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City, Circle Aim To Improve Non-Car Commuting

Consultants working with Cleveland Heights and University Circle highlighted the problems for bikers, walkers and bus travelers moving between the two now and what they'd like to do to improve transportation.

The City of Cleveland Heights and University Circle want to improve bus, pedestrian and bike travel between the two places and encourage people to get out of their cars.

But before they come up with concrete plans, with the help of many other cities and organizations, they want to hear feedback and input from residents.

About 40 people attended at the to hear more details about the two studies — one focused on making bike commuting better, the other on enhancing travel for bus riders and walkers.

to study the current non-car commuting methods and make recommendations to refine getting to and from the circle and the city presented some preliminary ideas.

For cyclists, they'd like to add sharrows (marks on pavement that indicate bikes can share lanes with cars), bike lanes, a combination of both or create trails in high-traffic areas like Mayfield Road, Euclid Heights Boulevard, Lee Road and that daunting hill on Cedar.

And they're considering where bike stations, which are equipped with showers, lockers and other amenities bikers need, could be located, especially for people who want to ride to work. Consultants are also reviewing bike sharing programs that allow people to rent two wheels for a day.

They also want to make bus routes more direct so transfers are not required, and clean up the overlap in schedules and routes of bus programs offered by the Greater Cleveland RTA, Case Western Reserve University and others.

After the presentation, Cleveland Heights resident and bike commuter Dana Bjorklund said she thought it was great the communities are considering making biking more convenient.

"If we have the roads better marked for cyclist, it makes it safer," she said. "We're known as a very progressive community in many ways, but I think this is a way we can be a leader."

She said she doesn't ride much in the winter and would consider taking the bus if it were cheaper.

"It's more expensive for me to ride mass transit than to drive, and there's something wrong with that," Bjorklund said.

Mark Chupp, a professor at Case, said he doesn't think the focus should be on improving bike conditions on the main roads — it should be teaching people about the smaller, alternate routes that are safer for cyclists.

"Cedar is too busy of a road and there are too many inexperienced bikers ... so often people get hurt," he said. Trying to get people off of the big roads and refining the lesser-known paths is the "missing link" for him, he said, citing the name of one of the studies.

Another meeting will be offered at 5 p.m. today at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval. Meeting attendees and those who can't make it are both asked to complete a survey online, which allows people to list their priorities, (cost, travel time, safety, etc.,) highlight routes used in travel and pinpoint where there are problems like dangerous intersections on an interactive map.

The next task for consultants is to map out a proposal of where bicycle lanes, bus routes, sharrows, sharing programs and stations should be, draft more efficient bus routes and research what it would take to add a trolley service.

The project team includes University Circle, Inc., Cleveland Heights, Michael Baker Jr., Inc., City Architecture, Parsons Brinckerhoff and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.

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