A video released last week gives Clevelanders the clearest picture yet of plans for a greenway beside the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's Red Line. The idea has drawn comparisons to New York’s High Line or Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail (aka The 606). The Rotary Club of Cleveland on Wednesday revealed their plans for the Red Line Greenway, a 3-mile linear park that would run from the Zone Recreation Center at West 65th Street to downtown Cleveland using a right-of-way next to the RTA's Red Line. At a meeting last week, Rotary member sought public input on the $13 million project, over which they've signed a memorandum of understanding with Cleveland Metroparks and RTA. A fundraising campaign is forthcoming, said supporters including the Rotary's Leonard Stover. The federal government has provided the three-phase project a $2 million grant—a little less than half the cost of the first leg, an extension from the RTA viaduct west to West 41st Street. Construction would not begin before 2019, Stover told Steven Litt of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Litt has the Rotary's full presentation on the newspaper's website.
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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.
Cleveland’s conflicting development pressures came to a head last week over one avenue on the city’s West Side, and whether its future holds car-oriented businesses like McDonald’s or lanes for public transit and bike paths. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt reported on developers’ plans to suburbanize the area around Lorain Avenue at Fulton Road: “Residents hate the idea with a passion,” he wrote. Much of Cleveland was designed when its population was far greater than it is today. Though on the rebound, the city has far different needs than it did in decades prior. That’s the thinking behind the Ohio City Inc. community development corporation’s new plan, which calls for a $17.3 million overhaul of the avenue from West 25th to West 85th streets. The route would include a 2.3-mile, bicycle track along the north side of the street—the city’s first separated, two-way paths for bikes. Proponents of the plan and those who’d prefer automobile-oriented development could have it out at an upcoming community meeting in January in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood (time and place to be announced). The City Planning Commission could pick it up from there. Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, and recently reexamined transportation policies to build on the increasingly urban character of this self-described artisan neighborhood.
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.
Rafael Vinoly recently completed a new addition and renovation at the Cleveland Museum of Art, a major encyclopedic collection set in the city’s leafy University Circle area, which includes Case Western Reserve University and cultural institutions like the famed Cleveland Orchestra. The campus includes a 1916 Beaux Arts building and a Marcel Breuer-designed addition from 1971. Vinoly reportedly worked closely with the museum’s then director Timothy Rub, and critics have praised the addition’s galleries and the improved circulation throughout the complex. While I’m not wild about the stripes on the exterior of the new East Wing, which at first seem like an odd echo of postmodernism from Vinoly, Breuer used similar bands of stone in his wing, and Vinoly's substantial proportions in masonry and glass strike a good balance between Beaux Arts and Brutalism. This is the first of a two-phase expansion. Rub recently left Cleveland for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he will oversee a major expansion at that museum by Frank Gehry. If it turns out as well as Vinoly’s work in Cleveland, the Philadelphia project will help to put to rest the belief that Gehry’s museums are not very art- or curator-friendly.