Cleveland is considering a 40-block protected bike path down Lorain Avenue, one of the city’s busiest streets. Increased bike infrastructure in Cleveland comes as no surprise. According to Cleveland radio station WCRN, the Washington-based cycling advocacy group, League of American Bicyclists, recently pointed to Cleveland as one of the country’s fastest-growing cycling towns.
Still, not all are on board. Some business owners fear that it will cause traffic problems.
“I think there’s a problem with crowding at the intersections,” local business owner, David Ellison, told WCPN. “If you narrow the street down, with trucks making turns, and only two lanes of traffic—one in each direction—I can only imagine it will get quite a bit slower.”
In many cities, businesses worry that better bike infrastructure, which means fewer parking spots, can lead to a decrease in business. But in practice, the opposite is often true.
Urban planners in Cleveland describe the narrowing of its streets as putting them “on a diet,” according to WCPN. “Back when Lorain Avenue was built, we had a million people in the city of Cleveland,” Tom McNair, director of the west side development group, Ohio City Incorporated, told WCPN. “We now have 400,000.”
According to WCRN:
If the bike path design —- and associated street upgrades —- are approved by the City Planning Commission, Ohio City organizers will begin a fundraising effort. They are hoping to combine money from several sources to finance what’s estimated to be an eight-to-sixteen-million-dollar project, which they’d like to get underway within the next year.
Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.