Construct a Trail from Metroparks Washington Park Reservation to East 9th Street in Cleveland

On September 13, 2013, the NOACA Board of Directors approved the following regarding this project: Resolution No. 2013-029 Project Planning Review and Resolution No. 2013-030 Plan and TIP Amendment. The project Planning Review (PPR) and Intergovernmental Review and Consultation (IGRC) processes for this project are now complete.

Title: Construct a Trail from Metroparks Washington Park Reservation to East 9th Street in Cleveland
Sponsor: Cleveland
Name: CUY DOWNTOWN CONNECTOR TRAIL
Estimated Total Cost: $1,818,149 (preliminary engineering and construction)
Proposed Source of Federal Funds: NOACA

History/Background: In 2008, the City of Cleveland/Slavic Village Development (SDC) prepared the Slavic Village Greenway Bike/Pedestrian/Transit Connections through NOACA’s Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) program. The purpose was to create an overarching plan for the Broadway-Slavic Village area, integrating the planning initiatives with elements of the existing neighborhood fabric. In 2010, the City of Cleveland (SDC) prepared the Downtown Connector Trail (Washington Reservation Metropark to East 9th Street), which was last updated January 2012. In June 2013, the City of Cleveland (project sponsor) submitted an application to NOACA requesting funding to build Phase I of the proposed Downtown Connector Trail.

Current Conditions: The sponsor reports there is currently no east side connection of the Towpath Trail to Downtown Cleveland. The sponsor reports that Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Steel Warehouse and the Job Ready site have all agreed to support the project and provide the necessary easements. The built urban environment creates many obstacles for trail and greenway development, from scarce open space to large engineering obstructions. According to the sponsor, the proposed project will enhance Cleveland's active transportation plan and put thousands of residents within a 10-30 minute bike ride to major employment and activity centers. Furthermore, off-road trails in Cleveland promote a network of safe bikeways and provide more and better healthier choices for getting around Cleveland.

The City of Cleveland (project sponsor) used a $5 million state grant to level out the land on a 57-acre site located east of the river and just west of the Pershing Avenue exit off I-77 and prepare it so a business can move in quickly. The land, formerly owned by ArcelorMittal was used to dump slag from steel production, and will be the largest redevelopment project in the city's industrial and commercial land bank. The city expects to spend $14 million buying and preparing the land to suit a large tenant, such as a wind-turbine company or other alternative-energy business. According to the sponsor, the Board of the entity that is responsible for the Job Ready site, The Greater Cleveland Community Improvement Corporation (GCCIC), has agreed to allow a 30-foot-wide easement along the entire eastern edge (along I-77) for the proposed multi-purpose trail. As part of their support a fence will be installed to delineate the trail and provide a buffer between future trail users and the Job Ready site.

Proposed Project: The proposed Downtown Connector Trail project involves the construction of a trail from the Washington Reservation Metropark to East 9th Street in Cleveland (illustration).

The sponsor’s funding request consists of four components:

  • The sponsor is requesting funding for preliminary engineering detail design (PEDD) for Phases 1 and 2 of the proposed Downtown Connector Trail project (Washington Reservation Metropark to East 9th Street). The estimated cost of the PEDD is $422,682. The sponsor requests that eighty percent ($338,146) of the PEDD cost be funded with Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funds as allowed by NOACA’s Regional Transportation Investment Policy (RTIP) Urban Core Preliminary Engineering Program. The sponsor will provide the 20 percent local match ($84,536).
  • Phase I of the proposed Downtown Connector Trail will extend the off-road Towpath Trail connection of the Metroparks trail (that ends at Fleet Avenue and East 49th Street) to the existing Morgana Run Trail (located approximately ½ mile north on East 49th Street) and would continue ½ mile north to Pershing Avenue. The majority of the Phase I Trail would be on the west side of I-77 and run parallel to the interstate.The sponsor reports that sharrows will be added to the streets along the remaining proposed route (i.e. Pershing Avenue to Broadway, north to Orange Avenue) temporarily and remain in effect only until the remainder of the Downtown Connector Trail is completed. According to the sponsor, this first phase would create access to Downtown Cleveland, connecting to the Metroparks Washington Park Reservation, the Job Ready Site, and the new Velodrome located at Pershing Avenue and Broadway Avenue becoming an important commuter bike route and an economic generator. The estimated cost for construction of Phase I is $1,314,967. The sponsor requests 80 percent $1,051,974 of the construction cost be funded with TAP funds. The sponsor will provide the 20 percent local match ($262,993).
  • Phase 2 of the proposed Downtown Connector Trail would consist of connecting the Trail at Pershing Avenue to Broadway and then off- road through land owned by Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA), concluding at Commercial Street with a tie into the Campus District's East 22nd Street road improvements project.
  • The sponsor is also requesting funding for PEDD for a related project involving the Booth Avenue extension to Mill Creek Falls referenced in Slavic Village Greenway Bike/Pedestrian/Transit Connections. According to the sponsor, the importance of the Morgana Run Trail Booth connection is to create a safe alternative for trail riders rather than having to use Broadway Avenue to connect to the Garfield Park Mill Creek Falls Reservation. The sponsor also states that this would create a seamless transition connecting the Garfield Reservation all the way through to the new proposed Downtown Connector via the Morgana Run Trail. The estimated cost of the PEDD is $80,500. The sponsor requests that 80 percent ($64,400) of the PEDD cost be funded with Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funds. The sponsor will provide the 20 percent local match ($16,100).

The sponsor will provide the 20 percent local match, which is estimated to be a total of $363,629. The sponsor reports that they will apply for $272,722 to Recreational Trails Program/Clean Ohio Trails fund in February 2014 for a portion toward the local match. The sponsor also reports they will partner with a local funder to fill the remaining gap ($90,907) with funds available in 2014.

Staff Comment (Summary):

Short Range Planning: Project Development and Member Services Team

  • This project is consistent with NOACA’s Connections+2035 Plan Goal #4 (Establish a Balanced System which Enhances Modal Choices) 
  • The sponsor should review the cost estimate at significant review stages of project design development.
  • This project will increase multimodal transportation as well as recreational opportunities.
  • The sponsor’s request for funding the PEDD for the Booth Avenue extension to Mill Creek Falls referenced in Slavic Village Greenway Bike/Pedestrian/Transit Connections (included with the Downtown Connector Trail project) should be submitted separately and developed as a stand alone project.
  • Recommend committee and public review in order to obtain comments.

Intergovernmental Review and Consultation (IGRC):

If you are a representative of a governmental entity and would like to comment on this project, please email us.

ODOT District 12:
"ODOT District 12 supports the continued development of this project and will continue to coordinate with the project sponsor on the Department’s future projects within the study area."

Public Involvement:

NOACA encourages comments from the public on this proposed transportation improvement project. We would appreciate it if you include your city of residence, although it is not required. The public review period lasts until the Governing Board makes a decision about them.

Committee Review:

Regional Transportation Investment Subcommittee (RTIS) / Transportation Subcommittee:

  • No comments; recommended for amendment to NOACA’s Transportation Plan
No comments; recommended for amendment to NOACA’s Transportation Plan

Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Council:

  • This shared use path will connect the Towpath Trail and the Morgana Run Trail, as well as several residential areas and destinations. The BPAC supports this project.
  • The project sponsor should indicate why fencing is necessary along the western side of the trail. Also, if not already considered, the project sponsor should consider alternate options besides chain-link fencing, as it has had negative impacts to other shared use paths within the region. Related to this point, the project sponsor should incorporate appropriate landscaping along the path, seeing as it will function as a gateway to the city, and make sure that it is maintained accordingly.

Transit Council:

  • The Transit Council is supportive of projects that increase biking and walking options and access.

Last updated: 9/17/2013 9:26:18 AM