This month, since we had a call from a family with an 8 year old wishing to join the ride, the Social Ride will visit places that kids would enjoy -- and do a bit more sidewalk riding than usual -- on a ~ 4 to 6 mile route.
We'll preview the nearly-finished Crooked River Skate Park right next to the co-op, some Flats history and kid-created public art near Settler's Landing, cool life-size sculptures you can pose with in Fort Huntington Park, a freighter you can visit (another time!), and free exhibits by the public restrooms at the Science Center.
Then we'll check out the rad remnants of the OLD skate park, and, after climbing E 9th St (on the sidewalk), the funnest public art in the city: the Free Stamp, great green volleyball player (next to the the 1905 Cleveland school-children-funded statue of Abe Lincoln) and the Eastman Reading Garden gnomes; on our way to view a peaceful, protected playground for the in-house-day-care-attending children of State building workers, behind a great old modern sculpture.
If we have time we'll cross the the Detroit-Superior bridge to see Don Harvey's (neglected) engaging public art on the way to the Superior Viaduct, the Powerhouse, and some other stuff on the Westbank; before crossing the coolest bridge in Cleveland. Even if we have to skip the Westbank to shortcut back into the Flats, we'll have a final stop at Hart Crane Park on Merwin St., just before arriving back at the co-op, by noon, as always.
You may have seen the giant “thermometer” by the classroom stairs gauging our donations from individuals for the year. This $7500 represents less than 5% of our annual budget -- for most non-profits it would be expected to be much more.
We strive for a very diverse array of funding sources, including mission-related earned income from bike sales and service, to fees for educational programs and even valet bike parking service. But they must also include traditional non-profit sources like grants, memberships, and donations.
So we are beginning this end-of-the-"season" appeal for donations, to help put us on a sound financial footing for 2015.
I hope you will consider making a donation to OCBC in these last weeks of the summer -- help us keep growing on the great foundation we have established this year!
With deck in place, Columbus Rd. bridge is almost ready to open -- but will it be safe for cyclists?
The August Social Ride visited Bridges of the Cuyahoga River -- at least the nearby ones -- to commemorate the only-two-months-or-so-left-to-go of the closure of our own Columbus Rd. Bridge (which is currently scheduled to re-open in late October).
The new bridge deck is now in place (and can be seen getting there in this video) so, after marveling at that feat of planning, we rode up- and then down-river, looking at bike-friendly treatments on other bridges that might have been included on the Columbus Rd. bridge if reason had prevailed in the planning process. These un-featured features could have included a concrete deck as on the old Eagle St. Bridge instead of a slippery metal grate; SlipNOT® plates as on the sidewalk of the new W 3rd St. bridge; or diamond shaped grating as on the Willow St. Bridge instead of the square ones, which are a serious and well-documented diversion hazard for cyclists.
In 2008 I emphatically voiced these concerns and suggested these solutions in a private stakeholder interview with City bicycle planner Marty Cader and a representative of the engineering contractor. Last fall, when the deck construction was beginning, I checked back to learn what had been decided. I learned that the "accommodation" for cyclists on the bridge would be a 4' wide concrete-filled section at the far edges of the deck, immediately adjacent a pedal-high curb with a low rail (visible at 4:15 in the video) to keep cars from hitting the columns -- just high enough to catch a cyclist who were to contact it below their center of gravity, sending them head-first into the columns.
This substandard width "bike lane" is barely adequate for a small volume of cyclists traveling straight across the bridge, but absolutely hazardous for those making left turns onto Carter Rd. or Merwin Ave., as there is no means of doing so without crossing potentially hazardous grating (and the transition in a turning movement to a surface with greatly reduced traction, especially in the wet, is even more likely to cause a fall, especially for inexperienced riders).
So in September 2013 Bike Cleveland and OCBC met with City officials to again voice these concerns -- which were related at the time to the striping plans for Columbus Rd. The preferred recommendations for striping were not adopted, though we are pleased to have parking lanes marked, however inadequately, and sharrows in the travel lanes, which will hopefully cut down on the high speeds and illegal passing previously common during rush hours.
What was discussed about the bridge at that time is still up in the air: whether the "bike lane" will be "protected" with bollards, if there will be a turn lane on the Northbound side for traffic into Merwin Avenue; and if the sidewalk treatment at the north end of the bridge will include a "landing area" with a crosswalk so that cyclists can make at least a "pedestrian left turn."
If you are concerned about the safety and convenience of cyclists visiting OCBC (or the adjacent Metroparks Rivergate Reservation), you can contact the pertinent City officials at the eddressed below. Please cc info@OhioCityCycles.org and in any emails to them.
Cleveland Planning Commission:
HUNT, Trevor (216) 664-2212
CADER, Martin (216) 664-2952
Mavec, Robert 216.664.2510
Ward 3 Councilman
Joe Cimperman (216) 664-2691
Flats Forward Executive Director
Now is the time when citizen's concerns can have an impact on how this project is finished.
Ohio City Bicycle Co-op
On August 7th I met at the south end of the bridge with Councilman Cimperman and representatives of the City Planning and Traffic Depts., Bike Cleveland, the Metroparks and Flats Forward to discuss possible solutions. We agreed that a "jug handle" pull-off with a striped crosswalk to enable a "pedestrian left" turn from Columbus Rd. southbound onto Merwin St. was desirable, and that striping on the bridge to create a 6-7' wide "shoulder" would continue the effect of the existing parking lane strip, and further discourage the two-abreast car travel that occurred often in the past.
Due to weight issues, non-slip roadway treatments are not possible, but the good news is that the bridge deck is indeed made with the diamond-shaped grating as on Willow St. bridge, which is the new standard.
I wish to thank Councilman Cimperman and his staff for so quickly convening this meeting, and the City officials present for their willingness to explore creative solutions. I look forward to seeing the new plans from them which were promised to be sent this week, and will share those here when I do.