McDonald’s Development Flares Urbanist Tensions in Cleveland

Midwest, Urbanism
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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cleveland's lorain avenue would include the city's first two-way bike path under a plan from the ohio city development corporation. (Behnke Associates, Inc., and Michael Baker Corp.)

cleveland’s lorain avenue would include the city’s first two-way bike path under a plan from the ohio city development corporation. (Behnke Associates, Inc., and Michael Baker Corp.)

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.

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