The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency has approved two grants to study how to improve bus, pedestrian and bicycle traffic between Cleveland Heights and University Circle.
One grant will pay for a consultant to research how bus riders and pedestrians can have more comfortable, convenient travel.
Cleveland Heights applied for the grant with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and University Circle Inc. in January, and they received $75,000. Cleveland Heights will also contribute a 20 percent match, or $18,750, toward the study, known as The Missing Links Study.
Richard Wong, director of Planning and Development for Cleveland Heights, said the consultant will consider how to implement new bus technology, such as what the company NextBus provides.
NextBus informs riders via electronic signs, cell phones and laptops how many minutes until the next bus will arrive using satellite technology that tracks buses in real time.
If a bus breaks down or is running late, riders will know, Wong said.
Now that they have the money, the next step is to hire a consultant, and the company’s priority would be “to enhance the bus riders’ experience, to make it easier and more convenient, less prone to surprise, or predictable,” he said.
The consultant will also share ways to improve sidewalks for walkers, crosswalks and ramps, and other factors that can enhance pedestrians’ ability to walk from neighborhood to neighborhood, Wong said.
In addition to the bus and pedestrian grant, NOACA is giving Cleveland Heights, in conjunction with University Circle Inc. and the Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition, $40,000 to hire a consultant to study ways to improve roads for bicycle travelers between the city and University Circle. Cleveland Heights will contribute $5,000 as well to the study, known as The Circle-Heights Bicycle Network Study.
Adding “share the road” signs and bike lanes are just a few of the ideas the consultant will review, Wong said.
In some areas “share the road signs” are more effective because of parallel parking, Wong said. Also, when bicyclists pick up speed going downhill, it’s difficult to stay within a narrow lane, so those factors will be reviewed as well.
Sharrows, which are images of a bike and two arrows above it painted on streets to remind drivers to share the road with those on two wheels, were painted on this past fall on sections of Euclid Heights Boulevard, Edgehill Road and other areas of the city as an experiment, Wong said.
Snow, salt and scraping faded and removed most of them, he said, so the study will also review paint that can withstand Cleveland weather.
While Wong has several ideas, he said the city needs an expert opinion.
“We have to know volume of traffic, conditions of the road, and the width. A road only has so much capacity, and we can’t come up with solutions unless we know that they are feasible.”