Traffic projects mean progress for pedestrians and bicyclists
The Heights continues to become more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly, and city of Cleveland Heights staff earned many grants to help pay for important recent improvements.
Substantial developments in 2018 included the completion of the Cedar Glen Parkway Multipurpose Pathway, first planned in 2009; the installation of buffered bicycle lanes on North Park Boulevard, thanks to a Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) implementation grant of $30,000; and the inclusion of sharrows (“share the road” symbols) painted onto Cedar Road as part of the resurfacing project, and onto Mayfield Road as part of the city’s annual road striping program. Lanes on Cedar Road were also painted to move traffic further away from pedestrians walking on the sidewalks.
NOACA installed a counter at the top of Cedar Hill (the intersection of Cedar Road, Euclid Heights Boulevard, Overlook Road and Harcourt Drive) that records pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic. The counter NOACA previously placed on Edgehill Road, between Overlook and Murray Hill roads, recorded almost a quarter million walkers in its first year!
Perhaps the most important development in the long run was that, with the recommendation of the Cleveland Heights Transportation Advisory Committee and an endorsement from Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC), Cleveland Heights City Council enacted a Complete and Green Streets Policy to specify that city streets must accommodate all users (not just motor vehicles) to the extent possible as they are planned and renovated.
Cleveland Heights participated with South Euclid, Lyndhurst and Mayfield Heights in the Mayfield Road Corridor Multimodal Plan to establish a unified vision for future road work and redevelopment (also with funding from NOACA).
The Mayfield Road Signalization Project will start a modernization of the city's aging traffic signal infrastructure with new poles, mast arms and signal heads, as well as ADA-compliant curb ramps at each intersection on Mayfield. It will be the first traffic signal system in Cleveland Heights using a fiber optic interconnection where all of the signals communicate together to enhance traffic flow, with all 16 intersections controlled from a base station. Other enhancements include emergency vehicle preemption to activate the red light in all directions when an emergency vehicle approaches, and video detection to activate the signal when a car or bicycle is stopped at a red light (too often, detection coils embedded in streets fail to detect bicyclists; video detection is expected to be a big improvement).
The interconnected traffic signals should enable vehicles to move more smoothly through the corridor and reduce emissions caused when cars idle at stops. Ultimately, the city plans to have all signals in Cleveland Heights connected through fiber optics and controlled through a single base station. The approximately $3.2 million Mayfield Road Signalization Project is funded largely by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds, with about 20 percent of the funds coming from the city of Cleveland Heights.
Major additional projects planned for 2019 are improved crosswalks and signals at Noble and Quilliams roads (thanks to Safe Routes to School funding); a reconfiguration of the intersection at Overlook and Edgehill roads, to improve pedestrian and vehicular safety; renovation of Meadowbrook Road between Taylor and Canterbury roads; a new waterline on Selwyn Road, followed by street repair; and ongoing Dominion work to replace gas lines.
Heights Bicycle Coalition
Heights Bicycle Coalition is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to educating and encouraging Heights community members to use bicycles as a sustainable and healthy form of transportation and recreation. This article was written by Mary Dunbar and members of the coalition's Communications Committee.