Work on the Lake to Lakes Trail, a plan to connect Lake Erie to through Rockefeller Park and University Circle, is already under way.
One of the next steps is to acquire money to construct the portion outside of Cleveland, and the Cleveland Heights City Council started that process at its .
Cleveland Heights City Council members authorized Susanna Niermann O’Neil, acting city manger, to apply for funding under the federal Transportation Enhancements Program in conjunction with the City of Shaker Heights and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.
O’Neil said Shaker Heights asked that Cleveland Heights join in this effort.
If the grant is awarded, the city will provide matching funds at 20 percent for a portion of the engineering costs. The match will not exceed $30,000, said Vice Mayor Dennis Wilcox.
“As you know, improving bicycle infrastructure between Cleveland Heights and University Circle and from Cleveland Heights to Shaker Heights would benefit the city and its residents by providing a healthy, ecologically sustainable alternative to driving for commuting, general transportation and recreation,” Wilcox said.
If the funding is approved, it would link up the Harrison-Dillard Bikeway, built in 1997. The 3.7-mile trail runs from Lake Erie and Gordon Park through Rockefeller Park along MLK Drive, said Martin Cader, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the Cleveland Planning Commission.
Cader said the bulk of the work on the 1.5 miles of new trail in Cleveland will likely be complete by the end of August. The city will need to add minor landscaping and other details, so the entire project in Cleveland should be finished by fall.
The old bikeway will receive ramp and crosswalk upgrades and be repaved as well, he said.
The portion for Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights to connect to the Lower Shaker Lake is less than a mile, he said, and will link at the intersection of Stokes and MLK and follow Fairhill Road.
The multipurpose trail will be 10 feet wide and have two lanes for bike traffic, he said.
Cleveland has spent about $1.62 million on the project, and it was paid for using some money from the city's capital improvement fund and with a stimulus grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“We’re connecting people to one of our major employment centers in Cleveland — University Circle … A lot of cyclists are coming down from Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, so this will hopefully spur more people to use their bike to go to work as opposed to driving their car that short distance down the hill,” Cader said. “We’re really starting to create a regional trail network that will make us a much more bike friendly city.”
For more information about the Lake to Lakes Trail, click here.