The City address
and area developers, city planners and architects at the Lakefront
Plan meeting called for increasing the number of people living downtown.
At the latter, Ari Marone of MRN Partners (developers of E. 4th
St. and House of Blues) called for no small plans, insisting that
Cleveland needs at least 20,000 residents living downtown to make
it viable. The developers explained that regions should have at
least 2 to 3 percent of its population living in the city.
One proposal that seemed to generate excitement was
a plan to level out the West Shoreway at W. 6th Street in downtown.
Tom Yablonski of the Warehouse District seemed overjoyed at the
prospect of bringing a “boulevarded” West Shoreway into
downtown rather than above and around it on the Main Avenue Bridge.
Yablonski and others added a piece to the plan—calling for
an extension of W. 6th Street to the north, over the bluffs and
down to the lakefront. The extended W. 6th St. would open up new
development opportunities in the hot housing market of the Warehouse
District, Yablonski said.
Sources say that city officials approve of the plan,
but add that they have their work cut out pursuading ODOT to level
the bridge through downtown. The project might hinge on whether
the city can convince ODOT to include it as part of the West Shoreway
plan, to which the state recently awarded $50 million.
Mayor Campbell’s State of the City also addressed
the vision for redeveloping Midtown and the Euclid Corridor. Not
much has been made of this stretch of Euclid largely because it’s
been held in the exclusive domain of business interests. Bruce blog
wonders if there’s an opportunity to enhance the plan, which
currently centers around the Midtown Technology Center. The biotech
R&D facility proposed for E. 65th St. between Euclid and Chester
took a step closer to reality in 2003 when the state designated
$21 million from Issue II or the Clean Ohio Fund for acquisition,
environmental and, presumably, construction.
Signs advertising the future center (up at the site)
include artist renderings highlighting a four story, glass and steel
fortress. One is tempted to ask whether this is indicative of a
larger design for Midtown? The Cleveland Clinic has mastered the
art of dictating the built form on Euclid Avenue, arguing that biomed
R&D has higher security concerns that are at odds with a human-scale
pedestrian friendly mixed-use districts.
But, should we all fold up our chairs and go home,
or should Midtown Cleveland do a better job at sharing and gathering
input for its plans? We can start by asking the city and RTA, who
are pouring $220 million into the Euclid Corridor, to do something
more than make an inoffensive, but uninviting street wall in Midtown?
Consider the context of Midtown. In the early 20th
century, it was packed with houses, people walking to work in the
mills, and storefronts that served the neighborhood. Today, with
Gust Gallucci’s Italian market, Dubick’s restaurant
supply and Pierre’s Ice Cream, the area has potential to become
a cluster for gourmet food and related business.
Consider efforts that are underway to revise the Cleveland
zoning code to consider ‘form based’ codes. Similar
in some ways to the much ballyhooed live/work zoning overlay, form
based zoning would offer developers a guideline on redeveloping
districts like Midtown within an historical and transit-oriented
context. Then, housing above in-fill storefronts or enterprising
developers taking on the tough job of adaptively reusing the remaining
storefronts and pre-war walkups on Euclid near E. 55th St. won’t
seem as far fetched.
Critics like to knock RTA as unresponsive, but the
transit agency recently showed that it could act on public concern.
Last week, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority budgeted
$1.9 million over five years to implement the ideas that received
high marks in a recently completed rider survey.
When asked to identify ways RTA could improve the
wait for the bus/train, participants in the Transit Waiting Environment
Survey called for better information, among other, more pricey items
like bus arrival times flashed on TV screens.
While an implementation plan has yet to be determined,
a source shared wirh Bruce blog that RTA management was impressed
enough by the survey to allocate the funds.
Specifically, the funds will be used for signage about
frequency of service (how many minutes between each bus/train) and
identifying first and last bus/trains of the day. While the budget
item is a step in the right direction, questions remain. Such as,
will the $300,000 in year one that RTA puts into the project pay
for this signage throughout the entire system? Stay tuned…
Living Room Liberties, 7 p.m., at the home of Cheryl and Mickey
Weinstein, 18600 S. Woodland Rd., Shaker Heights (just east of Torrington
Rd.). By now, civil liberties activists are well versed in many
of the threats that the USA PATRIOT Act poses. The act's effects
are being felt in the arts community. Join in the discussion and
hear more about the effect that the "War on Terror" is
having on artists and art here in Cleveland. Speakers:
Cleveland Museum of Art staff members Paul Cox, Associate Curator
of Musical Arts, and Moussad Saidpour, Artistic Director, Performing
Arts Department, and Frank Kunstel, ACLU Speakers Bureau. Call 216-472-2220,
or email to RSVP.
The Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs will have a free,
live simulcast of the City Club’s three part special forum
series: "Confronting the Crisis: Should County Government Be
Reformed?" Listen and participate in this important City Club
discussion at Levin College, 1717 Euclid Ave., Dively Auditorium,
12:15 - 1:30 p.m. No registration required. Cuyahoga County is facing
a set of critical metropolitan-area challenges. What can be learned
from the reforms implemented in other areas? Moderator: Danny Williams,
Greater Cleveland Roundtable. Presenters: Richard Engstrom, University
of New Orleans; Rozelle Boyd, Indianapolis/Marion City-County Council;
Cazzell Smith, Summit County Council.
Oscar Night America is throwing parties in cities around the country,
perhaps to inspire some goodwill for the usually uninspiring awards
show. But, hey, at least Cleveland's party both benefits the Ohio
Independent Film Festival and is an excuse to see the inside of
the tower at Tower Press. Hosted by local filmmaker Robert Banks
Jr. and Dentist Donald Shingler. Call 216-651-7315.
Share your opinion of bike
lanes in Euclid Corridor with ODOT
In February, ODOT District 12 staff objected to the Euclid Corridor's
proposed design for bike lanes. More specifically, local ODOT officials
didn't like a detail which ends the stripe for bike lane markings
well back from each intersection whenever a "choice lane"
exists (straight or right turn allowed). It was the reason stated
for pulling the lanes from the project.
Cycling advocates responded by pointing to an option
in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials guide which was absent from ODOT's manual. The advocates’
move was seen as instrumental in getting ODOT to retreat from its
position, even though the lanes are not yet back in the design.
If you want to see bike lanes included in the Euclid
Corridor project, the set of upcoming public meetings are an excellent
place for you to get on the record and strengthen the City's resolve.
Your participation will make a difference.
If you cannot attend a meeting but want to take action,
consider writing a letter to the director of ODOT District 12 and
copying Mayor Campbell (addresses below).
Cycling advocates note that the City of Cleveland
is actively defending the bike lanes, and that RTA is at least neutral
(simply want to keep the project moving forward). ODOT officials
are the only ones who have advocated the removal of bike lanes from
the Euclid Corridor.
Send letters to:
David J. Coyle
Director,ODOT District 12
5500 Transportation Blvd
Garfield Hts, OH 44125
Mayor Jane Campbell
601 Lakeside Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
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