An iconic pedestrian bridge planned for downtown Cleveland has been delayed, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Steven Litt. Originally planned to be ready in time for the Republican national convention in 2016, the $25 million steel bridge would connect the northeast corner of Cleveland's downtown Mall to an open space on the shores of Lake Erie between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Great Lakes Science Center. Passing over two other designs, the Group Plan Commission also indicated a preference for a cable-stayed bridge designed by architect Miguel Rosales of Boston. But now the bridge, which will accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians, won't be complete until 2017, officials said. Cleveland and Cuyahoga County each agreed to pitch in $10 million for the project. The state of Ohio will pay the remaining $5 million.
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Cleveland's lakefront attractions and downtown have long been estranged neighbors, not easily accessed from one another without a car. The city and Cuyahoga County plan to fix that, offering a 900-foot bridge for pedestrians and bicycles that will hop over railroad tracks and The Shoreway, a lakefront highway built in the 1930s. The $25 million bridge takes off from the downtown Mall, touching down between the I.M. Pei–designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center, designed by Boston's E. Verner Johnson. Another Bostonian is heading up design duties for the new bridge. Miguel Rosales' firm Rosales Partners hatched three design schemes with the help of Parsons Brinckerhoff. The final design has not been selected, and regional officials say it will come down to community input. Construction is expected to begin May 2015, wrapping up by June 2016. But before that, public authorities are seeking comment from the bridge's eventual users by hosting a free public meeting from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 13, in the County Council chambers on the fourth floor of the county administration building, 2079 East Ninth Street, Cleveland. All the options are visually striking. Whether suspension, cable-stayed, or arched, the bone-white bridge wends through renderings made public last week, framing the Cleveland Browns' lakeside FirstEnergy Stadium. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Steven Litt wrote, the bridge fulfills a longtime goal of planners and urbanists in northeast Ohio:
Creating a bridge from the Mall to North Coast Harbor and lakefront attractions including the Rock Hall has been something of a holy grail in Cleveland city planning for nearly two decades. Yet until now, the city has been unable to mobilize support and fund the project. The city failed three times in recent years to win a federal grant for the project under the TIGER program, short for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.But now, Litt wrote, the city and county each agreed to kick in $10 million, which led the state to close the $5 million gap. A 2013 city-county partnership and the news that Cleveland would host the next Republican National Convention apparently provided the incentive they needed to take on the project, which officials said will be complete by the convention in 2016. The three design options are as follows: The suspension bridge option: The cable-stayed option: The arch option:
The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium is striking back against a wide-ranging problem that has scarred few regions more than this corner of the Midwest: sprawl. The non-profit is a collaboration between city, county, and regional government entities, as well as private foundations and academic institutions. It is funded by a $4.25 million grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, along with $2.4 million in local matching funds. As part of its final push in a three-year effort to chart a sustainable future for Northeast Ohio, the voluntary group has convened a series of public forums to persuade roughly 400 municipal entities in the 12-county area to reverse course before business-as-usual development trends further burdens the regional economy. New infrastructure to accommodate more suburban development would leave the region as a whole with a 33.7 percent gap between revenues and expenses, the Consortium estimates, if people continue to move away. If population loss is less severe, that gap could shrink to only 6.4 percent, but in that case local developers would need to sacrifice nearly 50,000 acres for suburban development. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on the Consortium’s third way: A third scenario, labeled “Do Things Differently,” assumes that the region consumes only 4,100 acres of land through additional suburban development, but builds 2.5 times the amount of new urban housing than under the “Trend” or “Business as Usual” scenario. “Do Things Differently” also assumes that 20 percent more jobs would be located near transit than if current trends are allowed to continue. The result: a 10.4 percent surplus in local government budgets. Cleveland has made a push for high-density development and urban renewal, including recent developments around Cuyahoga County’s new $465 million convention center. But as Northeast Ohio attempts to escape its past, regional initiatives could play an increasingly important role.