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The Ohio Department of Transportation began demolition of the closed 1959 Innerbelt Bridge, and announced that its removal will include an explosive demolition late this spring or early this summer.

Last year, ODOT selected a team to remove the existing bridge and build the second new Innerbelt Bridge in its place. This $273 million phase of construction is scheduled for completion in fall 2016. Other Innerbelt reconstruction projects remain more than a decade away.

A report prepared for (PDF) University Circle Inc. and the City of Cleveland Heights made recommendations for improving bicycle and public transit connections within and between University Circle and Cleveland Heights. The TLCI-funded report identified concepts for potential bicycle facilities and opportunities for changes and enhancements to transit service. Last year, the two cities partnered to add a bicycle lane on Edgehill Road.

The $7.7 million reconstruction of Fleet Avenue in Cleveland includes $1 million in green infrastructure improvements. The complete and green street will feature bike lanes, tree plantings, bioswales, and pocket parks.

The increasing number of bicyclists in Greater Cleveland is creating tension between divers and cyclists. Bike Cleveland launched a public awareness campaign intended to improve motorist awareness of cyclists. Participants in a recent edition of The Regina Brett Show discussed the issues, and NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci promoted sustainable transportation alternatives in a Plain Dealer op-ed.

Meanwhile, Angie Schmitt of Rust Wire criticized the City of Cleveland for the way it implemented its complete streets policy on downtown's Ontario Street. A local coalition developed an alternative, the Ontario Street Bikeway plan, that would add bike lanes to the street. Marc Lefkowitz of GreenCityBlueLake also considered the reasons why the region hasn't built a second bus rapid transit line.

The NOACA Governing Board adopted Connections+ 2035, the five-county agency's long-range transportation plan. It "proposes $9 billion in major transportation investments to meet the needs of the traveling public" and emphasizes the need to maintain the region's existing transportation infrastructure. The previous plan was approved in 2009.

Some transportation advocates disagree about the City of Cleveland's plans for making West 65th Street a complete street. At GreenCityBlueLake, Marc Lefkowitz advocated for including bike lanes in the project.

NOACA conducted an evaluation of its Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) program (PDF). The report examined the program's accomplishments and shortcomings, and made recommendations for improving its effectiveness.

Leaders in Strongsville hope that funding from the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission will be used to build more noise barriers along the Ohio Turnpike and Interstate 71. In addition, a Strongsville city councilman says that the City should pursue funding for a new highway interchange at I-71 and Boston Road.

Cool Cleveland columnist Mansfield Frazier said that land-use decisions in Cleveland's east side neighborhoods haven't benefited their African-American residents, and followed up with an interview with Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt about the equity issues surrounding the planned Opportunity Corridor. The corridor is one of several local projects competing for funding from the new Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission.

GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz examined the hurdles that the City of Cleveland is facing when implementing its complete streets ordinance, many from the Ohio Department of Transportation. Meanwhile, the City is continuing to develop its complete and green streets typology and design manual, intended to assist with the ordinance's implementation. Smart Growth America recently named its best complete streets policies of 2012, and gave Cleveland's ordinance a grade of C.

The U.S. Census Bureau used American Community Survey data to publish commuting flow information, and reported that Cuyahoga County "has among the highest number of commuters coming from another county in the nation." The Census Bureau also noted that 80.3% of Cuyahoga County workers drove to work alone in 2011, higher than the national average of 76.4%. WNYC used the data to map average commute times, and The Washington Post mapped the commuting patterns.

The Ohio General Assembly passed a two-year transportation budget bill that will allow the Kasich administration to proceed with its plans to issue up to $1.5 billion in bonds backed by Ohio Turnpike revenues. The Senate version of the bill included a provision that requiring that 90% of the bond proceeds be invested within 75 miles of the turnpike, while the House bill did not. The language was retained in a conference committee. A coalition called Ohioans for Transportation Choice urged legislators to increase the state's investment in alternative transportation options, but their proposal was not incorporated into the legislation. Governor Kasich signed the $7.6 billion bill at a ceremony in Warrensville Heights on April 1. The Ohio Turnpike Commission plans to raise tolls by 2.7% per year over the next decade.

Under new executive director Grace Gallucci, NOACA is developing a regional transportation strategy for the agency's five-county region, and intends to conduct an 18-month inventory of area infrastructure assets and needs. At AMATS, Director Jason Segedy is calling for prioritizing maintenance of the region's existing infrastructure over expansions of highway capacity.

West side Cleveland neighborhoods are developing plans for the area's corridors. The final public meeting for the West 65th Street Corridor Plan was held in February. Its draft recommendations (PDF) call for implementing a road diet, while making streetscape improvements and increasing bicycle and pedestrian accessibility.

Meanwhile, Ohio City Incorporated and the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization are leading a streetscape improvement plan for a portion of Lorain Avenue. They're currently conducting a survey. Further west, the Bellaire-Puritas Development Corporation is working to improve Lorain Avenue's streetscape, and will hold a public meeting on April 2.

Governor Kasich's two-year budget plan calls for investing $500 million from Ohio Turnpike-backed bonds by 2015. The governor initially said that 90% of the funds would be spent in northern Ohio, but ODOT Director Jerry Wray called the figure a "foolish expectation." Statehouse Democrats accused the administration of misleading Ohioans and said that the percentages should be specified in the bill. Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt said that the proposal is not good public policy, and U.S. Represenative Tim Ryan called it short-sighted and risky. The Turnpike Commission is preparing to issue the bonds.

The budget includes a provision that would return control of Cleveland Lakefront State Park to the City of Cleveland (PDF) and provide $14 million for the parks. Plain Dealer columnist Mark Naymik said that legislators should embrace the proposal, and an editorial called it a win-win deal.

Proposed changes to state sales tax laws could affect RTA's finances.

The Ohio Department of Transportation selected three teams of finalists to prepare proposals for designing, constructing, and financing the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. ODOT anticipates naming its preferred team for the $330 million contract this summer.

In its annual Urban Mobility Report, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute reported that traffic congestion in the United States increased slightly in 2011. It said that congestion costs the average Cleveland-area commuter (PDF) $642 per year, less than in most large cities.

Streetsblog DC criticized the report, saying that the "authors still haven't made the changes that would make their congestion rankings meaningful in the real world," and Transportation for America said that the "rankings don't really say much about the lives of the people who live in those places." Slate's Matthew Yglesias noted that the most-congested cities were "all big, exciting, prosperous, dynamic cities," while Better Institutions used the report's figures to calculate the savings offered by public transportation.

The City of Cleveland's Office of Sustainability recently hosted a workshop on street typologies. The next step in the project is to create a draft typology for public review. The effort is intended to help the City implement its complete and green streets ordinance.

At a January 8 meeting, the Ohio Department of Transportation presented its plans for the public areas at both ends (PDF) of the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The plans for the Gateway side include landscaping improvements and elements highlighting Cleveland's rock and roll history. The Tremont side would gain a natural area called the sideyard, plus a parking lot. Construction of the bridge will create traffic disruptions over its three-year work schedule.

In an editorial, The Plain Dealer said that the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland should be a priority for Greater Cleveland stakeholders this year.

The new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon opened to the public on December 20. Local officials expect that it will make eastern Avon and Avon Lake more attractive for commercial and residential development. Mayor Smith of Avon called it the hardest thing he'd ever done, and a Sun News editorial called it an example of a successful public-private partnership.

Governor Kasich's proposal for leveraging the Ohio Turnpike does not include privatizing the toll road. Instead, his Jobs and Transportation Plan calls for issuing $1.5 billion in bonds backed by future toll revenues. When paired with matching funds, the financing would supply $3 billion for highway projects, most of which would be in northern Ohio. The administration estimates it would create 65,000 jobs over six years. They hope that the Ohio General Assembly will move quickly on enabling legislation.

Reactions from local politicians were often split along party lines: most Republicans supported the proposal and Democrats typically had reservations. A joint statement from a group of leaders including Ed FitzGerald said that they would "take time to evaluate fully the Governor's proposal." The Ohio Trucking Association and Greater Cleveland Partnership supported the plan. Ohio PIRG expressed relief that the proposal didn't call for privatization. An AMATS analysis (PDF) concluded that the process has the potential to be a "significant benefit to our region", but noted that "'the devil is in the details'."

Ohio newspapers also weighed in, with the Akron Beacon Journal, The Blade, The Columbus Dispatch, The Plain Dealer, and The Vindicator all publishing editorials on the subject. Plain Dealer columnist Thomas Suddes called it "chuck-wagon politicking at its best," while Eric Lyttle of The Other Paper said the announcement was a "veritable symphony of orchestration."

Update: The Plain Dealer examined the governor's decision.

In a 6-1 ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court said that it is unconstitutional for the state to use revenues from its commercial activities tax on gasoline for non-highway purposes. The decision reversed a lower court ruling and will shift $140 million per year from the general fund to highway projects. The Akron Beacon Journal cited the decision as an example of the strength of voter-approved constitutional amendments.

Local officials and bicyclists celebrated the opening of the Lorain-Carnegie Bikeway in Cleveland. The 14.5-foot wide multi-use path on the historic Lorain-Carnegie Bridge opened to the public on December 10. Painting and lighting improvements are scheduled to be finished this spring. Bike Cleveland, GreenCityBlueLake, NOACA, and ODOT posted photo galleries at Facebook.

The Shaker Heights Planning Commission and Shaker Heights City Council adopted a plan's strategies for improving the Lee Road corridor. The TLCI-funded Lee Road Traffic Study and Corridor Plan "provides recommendations for traffic and pedestrian improvements along the corridor, intersection transitions, bike lanes and connections to the existing and planned non-motorized network, and streetscape renovations for the section south of Chagrin."

The Ohio Department of Transportation issued a request for qualifications for a design, construction, and finance team for the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Four teams submitted responses. ODOT expects to name the finalists in February and select a team by summer 2013.

Update: The Plain Dealer has more details.

The final public meetings for the Clifton Transportation Enhancement Program were held in November. Revised plans for the corridor include new bus shelters in Cleveland and Lakewood. The Cleveland portion will gain a landscaped median and will be widened by one foot in each direction. Construction could begin as early as spring 2013.

Governor Kasich indicated that he's nearing a decision on privatizing the Ohio Turnpike, and that a consultant's report on how to "unlock the value of the turnpike" should be released before the end of the year. He asked for patience and "a chance to lay things out." Ohio PIRG issued a report that challenged the need for privatization and posed eight questions it says should be "fully addressed before agreeing to privatize the Turnpike or borrowing against its future proceeds." Local officials remain skeptical. Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald is still suspicious of the proposal, and some state legislators hope to slow the process. Roldo Bartimole said that privatization represents "class warfare by the upper class," while an editorial in Canton's Repository concluded that "it will take open minds and a spirit of cooperation on both sides to make the right decision."

Update: the Plain Dealer summarized the Ohio PIRG report.

Broadview Heights City Council approved a $279,706 contract with URS Corp. for design services for the I-77 interchange project at Route 82. Construction of the proposed interchange is expected to cost around $2.4 million.

The American Planning Association named Shaker Boulevard as one of its great streets for 2012, saying that the 6.75-mile stretch in Cleveland, Shaker Heights, and Beachwood "remains proof of planning's lasting value." The organization celebrates quality places each year through its Great Places in America program, and named the West Side Market as one of the nation's great public spaces in 2008.

At a recent City Club panel discussion, outgoing Congressman Steve LaTourette said that he favors raising the gas tax to help meet funding needs for roads and other transportation infrastructure.

The Ohio Department of Transportation announced that it will direct $12 million toward the relocation of West 73rd Street and the construction an underpass, part of the West Shoreway reconstruction plans. It's the final piece of funding needed to link West 73rd Street with Edgewater Park. Construction of the $34.8 million project is scheduled to begin next summer.

A survey conducted for the Natural Resources Defense Council gauged public opinion about transportation options. The national telephone survey was supplemented by focus groups in four cities, including Cleveland. Cuyahoga County residents (PDF) said they favored greater investments in public transportation rather than building new roads.

The City of Cleveland plans to stripe five-foot-wide bike lanes on a 1.7-mile stretch of Detroit Avenue between West 25th Street and Lake Avenue. Local bicyclists support the proposal, calling it "a step forward for Cleveland". Meanwhile, the Bellaire-Puritas Development Corp. is working with City Architecture to improve the walkability of Lorain Avenue.

At a late-August press conference, Governor Kasich announced plans to employ a public-private partnership to build the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The Ohio Department of Transportation will seek an engineering, construction, and financing team for the $332 million project. The financing option has been used in 29 other states, but it's the first time Ohio has used it. The second bridge is now scheduled to built between 2014 and 2016, the project's original timeline. In January, ODOT said it work would not begin until 2023, and in June changed it to 2016. A Plain Dealer editorial called it promising news.

Ohio Turnpike Commission Executive Director Richard Hodges said that he favors using the toll road's revenues to help pay for other transportation projects in the state. Others continue to oppose the idea.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that it is freeing states to use $473 million in unspent highway earmarks. The funds were appropriated by Congress between 2003 and 2006, but remain unused. States can now use the money for other other transportation projects, and must identify plans by October 1. Ohio's share of the funding is $12.5 million.

The Ohio Department of Transportation issued the first documents in its Access Ohio 2040 long-range transportation plan. The PDFs include a demographic profile, a best practices paper, and two technical reports. They're also conducting a transportation preferences survey.

A report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors (PDF) said that while American metropolitan economies continue to improve (PDF), funding shortfalls are making the nation's transportation infrastructure less competitive. It said that in 2011, the five-county Cleveland metropolitan area's $106.6 billion gross metropolitan product was the 27th largest in the U.S., and about equal to the GDP of Bangladesh. Meanwhile, American Society of Civil Engineers President Andrew Herrmann made similar remarks at the Build Up Greater Cleveland annual meeting, telling attendees that the country needs to invest more in maintaining its infrastructure.

No developers responded to an Ohio Department of Transportation proposal to add commercial development at five southeast Ohio highway rest areas. ODOT will continue to pursue the program, despite persistent opposition.

At the first of three public hearings convened by Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald on the future of the Ohio Turnpike, residents expressed opposition to privatizing the toll road. Turnpike Commission Executive Director Rick Hodges said that the study being conducted for the state by KPMG should be completed by the end of the year, and an Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that Governor Kasich faces "hurdles in making his case" to lease the turnpike.

Ohio City Incorporated and the City of Cleveland prepared a neighborhood transportation plan (PDF). It aims to "provide as many transportation options as possible" and recommends implementing complete streets, transit-oriented development, a wayfinding system, and parking improvements. The plan calls for reconfiguring parking lots near the West Side Market and limiting free parking to 90 minutes. Some market vendors and patrons dislike the idea of paying to park. A Plain Dealer editorial said it's "a thoughtful plan that can easily be adapted as revitalization continues." Krissie Wells presented arguments in favor of the plan, and Angie Schmitt shared her reactions to the news.

The CDC also issued its TLCI-funded Inter-modal Urban Design & Wayfinding Plan for the Market District (PDF). It offers ways to "strengthen both the Market and Ohio City neighborhood by organizing the streets, parking facilities and land uses surrounding the area in a manner that encourages economic sustainability."

The Ohio Department of Transportation shared design concepts for amenities that would accompany the planned second Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The designs show public art and greenspace elements (PDF) at the downtown and Tremont ends of the bridge. A Plain Dealer editorial cited it as evidence of a "kinder, gentler ODOT," while Steven Litt said that "the new public spaces planned around the bridges will compensate -- slightly -- for the urban damage ODOT will cause with its overall design."

Cuyahoga County officials announced that construction of the new convention center in downtown Cleveland is two months ahead of schedule, and will now open on July 1, 2013. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Transportation added 28 days to the construction schedule for the new Innerbelt Bridge. An October 28, 2013 opening is now planned.

Update: Jim Bennett of MMPI talked about the convention center and Medical Mart on Channel 3's Between the Lines.

The NOACA Governing Board approved changes to the five-county 2012–2015 Transportation Improvement Program, adding 25 projects to the list for federal funding. The projects include the West 73rd Street underpass, part of the West Shoreway redesign, and bus lanes along Clifton Boulevard.

The TLCI-funded Lee Road Traffic Study and Corridor Plan makes recommendations for transportation and streetscape improvements (PDF, 9.1 MB) in Shaker Heights. A Sun News editorial says that "the upgrades called for in the study will only enhance the city's commitment to that area."

Westlake City Council hired the engineering firm Hatch Mott MacDonald to develop plans for reconfiguring the I-90 interchange at Columbia Road.

In the fourth round of the federal TIGER program, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a total of nearly $500 million to 47 transportation projects. Although local officials applied for funding, construction of the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland was not selected for funding.

Consultants for the City of Cleveland released the results of their transportation study of downtown Cleveland's Public Square. The study (PDF) conducted by Nelson Nygaard recommends closing the portion of Ontario Street that runs through the square and retaining the stretch of Superior Avenue. Steven Litt said that the "study has taken Cleveland one step closer to a better downtown," and RTA said it "will continue to work closely with the consultants and other involved stakeholders regarding any changes to Public Square."

In its annual National Traffic Scorecard, Inrix reported that traffic congestion decreased by 30% last year in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Seventy of the metro areas experienced decreases in congestion. It ranked the Greater Cleveland area as having the nation's 62nd-highest level of congestion, with significantly less congestion than a year ago.

More bicycling news:

Update: Councilman Tom Bullock of Lakewood explained the sharrow proposal.

Ohio's Transportation Review and Advisory Council approved an updated schedule for major new transportation projects (PDF). The Ohio Department of Transportation added $400 million to its construction budget, allowing some delays to be reduced, including the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Early this year the TRAC changed the start date from 2014 to 2023, but recently said work should begin in 2016. ODOT is exploring public-private partnerships as a way of expediting the project, a concept that a Plain Dealer editorial said is worth exploring. The agency faces projected decreases in gas tax revenues and is continuing to advance plans for commercial development at state-owned non-interstate rest areas. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial described the proposal as "an economic shell game."

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said the "latest timetable for the Inner Belt Bridge represents a big step in the right direction."

Construction of bikeway improvements to Cleveland's Lorain-Carnegie Bridge will begin soon. The $4.5 million project is intended to make the bridge more friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians. Some Tremont residents are frustrated by the amount of road construction.

Update: the Plain Dealer shared more details.

The cost of a consultant's study of the Ohio Turnpike increased again, rising from $2.85 million to $3.4 million. A Plain Dealer editorial questioned the added cost and the underlying fairness of privatizing the Turnpike. Meanwhile, Cuyahoga County Executive FitzGerald said that more counties have expressed interest in participating in an alternate study.

Delaying the construction of the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland will create more expenses for the Ohio Department of Transportation. Repairs to extend the lifespan of the existing Innerbelt Bridge by five years will cost $65 million, and extending it by ten years will cost $89 million.

GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz described the City of Shaker Heights' plans to reconfigure the Warrensville-Van Aken intersection and redevelop the area as a mixed-use district. He concluded that it "has incredible potential to set the stage for Northeast Ohio's first significant retrofit from typical suburban shopping center to the walkable town center."

While the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to commercialize highway rest areas in the two-year transportation bill it passed last week, Ohio Department of Transportation officials said they would continue to pursue the concept. ODOT will also study the idea of selling naming rights and sponsorships for Ohio highways.

Update: ODOT launched its Division of Innovative Delivery and hired Jim Riley to lead it.

Update 2: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that a 13-cent increase in the state gasoline tax would provide "a more robust, reliable revenue stream".

President Obama's 2013 federal budget request proposes funding levels for federal initiatives, including transportation programs, environmental protections, and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. For the Great Lakes basin, it contains $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, $110 million for sewage system improvements, and $31 million for dredging. It also would provide $658 million for NASA's Glenn Research Center.

Update: Great Lakes Echo has more details.

ODOT Director Jerry Wray said that project scores could change and the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland may move up on its funding priority list. Local leaders are urging ODOT to seek TIGER funding for its construction. Meanwhile, residents held a rally against the delays.

Update: ODOT will apply for a $120 million federal grant.

The City of Shaker Heights completed its $18.4 million funding package for the Warrensville-Van Aken intersection reconfiguration by obtaining a $4.4 million grant through the District One Public Works Integrating Committee. The City also received a $454,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration last year.

Update: GreenCityBlueLake and Fresh Water described the City's plans for the area.

NOACA and ODOT have begun the Northeast Ohio Regional Travel Survey, a year-long study of travel patterns in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, and Medina counties. Results from the GPS-based survey will help planners gauge the area's transportation needs. Results will be available next year.

The cost of the Ohio Turnpike privatization study rose from $1.5 million to $2.85 million. The state Controlling Board approved the contract with KPMG, whose study will look at privatizing the rest areas in addition to the proposed turnpike lease. Meanwhile, a group of northern Ohio elected officials announced plans for an independent analysis of the proposal. They oppose turnpike privatization. A Plain Dealer editorial said that "creative thinking from state and local officials" is needed.

Update: Turnpike Commission Executive Director Rick Hodges urged patience.

Construction of the first new Innerbelt Bridge continues. The project in Cleveland is 35 days behind schedule, but ODOT officials are satisfied with the work. The design-build process has been slowed by rain.

Members of Ohio's Transportation Review Advisory Council unanimously voted to accept Ohio Department of Transportation staff recommendations for major transportation projects. The approved list delays many projects, including pushing back the start of work on the second new Innerbelt Bridge to 2023. ODOT officials said that the schedule is based on policy, but Cleveland leaders replied that the agency should prioritize the Innerbelt Bridge project. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the state and federal governments must identify new funding sources, while a Columbus Dispatch editorial said that cities need to accept the delays.

The Congress for New Urbanism included Cleveland's West Shoreway in its 2012 Freeways Without Futures report, a list of "urban freeways that have the most potential to be transformed from broken liabilities to vibrant assets that support valuable places."

Cuyahoga County Executive FitzGerald announced that the County will prioritize and select which major road projects it will finance, and instituted a two-year moratorium on the required local funding match.

Citing a "looming transportation financial crisis facing" the state, Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray revealed the agency's funding recommendations (PDF) to the Transportation Review Advisory Council. The recommendations call for major projects across the state to be eliminated or substantially delayed, including the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Originally scheduled to be built between 2014 and 2016, work on the bridge would not start before 2023. The West Shoreway project was not on the funding list. The announcement angered Cleveland leaders. A Plain Dealer editorial said the delay was unacceptable, while an Akron Beacon Journal editorial suggested raising the gas tax. Governor Kasich may use the news to promote the privatization of the Ohio Turnpike.

Update: the Plain Dealer published more information about the possible West Shoreway funding delay.

Update 2: the Statehouse News Bureau reported on ODOT's funding issues, and Greater Ohio's Gene Krebs renewed his call for a "discussion about how to move people and goods in the most cost effective and safe manner."

Update 3: Governor Kasich defended the agency. An editorial in the Blade urged state leaders to consider raising the gas tax. Participants on WCPN's Sound of Ideas discussed the issues.

After several years of debate, ODOT and MidTown Cleveland, Inc. agreed to reevaluate the potential economic impacts of eliminating I-90 interchanges at Carnegie and Prospect avenues in Cleveland. D.B. Hartt, Inc. will conduct a year-long study.

NOACA issued its 2009 Crash Report (PDF) in December. It says that the number of crashes in the five-county Greater Cleveland area declined by 24.8% between 2000 and 2009, and identified the intersections that experienced the most crashes from 2007 to 2009. ODOT said that it is working to improve the intersection of Carnegie Avenue and Ontario Street in downtown Cleveland.

The NOACA Governing Board approved the addition of 15 projects to its long-range transportation plan. Eight of the projects are in Cuyahoga County, including the planned redecking of the I-480 bridge in Valley View and Independence.

Cleveland Magazine briefly considered arguments for and against the possible reconfiguration of downtown's Public Square.

A group of Cleveland leaders, residents, and bicycling advocates traveled to Columbus last Thursday to demonstrate their support for the West Shoreway reconstruction plans. They attended a Transportation Review Advisory Council meeting and spoke with ODOT officials.

Update: Scene reported on the project, as well.

In addition to studying a proposed lease of the Ohio Turnpike, consultants will also consider the possibility of placing it under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Construction of the new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon is on schedule, and contractors say it should open in spring 2013. The City is still trying to finalize eminent domain agreements with several property owners. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Clinic officially opened its new Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon and closed the Westlake Family Health Center.

Last week's public meeting about the West Shoreway plans attracted a large audience. Cleveland officials criticized ODOT's approach to the project and encouraged residents to attend the December 15 TRAC meeting in Columbus as a show of support. GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz said that to succeed, the project must expediently serve the the bicycle and pedestrian communities.

Update: Fresh Water provided the City's views.

Mayor Jackson and members of Cleveland City Council expressed anger with the Ohio Department of Transportation's handing of the West Shoreway reconstruction plans. Streetsblog, Rust Wire, and a Plain Dealer editorial were all sharply critical of the agency, as well. Bike Cleveland is encouraging interested citizens to attend a public meeting on December 1.

The Kasich administration selected KMPG to lead a team of consultants that will offer recommendations on a range of options for using the Ohio Turnpike to help finance other transportation projects. Their work must be completed by July 1.

Update: Richard Hodges, the new executive director of the Ohio Turnpike, supports exploring its lease. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the study "must provide genuine answers, not just political cover."

Mayor Jackson's vision for Public Square includes the unification of its quadrants by closing the portions of Superior Avenue and Ontario Street that run through the square. A traffic study is scheduled to be completed in February, and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance has set aside funding for landscape architect James Corner to develop a second set of design concepts. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey considered the political implications.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Gary Suhadolnik and Jacqueline Thomas "consider the long-term implications and hidden costs" of privatizing the Ohio Turnpike. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial expresses concern about the possibilities.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the Kasich "administration needs to step back and take a deep breath before it moves any closer to monetizing -- leasing -- the Ohio Turnpike."

The Federal Highway Administration indicated that it would reinstate funding for studying the proposed privatization of the Ohio Turnpike. Attendees at a recent public meeting in Northwest Ohio opposed its privatization. Governor Kasich said that if the Turnpike is privatized, at least 50% of the proceeds from a lease or bond would be used in northern Ohio. Democratic politicians were unimpressed.

Update: State Representative Matt Lundy laid out his objections at a public meeting in Sheffield Village.

Update 2: the FHA formally approved the funding request.

In a new report, Transportation for America continued its examination of the condition of bridges by looking at those in the country's 102 largest metropolitan areas. It says that "structurally deficient bridges in metropolitan areas carry a disproportionate share of all trips taken on a deficient bridge each day." In the five-county Cleveland metropolitan area, 11.4% of bridges were rated as deficient, while the two-county Akron metropolitan area had 12.7% of bridges rated as deficient.

A traffic study conducted for the proposed McDonald's in Lakewood said that the restaurant would not have an adverse impact on traffic. Neighbors were not satisfied with the report's recommendations. The City's Planning Commission postponed its vote on the proposal to build the McDonald's on the site of the closed Detroit Theater.

NOACA officials warned that potential cuts in federal transportation funding could affect area road construction projects.

The Federal Highway Administration withdrew $1.5 million in funding that Ohio officials intended to use to study the privatization of the Ohio Turnpike. ODOT Director Jerry Wray attributed the decision to political pressure, a claim disputed by federal officials.

Update: a group of Republican U.S. Representatives from Ohio asked the federal agency to reconsider its decision.

The Texas Transportation Institute issued its annual Urban Mobility Report. It said that too little is being done to address traffic congestion issues and that congestion occurs even in off-peak hours. The study was criticized as being overly automobile-centric. It reported that the average Cleveland driver (PDF) spent 20 hours in traffic jams last year, the same amount it reported for 2009 and 2008.

The Kasich administration narrowed the list of firms seeking to advise on the proposed lease of the Ohio Turnpike. The five finalists are expected to make presentations in November.

Update: Democratic U.S. Representatives objected to the use of public money. In a letter, they said that "federal taxpayer funds should not be serving to facilitate a particular policy initiative to privatize a public asset."

Local bicycling advocates are displeased that the latest changes in the West Shoreway reconstruction plans call for stripping multipurpose trails from the design. Rust Wire's Angie Schmitt characterized it as a failure of leadership and policy, while GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz recently stated that the entire plan deserves to be jettisoned.

Update: Marc Lefkowitz also called for a public discussion of the changes.

On Monday, Cleveland City Council approved complete and green streets legislation. Starting in January, 20% of road construction spending will go toward sustainable transportation options, up to $1 million. GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz addressed misconceptions about the policy and Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt supplied the decision's historical context.

Sound barriers along Greater Cleveland highways are deteriorating more quickly than anticipated. The Ohio Department of Transportation spends $5 million per year to repair and replace noise walls statewide. Councilman Mike Polansek of Cleveland said that ODOT made poor choices.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held last week for the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. Mayor Smith expressed his frustrations with the long process that led to its approval. Construction is expected to take 18 months. A Morning Journal editorial says it is part of a series of projects "that have made Avon one of Lorain County's most desirable communities".

The first phase of the Pearl Road widening project in Strongsville is complete and the road was officially reopened last week. Mayor Perciak said it would open 500 acres off of Foltz Parkway for industrial development.

Marc Lefkowitz asserts that the plans for the West Shoreway reconfiguration in Cleveland have digressed from their original intent to the point where the project is no longer worth pursuing. He says that the "city should stand firm against this diminished project, say, 'no, thanks' let's be fiscally responsible and find another way to invest $40 million in a project worthy of its citizens desire to improve the ability to recreate and enjoy the most amazing natural resource right at their doorstep."

State officials are evaluating the 14 proposals from consultants who hope to advise the Kasich administration on the proposed lease of the Ohio Turnpike. They will announce (PDF) the list of finalists on September 23.

Bob Dyer of the Akron Beacon Journal related a critique of ODOT's implementation of Intelligent Transportation System technologies.

NOACA published its latest freeway travel time study (PDF, 24.0 MB). It identified the sections of area freeways with the greatest traffic congestion. The agency released its last travel time study in 2006 (PDF, 49.8 MB).

As the cost of the West Shoreway reconstruction continues to rise, Cleveland officials criticized the Ohio Department of Transportation's management of the project and proposed changes intended to cut costs. Marc Lefkowitz said that the City "needs to stand firm on something close to the original purpose of this project, otherwise, they should scrap the whole thing."

Two Cleveland City Council committees approved the proposed complete and green streets legislation. It includes a $1 million spending cap. City Council may consider the legislation at its September meeting.

Update: the Plain Dealer explained the delay.

Update 2: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "Council should pass the measure as soon as possible."

The Kasich Administration is moving forward on its plans to lease the Ohio Turnpike. It formally began the process by issuing a request for a consultant to assist in the "development and evaluation of options for leveraging the Ohio Turnpike."

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial questions the concept, and a Plain Dealer editorial urges state leaders to act with caution.

Update 2: 14 consulting teams submitted letters of interest to the state. The concept remains controversial.

At an event in Toledo, Governor Kasich promoted the idea of leasing the Ohio Turnpike. He predicted that it would generate "billions of dollars to improve highways, bridges, and waterways."

Planning for the Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland continues. Funding sources have not been confirmed for the $213.4 million project. The Ohio Department of Transportation will hold public meetings on July 26, 27, and 28 (PDF).

Update: Channel 5 and Neighborhood Voice reported on the meetings.

The City of Garfield Heights announced on Friday that it will extend Transportation Boulevard south to Rockside Road.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved plans for expanding bicycle and pedestrian access on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. The plans call for widening the multi-use path on the bridge's north side by nine feet, among other changes. Marc Lefkowitz's said that "the bridge could still use a road diet."

The two-year state budget signed by Governor Kasich includes an extension and expansion of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, the new Innovation Fund intended to support local government restructuring efforts, and the option to pursue a lease of the Ohio Turnpike.

Update: the National Trust for Historic Preservation has more information about the tax credit renewal, and the Blade has more on the possible lease of the turnpike.

Governor Kasich appointed Mayor Jerry Hruby of Brecksville to the Ohio Turnpike Commission. Mayor Hruby supports the privatization of the Turnpike. An editorial in Youngstown's Vindicator calls the proposed lease a bad idea.

Construction of the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon is scheduled to begin in September.

The Ohio Department of Transportation hired Richland Engineering Limited of Mansfield to design the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Michael Baker Jr., Inc. will be a subconsultant.

Avon City Council approved the issuance of $23.1 million in bonds for the construction of the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The financing package does not include assessments against property owners. City Council also approved a funding agreement with the Richard E. Jacobs Group.

Update: Avon City Council passed the final pieces of legislation for the project.

GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz considered ideas for altering plans for South Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights to make it a complete street.

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray advocated for leasing the Ohio Turnpike, an idea opposed by NOACA leaders. State Representative Mike Dovilla of Berea was recently appointed as a non-voting member of the Ohio Turnpike Commission.

Update: Jerry Wray also spoke at NOACA's annual summit on June 10 (part 1, part 2, part 3).

Update 2: Jerry Wray promoted the idea to AMATS leaders, as well. Gary Suhadolnik, the former executive director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, presented his objections to the proposal in a Plain Dealer op-ed.

A short paper from the Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club urges Ohio governments to adopt a fix-it-first approach to infrastructure investments. It says that repairs of distressed roads and bridges should be prioritized ahead of new construction.

Repair Priorities is a new report from Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense. It says that despite decades of underfunding road repair projects, most states continue to inadequately fund road repair, spending a disproportionate amount on constructing new roads. It adds that "while Ohio has invested heavily in repair and maintenance in recent years, insufficient investment over the long-term has led to a backlog of roads and bridges in 'poor' and 'deficient' condition requiring $194 million annually in major rehabilitation costs over the next twenty years."

A disagreement between the Ohio Department of Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway over land for the new Innerbelt Bridge threatens to delay and add costs to the construction project.

Update: ODOT will purchase 50 acres from Norfolk Southern for $29.8 million. It's more land than the agency needs and more money than it wanted to spend.

In its second Dangerous by Design report, Transportation for America highlights pedestrian safety issues and recommends actions to create safer walking environments. The report examines pedestrian fatality statistics, maps individual pedestrian deaths, and ranks the 52 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. The five-county Cleveland metropolitan area was the nation's second-safest. Meanwhile, the League of American Bicyclists issued its fourth annual Bicycle Friendly State rankings. Ohio was ranked 37th-friendliest.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology issued an analysis of the Greater Cleveland economy (PDF). It examines regional strengths and weaknesses, and offers a variety of suggestions. CNT published similar reports for Cincinnati and Columbus.

Update: the Plain Dealer highlighted several of the report's recommendations.

The Ohio Department of Transportation agreed to pay an additional $650,000 to resolve a ramp design dispute for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland.

The NOACA Governing Board voted to oppose the proposed privatization of the Ohio Turnpike. Members said that it would lead to higher tolls, reduced maintenance, and increased traffic on alternative routes. The Governing Board also adopted the agency's 2012-2015 TIP (PDF).

Marc Lefkowitz wrote about the Healthy Communities Active Transportation Conference & Workshop held earlier this week and the state of local bike planning. Cleveland Bicycle Week 2011 starts on Monday. Meanwhile, a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Rockefeller Foundation says that most states lack adequate information to accurately evaluate the performance of their transportation networks. Ohio's scores were in the middle.

Update: ODOT posted the presentations from the HCAT conference.

Draft changes to the Ohio Transportation Review Advisory Council project scoring criteria (PDF) would de-emphasize the creation of an integrated multimodal transportation network in favor of prioritizing economic development potential.

Update: the Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club doesn't support the changes.

The Ohio Department of Transportation agreed to have consultants prepare an economic impact study as part of its Innerbelt reconstruction plans. Businesses in Midtown are challenging ODOT's plans to close the ramps at Prospect and Carnegie avenues.

Construction of the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland began earlier this month, and new items have been added to the design-build process. The Ohio Department of Transportation added an $850,000 catwalk to the bridge, and contractor Walsh Construction says that an additional $1.3 million is needed for an Ontario Street ramp.

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray met with northwest Ohio leaders and spoke about the proposed privatization of the Ohio Turnpike.

A piece of legislation being prepared for Cleveland City Council consideration includes complete streets and green streets components. If adopted, it would allow the City to incorporate access considerations and environmental design features into its planning process.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Transportation Review Advisory Council approved $70 million for new transportation projects (PDF), making several changes to the draft recommendations it approved in December. In addition to the controversial withdrawal of $51.8 million from the Cincinnati streetcar project, the TRAC rejected the $7.1 million it earlier recommended for the Clifton Boulevard Transportation Enhancement Program in Cleveland and Lakewood. Local projects that were funded include the Pearl Road widening project in Strongsville and the planned widening of I-271 in southern Cuyahoga County.

The City of Avon intends to assess 105 property owners for up to a third of the price of the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The assessments were not part of the original funding scheme for the interchange, but rising costs have led the City to pursue the assessments. Property owners say that the proposed assessments are unfair, while Mayor Smith counters that they are getting a good deal. Residents opposed to the assessments attended a City Council meeting on Monday and a recent City Council work session.

A new report from Transportation for America says that 11.5% of the 599,996 bridges in the United States are rated as structurally deficient by the Federal Highway Administration. The FHWA estimates that it would take $70.9 billion to eliminate the current backlog of needed repairs. In Ohio, 9.8% of the state's 27,963 bridges are rated as structurally deficient.

Officials from RTA and the City of Lakewood met last week, and agreed to proceed with a scaled-back implementation of the Clifton Boulevard Transportation Enhancement Program. The City's financial contribution will be reduced from $486,000 to $50,000. Approval from the Ohio Transportation Review Advisory Council is required.

Update: the Plain Dealer looked at the situation in more detail.

The Ohio Senate passed the two-year, $6.8 billion transportation budget, and Governor Kasich signed the bill. It includes a provision for public-private partnerships.

Update: the Columbus Dispatch has more information about the public-private partnerships.

Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt says that the plans for the West Shoreway redesign in Cleveland have changed so much since their inception that the designs now more closely resemble a highway than the boulevard that was originally proposed. She says Cleveland and other Ohio cities face "a state with a set of policies that actively undermines cities."

Steven Litt says that traffic studies for the proposed Public Square redesign and the forthcoming Cleveland casino "could determine the character of downtown for decades to come." They have the potential to decide the balance between a downtown that is pedestrian-friendly and one that is automobile-oriented. A Plain Dealer editorial on the casino parking proposal says that the challenge of downtown development "is to balance the needs of new development against the existing architectural and visual elements that make downtown interesting and desirable."

Citing budget cuts, Mayor Summers of Lakewood withdrew the City from the Clifton Boulevard Transportation Enhancement Program. In December, the Ohio Transportation Review Advisory Council recommended $7.1 million in funding for the project.

Update: RTA will continue to pursue the project.

Ohio Department of Transportation contractors are demolishing the Broadway Mills Building and the Marathon gas station located at the edge of the old Central Viaduct in downtown Cleveland. The buildings, deemed eligible but not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are being razed for the new Innerbelt Bridge.

The Ohio House of Representatives approved a two-year state transportation budget. The $7 billion budget includes $4.2 billion for road maintenance and construction, and a tax exemption for for petroleum marketers. Meanwhile, a new report by Robert Puentes of the Brookings Institution recommends strategies to states for remaking their transportation systems.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the Ohio Senate should consider proposals that were omitted in the House version of the bill.

For several months, Governor Kasich has talked about the possibility of leasing the Ohio Turnpike, and in February said he wants at least $3 billion for the toll road. A recent NOACA staff analysis (PDF) of the idea concluded that "leasing the Ohio Turnpike appears to have few positive merits and quite a few likely negative outcomes."

The annual Inrix National Traffic Scorecard says that average travel times in the United States increased by 10% in 2010, and that several metropolitan areas experienced more congestion than their pre-recession 2007 highs. It ranked the Cleveland MSA as having the nation's 31st-highest level of congestion.

Update: Todd Litman criticized the analysis and the Urban Mobility Report that was released in January.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Transportation will permanently close University Road between West 14th Street and the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks in Tremont, and will begin demolition of the Cleveland Cold Storage Building. Soon after that, the East 21st Street ramp to I-77 southbound will be closed for at least six years. The work is in preparation for the construction of the new Innerbelt Bridge.

The Trumbull-Great Lakes-Ruhlin design-build team, one of the two unsuccessful finalists in the Innerbelt Bridge project, dropped its lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The Ohio Department of Transportation committed $6 million for improving bicycle and pedestrian access on Cleveland's Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. Construction is tentatively scheduled for next year. Marc Lefkowitz called it a victory for the Access for All campaign.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will soon begin searching for a designer for the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. ODOT officials say that the second bridge, which will replace the existing span, will appear similar but not identical to the first new bridge.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is preparing to demolish the first three buildings in the Innerbelt Bridge project. Long-term lane closures will follow later this month and next.

The Texas Transportation Institute published the 2010 Urban Mobility Report, which states that traffic congestion in 2009 began to rise as the economy improved. Drivers in Greater Cleveland (PDF) continued to experience one of the lowest average delay times of the nation's large urban areas. CEOs for Cities issued a critique of earlier reports' methodologies in September, and said that the 2010 report "continues to present an exaggerated and incorrect picture" of urban transportation issues.

Update: the Plain Dealer looked at the report.

New Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray named the agency's 12 new district deputy directors. The District 12 Deputy Director is Myron Pakush.

Changing Gears looked at the West Shoreway reconfiguration plans in Cleveland and other freeway removal projects across the United States.

Decades of road salt usage has changed the habitat of Northeast Ohio roadsides, creating areas where invasive halophytes can thrive. Stream and groundwater contamination is also a concern.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved lighting, colors, surface textures, and other aesthetic details for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge. The presentation is available online (PDF). Last month Steven Litt called it "a depressing coda to a 10-year design process in which ODOT wasted numerous opportunities, ran down the clock and ended up with a mediocre concept for a bridge".

Update: ODOT issued a press release.

The Ohio Department of Transportation paid a $1 million stipend to one of the two losing design-build finalists in the Innerbelt Bridge project. The Trumbull-Great Lakes-Ruhlin joint venture is continuing its lawsuit against the department. ODOT ruled that the team of Lane-Brayman, the other unselected finalist, was ineligible to receive the stipend.

Draft recommendations (PDF) from the Ohio Transportation Review Advisory Council call for $167.6 million in new construction, planning, and engineering for transportation projects across the state. The list is open to public comment through February 11.

The Ohio Department of Transportation continues to refine plans for bicycle and pedestrian improvements to the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge in Cleveland. Officials with the incoming Kasich administration would not comment on the plans.

Jerry Wray will serve as director of the Ohio Department of Transportation under Governor-elect Kasich. Wray led the department from 1991 to 1999 during the Voinovich and Taft administrations, and more recently was a vice president at an asphalt industry lobbying association. He said that the department may reconsider its pledge to fund public transit.

At a Thursday meeting, ODOT staffers and local transportation advocates discussed proposed pedestrian and bicycle enhancements to the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, a possible alternative to including a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge.

A mistake by an Ohio Department of Transportation engineer has delayed the agency's Greater Cleveland launch of Intelligent Transportation System technologies by a month and a half. ODOT now hopes to have the system operating in December.

Update: the first message boards are now operating.

Avon City Council added two sites to the list of properties the City is seeking to acquire through eminent domain for the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road, bringing the total to 14 properties. Mayor Smith of Avon wants the City to manage construction of the interchange instead of the Ohio Department of Transportation, and a Morning Journal editorial says that state leaders should consider the proposal.

Update: the City reached an agreement to purchase the two properties.

The City of Avon has been unable to reach purchase agreements with the owners of 12 properties needed for the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. Avon City Council yesterday voted to begin the eminent domain process for acquiring the land.

Update: the Sun Sentinel and the Press of Avon Lake have more details.

In his first press conference after the election, John Kasich said, "Passenger rail is not in Ohio's future." He later said that Governor Strickland should halt planning studies for the 3C Corridor. Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt wrote an open letter to Governor-elect Kasich, asking him to reconsider his stance against the 3C Corridor and to support a robust multimodal transportation network. Many of the 120 attendees at the Ohio Department of Transportation's public meeting in Cleveland also want the state to better support transportation choice.

The unsuccessful Innerbelt Bridge design-build team of Trumbull-Great Lakes-Ruhlin refiled its lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Transportation. There was disagreement within ODOT over whether the selected proposal met the agency's design requirements.

The Ohio Department of Transportation may build noise walls along the portion of I-90 on Cleveland's west side, and recently held a meeting to hear from the public.

A Franklin County Court of Common Pleas judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by one of the losing design-build teams on the Innerbelt Bridge project. The two losing teams are each seeking stipends of up to $1 million offered by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials presented plans for the Opportunity Corridor (PDF) at six public meetings in Cleveland this week. Residents in Central and Kinsman were skeptical about the project's benefits, while Slavic Village residents expressed mixed opinions.

Meanwhile, the City of Lakewood held its first Bikeway Planning Community Workshop on Tuesday evening. More than 60 people attended. The City plans to hold its next workshop in mid-November.

Update: Lakewood residents who were unable to attend the workshop can still provide input.

The six candidates for Cuyahoga County executive discussed regional transportation issues at a Cleveland State University forum on Tuesday evening. They expressed different views about priorities and funding.

A new traffic congestion report from CEOs for Cities offers a critique of the Urban Mobility Report and presents an alternative methodology. The report by Joe Cortright offers "a new view of urban transportation performance. It explores the key role that land use and variations in travel distances play in determining how long Americans spend in peak hour travel." He adds that the Urban Mobility Report "has a number of key flaws that misstate and exaggerate the effects of congestion, and it ignores the critical role that sprawl and travel distances play in aggravating peak period travel."

While the City of Avon has reached purchase agreements with many of the 31 property owners at the site of the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road, it is preparing to take 11 of them to court in an effort to determine a purchase price. Avon City Council also approved expanding the interchange TIF district to encompass 116 parcels.

Update: the Press of Avon Lake has more details.

One of the teams not chosen to design and build the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland is suing the Ohio Department of Transportation. They claim that the selected proposal does not meet the state's design criteria.

The planned Opportunity Corridor will affect residents and business in Cleveland's Buckeye, Fairfax, Kinsman, and Slavic Village neighborhoods, and area leaders intend to ensure that the proposed boulevard benefits their neighborhoods. The Ohio Department of Transportation will hold six public meetings between October 5 and October 7.

The Ohio Department of Transportation intends to award the design-build contract for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland to the team of HNTB and Walsh Construction. Their design, earlier known as "Bridge A", features a series of arched steel beams atop concrete piers. The team's proposal calls for opening the bridge a year ahead of plans and came in $163 million below expectations. Marc Lefkowitz said that some of the savings should be used to provide a multipurpose lane.

Update: ODOT posted more renderings of the winning design (PDF).

Update 2: ODOT officially awarded the contract to Walsh and HNTB.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Kevin Cronin describes what bicycle and pedestrian advocates have learned in the debate over plans for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. He concludes that "it's not about a bridge, it's about a process, it's about livability and it's about people being counted."

The City of Lakewood continues to gather public input on community planning initiatives, and recently held the second public work session for the Clifton Boulevard Enhancement Project. On August 21, a Birdtown Madison Community Action public meeting will take place.

Update: the Sun Post-Herald summarized the Clifton Boulevard work session.

Update 2: about 50 people attended the August 21 event. The City will hold two more community meetings.

A Plain Dealer editorial criticizes the quality of the proposed designs for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland, saying that "all three proposals from prospective design-build teams are in keeping with the department's narrow vision of what can and should be accomplished here." Meanwhile, Mandy Metcalf detailed her concerns about ODOT's plans for the east end of the West Shoreway reconfiguration in Ohio City.

The Ohio Department of Transportation revealed renderings of the three proposals for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Each of the designs developed by the competing design-build teams calls for a steel girder bridge supported by concrete piers. ODOT is accepting public comments through August 15. Steven Litt was critical of the designs and the planning process, and said that "ODOT has come up with several profoundly ho-hum options for one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the state's history."

In an editorial, the Plain Dealer urges the Ohio Department of Transportation to gather input about the proposed Innerbelt Bridge multipurpose lane from the competing design-build teams instead of outright rejecting the concept.

The City of Seven Hills may create a tax increment financing district to help fund improvements along Broadview Road.

The proposed redesign of the I-77 interchange at Route 82 in Broadview Heights continues to move through federal and state review processes.

The new Fulton Road Bridge in Old Brooklyn opened on Friday. Minor work beneath the structure will continue this summer. The original bridge was built in 1932 and demolished in 2007.

Brooklyn City Council approved the construction of Memphis Industrial Parkway at Memphis Avenue near the Linndale border. The parkway will open land for development, and construction will run from September 2010 to May 2011.

Issues with traffic signals have prevented the HealthLine from attaining projected travel time efficiencies. The City of Cleveland continues to adjust the traffic signals, but has disconnected the traffic signal priority system.

Update: the buses will be permitted to travel faster than surrounding traffic on Euclid Avenue. The HealthLine also won an Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio.

The City of Shaker Heights and the Village of Highland Hills reached an agreement about the planned intersection reconfiguration that is part of the Warrensville-Van Aken transit oriented development.

As anticipated, the Ohio Department of Transportation told Governor Strickland that including a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland would not be feasible. The agency instead proposed (PDF) replacing the bicycle lanes and sidewalks on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge with barrier-separated multipurpose lanes.

Update: Governor Strickland and Jackson agree with ODOT's conclusions, while backers of the multipurpose lane are continuing their advocacy campaign.

After several delays, the new Fulton Road Bridge in Old Brooklyn will open on July 9. It includes four lanes for traffic, with bike lanes and sidewalks on each side. It will be reopened following a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials defended the agency's plans to award up to $1 million in stipends to each of the two teams not selected to build the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland, but did establish new guidelines for distributing the money. A News-Herald editorial questions "whether paying the losing bidders as much as $2 million is the best use of that money."

A group of Brooklyn Centre residents objects to the Ohio Department of Transportation's plans to install noise walls along I-71. They prefer plant-based noise barriers. Meanwhile, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners adopted a voluntary noise abatement procedure for Cuyahoga County Airport.

The Ohio Department of Transportation again rejected a proposal to include a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Marc Lefkowitz wrote that while the campaign for the lane may not succeed, it has increased local awareness of the complete streets movement.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that ODOT reached the wrong conclusion, and the subject was among those discussed on Friday's Sound of Ideas program.

The City of Avon will levy special assessments against more than 100 property owners near the planned new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The tax will cover $9 million of the $28 million project. Property owners object to the assessments.

Update: land acquisition for the interchange is underway.

The Ohio Department of Transportation again delayed the opening of the new Fulton Road Bridge in Old Brooklyn. Officials cited weather as a factor, and now expect to open the bridge in mid-July.

The Plain Dealer has more details about the Ohio Department of Transportation's plans to grind rumble stripes along the edge lines of state routes.

The Ohio Department of Transportation's implementation of Intelligent Transportation System technologies will include traffic cameras and sensors. The $22 million system should be in place along Greater Cleveland highways by October.

ODOT District 3 has proposed installing rumble stripes along the edge lines of some state highways (PDF) in the eight-county district that includes Lorain and Medina counties. Bicyclists object to the rumble stripes, saying they would make the roads more dangerous for bicycles.

Steven Litt believes that the Ohio Department of Transportation's process for designing the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland will likely lead to an uninspired bridge, saying that "the prospects for outstanding design are looking downright slim."

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission recently adopted a complete streets policy. Plans for roadway projects that receive funding through the Columbus-area MPO now must consider all potential users. NOACA does not yet have a similar policy.

The Ohio Inspector General's Office has "serious concerns about the payment of the $1 million stipends (PDF) to unsuccessful bidders on the Inner Belt Bridge project," and said that the "stipends would constitute an unjustified expenditure of public funds." Ohio Department of Transportation officials said that the agency will follow the recommendations for future projects.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

The Ohio Department of Transportation installed its first three Greater Cleveland traffic cameras as part of its introduction of Intelligent Transportation System technologies. The webcams are available at Buckeye Traffic.

At its meeting on Monday, Cleveland City Council approved a resolution urging the Ohio Department of Transportation to include a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge. However, that attitude is not shared by all local politicians, as Steven LaTourette ridiculed Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's recent announcement that we have reached "the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized."

Meanwhile, ODOT announced the finalists to design and build the new bridge. The three competing teams will submit technical and price proposals in August, and ODOT will choose the winner in September. GreenCityBlueLake considered what may come next.

Governor Strickland told the Ohio Department of Transportation to re-evaluate the feasibility of including a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge. A Plain Dealer editorial notes that "for Strickland's call to make a real difference, ODOT planners need to bring open minds to a review they have staunchly resisted."

Four teams of designers and contractors hope to build the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland, and submitted their qualifications to the Ohio Department of Transportation. ODOT will select three of the teams to prepare technical and price proposals and will announce the finalists on March 23. Greenlight Zine highlighted some of GreenCityBlueLake's questions about the project.

Traffic congestion and travel times increased nationally in 2009, according to the annual Inrix National Traffic Scorecard. Congestion levels decreased in 2008 and reached their low point in spring 2009 before starting to rise again. The worst bottleneck in the Cleveland metropolitan area was the I-90 westbound interchange at Chester Avenue.

A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge voided the sheriff's sale of the Cleveland Cold Storage building. The Ohio Department of Transportation still intends to demolish the building to make way for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge, but now may have to pay a higher price in its eminent domain acquisition.

The City of Strongsville is seeking approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the second phase of the Foltz Parkway extension project. It involves filling streams and wetlands for a planned expansion of the Strongsville Business & Technology Park.

The Ohio Turnpike published the results (PDF) of its noise mitigation pilot project. The study found that the T-top concrete noise walls installed in Berea were more effective than the median-mounted acoustic panels tested in Strongsville. The Turnpike Commission will consider the findings and decide its next steps.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges the Ohio Department of Transportation to consider a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge, calling the department's responses "bureaucratic runaround."

An article in this week's Scene is critical of the plans for the Opportunity Corridor. Residents in Cleveland's Forgotten Triangle do not think it will help their neighborhood.

The planned I-90 interchange (PDF) at Nagel Road in Avon was one of five Ohio highway projects placed on an accelerated timetable by the Ohio Department of Transportation. Construction is now scheduled to begin in 2011 and end in late 2012, about a year earlier than originally planned.

The discussion on this morning's Sound of Ideas program was about ODOT's plans for the Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The guests were Cleveland City Planning Director Bob Brown, Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer, ODOT District 12 Deputy Director Bonnie Teeuwen, and CPC Director Paul Alsenas.

The Ohio House approved language that would reduce the speed limit on Cleveland's West Shoreway from 50 to 35 mph. It's part of the plans to convert the highway to a boulevard. City leaders are working to obtain funding for the project's second phase.

Last Friday, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O'Donnell held a hearing on the Cleveland Cold Storage building ownership dispute. ODOT intends to demolish the building for the new Innerbelt Bridge. Also on Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved a resolution of support for bicycle and pedestrian access on the new bridge.

Update: on Feagler & Friends, Dan Moulthrop spoke with ODOT District 12 Deputy Director Bonnie Teeuwen about the bridge plans.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials recently presented (PDF) the scope and criteria for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge to potential contractors, engineers, and designers. The agency is seeking a simple girder or box design, and will select three design-build teams in March. ODOT will provide a $1 million stipend to each of the two non-winning finalists.

The City of Shaker Heights has secured the $11.5 million needed for the planned reconfiguration of the six-way intersection at Warrensville Center Road and Van Aken Boulevard. Construction is slated to begin in about two years. The City will provide updates at a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building.

The transportation engineers working on a proposal to redesign the I-77 interchange at Route 82 in Broadview Heights may modify their plans.

At a public meeting yesterday, consultants from TranSystem discussed the proposed redesign of the I-77 interchange at Route 82 in Broadview Heights.

RTA plans to demolish the closed Rockefeller Avenue bridge in Cleveland. They do not intend to replace it.

The 2010 federal omnibus spending bill includes $500,000 for the reconfiguration of the six-way intersection at Warrensville Center Road and Van Aken Boulevard in Shaker Heights. It also includes $2.5 billion for high-speed rail projects, a compromise between Senate and House versions of the bill.

The Ohio Department of Transportation announced that three City of Cleveland staffers will participate in the design-build process for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge.

Update: the Plain Dealer has additional information.

Transportation Outlook, the new 20-year regional transportation plan released by AMATS, employs (PDF) a fix-it-first approach for the Akron area's transportation network. NOACA does not have a similar policy.

A Plain Dealer editorial said that ODOT's unwillingness to consider bicycle and pedestrian access on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge reflects "an all-too-familiar lack of imagination." NOACA published 40 pages of public comments (PDF) about the proposed bike lanes.

More than 100 people attended a rally in Tremont on Sunday for bicycle and pedestrian access on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge. They were joined by Dennis Kucinich, who wrote a letter to Governor Strickland in their support. Groups of attendees followed ODOT's proposed alternate routes in an effort to highlight their flaws.

Traffic consultant HNTB suggests a reconfiguration of the ramps at the I-90 interchange at Columbia Road in Westlake. The Columbia Road Corridor Study will be presented at an open house (PDF) on Monday.

On Monday, the City of Cleveland Heights held the third of three public meetings on the Cedar Fairmount Traffic Study. City Architecture will submit its final report and recommendations to City Council next month.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is proceeding with property acquisition for its planned new Innerbelt Bridge, including the purchase of three historic buildings that it intends to demolish. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2011, and will cause traffic disruptions until work in completed in 2017. Local cyclists continue to advocate for the inclusion of a bicycle and pedestrian lane. They will hold a rally in Tremont on Sunday.

Update: Renovating the Rust Belt has more details about the proposal for pedestrian and cyclist access. Steven Litt also described the efforts of bicycle advocates.

In the year since the Euclid Corridor project was completed and the HealthLine began operations, the improvements have helped to spur developments downtown, in Midtown, and in University Circle, despite the recession. Steven Litt assessed the project's effectiveness to date.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges the Ohio Department of Transportation to incorporate more local input into the design process for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. It notes ODOT's dismissive attitude, saying that "the agency consistently has treated Cleveland like a stepchild who should be glad she's getting anything for Christmas."

The Plain Dealer and Channel 3 have more details about the dispute between the Ohio Department of Transportation and Fred Finley, owner of the Cleveland Cold Storage building.

Update: a judge returned control of the building to Finley pending a January hearing.

The owner of the Cleveland Cold Storage building says that he has been treated unfairly by the Ohio Department of Transportation. Also known as the Distribution Terminal Warehouse, it is one of several historic buildings that ODOT intends to demolish for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge.

A new report from Policy Matters Ohio examined the distribution patterns of transportation projects funded by federal stimulus dollars. One of its findings is that 63% of the funds distributed by the state's metropolitan planning organizations went to suburban and exurban projects. The report recommends reviewing decision-making processes to ensure that MPOs do not encourage urban sprawl.

Steven Litt suggests that advocates of a bike lane for the new Innerbelt Bridge should hire an independent engineer to draft plans for a bridge that would include the bike lane.

Dangerous by Design, a new report from Transportation for America and the Surface Transportation Policy Project, examined pedestrian safety in American cities. It highlights the hazards of inadequate investment in pedestrian infrastructure and the need for better design. The Cleveland MSA was one of the safer large metropolitan areas for pedestrians.

Update: the Columbus Dispatch looked at the situation in Ohio.

The Cleveland Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee approved changes to the design of the planned new Innerbelt Bridge on Thursday, and the Cleveland City Planning Commission discussed the plans today. Cyclists are not pleased with ODOT's treatment of bicycle lane issues.

Update: the Planning Commission criticized the plans for the new Innerbelt Bridge, but praised the designs for the pedestrian bridge at North Coast Harbor. GreenCityBlueLake continues to advocate for accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians.

On November 10, Clean Fuels Ohio and the Levin College Forum will host a discussion about the future of transportation in Ohio.

Highway traffic volumes are rising in Greater Cleveland, mirroring national trends. Traffic congestion in American urban areas reached its low point in the second quarter of 2009, and experts say that the increases are tied to the stabilizing economy.

Testing for the Ohio Turnpike's noise mitigation pilot project concluded on Friday, and nearby residents said that the sound barriers made a difference. The Turnpike Commission will now review the results of the study and identify next steps. Adding barriers where needed would cost an estimated $39 million.

Rust Wire recapped the Levin College Forum event yesterday that featured author Alyssa Katz. The next Forum event on October 30 will be a panel discussion about interdisciplinary partnerships for infrastructure investments.

Ohio Department of Transportation representatives presented a portion of their plans for the new Innerbelt Bridge to the Cleveland City Planning Commission on Friday. Planning Commission members asked ODOT to consider making changes to the design.

After some delays, two types of noise barriers are being tested along the Ohio Turnpike in Berea and Strongsville through a noise mitigation pilot project.

Residents and business owners along the path of the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland are skeptical that its construction would benefit them. Marc Lefkowitz noted that "the city will walk a tightrope between satisfying the traffic concerns of west siders commuting to The Clinic and University Circle and its promises to make this a boulevard with land-uses consistent with a healthy urban fabric."

On Friday, the Federal Highway Administration issued its approval (PDF) of the Ohio Department of Transportation's plans to rebuilt the Innerbelt freeway in Cleveland. ODOT is now free to begin implementing its plans.

The City of Cleveland is seeking $37 million in federal stimulus funding for the planned reconstruction of the West Shoreway.

The topic of this morning's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN was the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland. Phyllis Cleveland, Deb Janik, and Steven Litt appeared as guests.

The completion of the replacement Fulton Road Bridge in Old Brooklyn has been delayed. It is now scheduled to open in May 2010.

A group of Brooklyn residents submitted petitions for two issues to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, but not in time for them to appear on the November ballot. The group is seeking to recall Mayor Patton and to have a citywide vote on the proposed redesign of the I-480 interchange at Tiedeman Road.

The Ohio Department of Transportation's Transportation Review Advisory Council authorized an additional $10 million in funding for preliminary planning of the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland.

In a strongly-worded editorial, the Plain Dealer accuses the Ohio Department of Transportation of misleading the public about its Innerbelt reconstruction plans and its willingness to retain ramps at Carnegie and Prospect avenues.

The retention of the Innerbelt ramp at Carnegie Avenue may be tied to the future of the nearby Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court building, which the County will vacate when its new Juvenile Justice Center in Fairfax is completed. It is not listed in the National Register of Historic Places, but was determined to be eligible for inclusion.

The Infrastructurist identified the planned reconstruction of the West Shoreway in Cleveland as one of seven urban freeway removal projects that could benefit American cities.

Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jolene Molitoris spoke at the City Club today. She said that the (MP3, 51.1 MB) Innerbelt Bridge project is "the highest and most pressing transportation issue in the state."

Update: she also said that the decision to eliminate Innerbelt ramps at Prospect and Carnegie avenues may not be final. Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration approved the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Innerbelt project. The public comment period is open until August 31.

The Ohio Department of Transportation now plans to build a new five-lane westbound Innerbelt Bridge that would open September 2013, and in 2015, open a five-lane replacement for the existing Innerbelt Bridge. The agency dropped its plans for a signature bridge and is now considering box and girder bridges and a design-build process. ODOT officials presented their most recent plans at an Aesthetics Subcommittee meeting late last month and at a Cleveland City Planning Commission meeting last week (PDFs).

The Cleveland Memory Project scanned and posted the 17 volumes of highway Route Location Studies produced in the 1960s, plus the 1955 Comprehensive Arterial Highway Plan for Cuyahoga County. They detail plans for built and unbuilt sections of the county's freeway system.

Wells + Associates, the engineering firm developing a master traffic plan for the City of Solon, recommends building a connector road to link Aurora Road to Route 422. The idea was first proposed last year as part of the Coral Co.'s since-withdrawn mixed-use development. The firm also suggests widening a section of Aurora Road.

The Texas Transportation Institute's 2009 Urban Mobility Report found that traffic congestion in American cities eased slightly in 2007. Greater Cleveland figures followed the national trends (PDF). Of the 29 large urban areas studied, the Cleveland area had the second-lowest amount of congestion per driver.

A New York Times analysis of state spending of federal transportation stimulus dollars "offered vivid evidence that metropolitan areas are losing the struggle for stimulus money" to rural areas. The article used the funding for the Innerbelt Bridge project in Cleveland as an example. A recent report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors (PDF) reached a similar conclusion, leading mayors to register complaints with the White House.

Update: the Columbus Dispatch also published an article on the subject.

A noise mitigation pilot project is underway at sites along the Ohio Turnpike in Berea and Strongsville. A final report on the effectiveness of the sound barriers should be ready in September. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Transportation is considering the installation of noise walls along I-90 in Tremont, and is gathering public feedback on the proposal.

Construction of the new Fulton Road Bridge in Old Brooklyn is 75% complete, but poor weather earlier this year may push back its opening from November 2009 to March 2010.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is promoting a fix-it-first philosophy for infrastructure investments, but a new report from Smart Growth America identified Ohio as one of only five states to allocate over half of its federal stimulus road budget to new construction.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that Mayor Jackson "is right to be skeptical" about the the Ohio Department of Transportation's promises to replace diverted federal transportation stimulus dollars. The projects funded by the shifted funds are not in the Cleveland area, which the editorial says "reveals the depth of the state's neglect of its urban economic engines in favor of spreading political peanut butter for votes."

Of the $220 million in federal stimulus funds awarded to Cleveland transportation projects, the Ohio Department of Transportation has diverted $135 million to projects elsewhere in the state. While ODOT has pledged to replace the shifted funds with other state and federal highway dollars, Mayor Jackson is worried that the State will be unable to fulfill its commitment. On Tuesday, he outlined his concerns in a letter to Governor Strickland.

Update: an ODOT spokesperson said that the agency remains committed to the projects.

At the request of federal transportation officials, the Ohio Department of Transportation reassigned $57 million in federal stimulus funds from highway planning and design work to shorter-term construction projects, including the $20 million that had been designated for the Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland. ODOT officials said that the planning projects will be supported with non-stimulus funds. In April, ODOT redirected $115 million of the $200 million in stimulus funds initially assigned to the Innerbelt Bridge project.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Tom Bier expresses his concern that the planning for the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland "is infected by the City Hall virus that stunts economic development and repels employers." Roldo Bartimole has a different perspective.

A group of Brooklyn residents continues to oppose the plans to build a diverging diamond interchange at at I-480 and Tiedeman Road. City officials say they need to obtain an additional $6.5 million for the $12 million project.

The City of Beachwood will build a half-mile road for Eaton's planned new headquarters in the Chagrin Highlands. Half of the funding for Spectrum Parkway West will come from a state grant.

Steven Litt identified the challenges facing the new Opportunity Corridor Steering Committee as it begins its efforts to guide the planning of the proposed boulevard.

The 19-member Opportunity Corridor Steering Committee held its first meeting on Friday. The panel includes political, civic, business, and neighborhood representatives.

This week's episode of Feagler & Friends looked at the debate surrounding the Ohio Department of Transportation's plans to rebuild the Cleveland Innerbelt. The guests were three critics of ODOT's plans and process: Tom Bier of Cleveland State University, James Haviland of Midtown Cleveland Incorporated, and Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer.

The Ohio EPA yesterday announced plans to invest $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds and low-interest state loans in water and sewer infrastructure projects. Approximately $46 million will go to projects in Northeast Ohio, including $5 million for two NEORSD sewer projects. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of the Interior unveiled plans for $750 million in stimulus funds, of which the Cuyahoga Valley National Park will receive about $7.8 million. The award will fund five projects in the Park. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the dollars (PDF) will help address the Park's maintenance backlog. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced that it will reallocate $115 million of the $200 million in stimulus funds it recently assigned to the Innerbelt Bridge project in Cleveland to 52 other projects across the state. ODOT officials say that the funding will be replaced with other state and federal dollars.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership named Terri Hamilton Brown as project director for the Opportunity Corridor project. She will serve as a liaison to ODOT and will coordinate planning for the proposed 2¾-mile boulevard. The Partnership also announced the creation of an Opportunity Corridor Steering Committee, which will be chaired by Terry Egger and Jamie Ireland.

About 150 people attended yesterday's public hearing about the Ohio Department of Transportation's plans for rebuilding the Innerbelt. Businesses in Midtown continue to object to the planned closure of exit ramps at Carnegie and Prospect Avenues. WTAM's Ted Klopp spoke with ODOT Project Manager Craig Hebebrand about the plans.

Update: ODOT posted PDFs of a handout and a presentation from the hearing.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials say that the $465 million planned new westbound Innerbelt Bridge will be a straightforward girder bridge with a signature design. ODOT will accept comments about its Innerbelt plans at a public hearing tomorrow.

Zaremba Homes spoke with Paul Volpe of City Architecture about the status of the East 12th Street streetscape project in downtown Cleveland.

The Pearl Road/West 25th Street Comprehensive Transportation Study will be unveiled at at public meeting on April 23 at the Gavin Lee Party Center in Old Brooklyn. The plan was was adopted by the Cleveland City Planning Commission on March 20.

TranSystems Corp. developed preliminary plans for a redesign of the I-77 interchange at Route 82 in Broadview Heights. City officials are trying to gather support for the plans.

The road to Whiskey Island in Cleveland will be named Ed Hauser Way in memory of the late activist. A dedication ceremony will be held on May 2.

A bipartisan conference committee of state legislators crafted a compromise biennial transportation budget, and although a disagreement prevented a vote on Tuesday, the Ohio House and Senate both passed the bill yesterday. Governor Strickland signed the budget bill late last night. The final version kept $250 million for passenger rail along the 3-C Corridor.

The span of the Columbus Road Lift Bridge over the Cuyahoga River in the Flats will be replaced, and the two lift towers will be repaired and upgraded. The $49 million project is scheduled to begin in November 2011, and construction will last about a year.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Tom Bier alleges that the Ohio Department of Transportation operated with a predetermined conclusion when developing its Innerbelt reconstruction plans, saying that the "public meetings and associated discussions were essentially sham events." He feels that ODOT put traffic engineering ahead of other considerations, calling it "an empire that simply does what it wants to do."

Ohio officials today announced that 149 transportation infrastructure projects in 87 Ohio counties will receive a total of $774 million in federal stimulus funds. The largest single investment was for the Innerbelt Bridge project in Cleveland, which will receive $200 million. The other major project in Cuyahoga County to be funded is the Opportunity Corridor, which is slated to receive $20 million.

The Federal Highway Administration approved the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Ohio Department of Transportation's Innerbelt reconstruction plan. Project Manager Craig Hebebrand said that the study includes no surprises. ODOT will hold a public hearing about the plan on April 21, and will accept public comments (PDF) through May 21.

The Ohio Senate passed the two-year transportation budget bill, but removed some of Governor Strickland's proposals. Funding for the 3-C Corridor was retained. A compromise bill is expected to emerge from a joint Senate-House conference committee. The Governor's office says that another provision in the Senate bill threatens $96 million in federal stimulus funds.

Update: in an editorial, the Plain Dealer backs the commuter rail plans.

Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish is urging ODOT to assign $200 million in federal stimulus funds for repairs to the Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland.

Last week, NOACA approved allocating $43.6 million of federal stimulus funds for 21 infrastructure projects in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, and Medina counties. The largest awards were $14 million for the reconstruction of Bainbridge Road in Solon and $4.2 million to widen State Route 611 in Sheffield. An additional 32 improvements were named as reserve projects. NOACA also selected four projects to receive $9.8 million in federal CMAQ funding, including $6.25 million for replacement RTA buses.

Leaders in North Olmsted and Westlake are pleased with the economic development opportunities created by the completion of the Crocker-Stearns connector. The City of North Olmsted has begun the process of rezoning and redeveloping the Stearns Road corridor south of the new construction.

As of yesterday, the State of Ohio had received over 20,000 proposals for investing federal stimulus dollars. The Akron Beacon Journal identified the suggestions for the Akron area. Several application deadlines have already passed, and the state encourages applicants to submit proposals as quickly as possible. In addition, the Ohio Senate unanimously approved spending $360 million of stimulus funds on brownfield remediation, trails, parks, and other items. The Ohio House is also expected to pass the bill. NOACA will receive nearly $44.2 million in stimulus funds, which will be divided proportionately among its five-county service area. The agency's RTIS will select the projects that will be funded.

Last week, the Ohio House passed a two-year transportation budget bill that would allocate $7.6 billion, plus $2.2 billion in federal stimulus funds. It includes $250 million for the 3-C Corridor passenger rail proposal. The Ohio Senate is now debating the plan. GreenCityBlueLake describes it as "a once in a generation opportunity to rebuild our transportation system", while WKSU commentator Paul Gaston provides a historical perspective.

The second Inrix National Traffic Scorecard found that peak hour traffic congestion in American cities was nearly 30% lower in 2008 than in 2007. Authors attributed the decline to increases in gas prices and unemployment. They also noted that a relatively small decrease in traffic volumes had a large impact in reducing urban congestion. The Cleveland MSA was the least congested of the nation's 25 largest metro areas, and was ranked as number 38 among the 100 metro areas surveyed. It was number 36 in 2007. Half of the region's ten most congested spots are along the Innerbelt freeway.

As of last Friday, Ohio officials had received nearly 7,500 proposals for federal stimulus funds, adding up to about $28 million in requests. The state expects to receive about $8 billion. By yesterday, the number of requests had topped 10,000. GreenCityBlueLake has suggestions for greening the stimulus investments. The list (XLS, 8.3 MB) is available at the state's stimulus website, and Cleveland.com also posted the database.

GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz notes that the recently-released draft of the AMATS regional transportation plan makes no mention of climate change. He then names some areas where the plan could address the issue.

Yesterday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN was devoted to a discussion of the Ohio Department of Transportation's Innerbelt plans. ODOT also posted the presentation that officials made (PDF) to Cleveland City Council last week.

Cleveland City Council members want the Ohio Department of Transportation to prioritize investments in urban centers.

ODOT District 12 Deputy Director Bonnie Teeuwen updated a Cleveland City Council committee on the status of plans for a new Innerbelt Bridge. The agency had been considering a single-bridge option that would have required closing the bridge, but abandoned the concept after Mayor Jackson objected and a study concluded that other arterial roads would be unable to absorb the traffic. The two-bridge plan is again the preferred design. ODOT is considering whether to repair the existing bridge and then build a second parallel bridge, or whether to build the second bridge and then repair or replace the existing one. The agency also intends to spend $10 million on repairs to the old bridge this year, and says that the closed lanes and entrance ramps will reopen this year.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial applauds the announcement and ODOT issued a press release about the upcoming repairs.

The Ohio EPA will monitor construction at the closed Matousek landfill in Garfield Heights. Developers have proposed building a second phase of the City View Center retail development, as well as a quarter-mile extension of Transportation Boulevard to Rockside Road.

Channel 3 followed up yesterday's story about creating a sustainable transportation system with a report about transportation choices that individuals can make. The station also examined proposals for commuter rail in Ohio.

Governor Strickland's proposal to fund new road construction through tolls has raised the possibility of building the Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland as a toll road.

GreenCityBlueLake Institute Director David Beach appeared on Channel 3 this morning to discuss the state of Greater Cleveland's transportation infrastructure and the need to develop a sustainable transportation system.

The transportation portion of Governor Strickland's budget proposal includes tolls for new road construction, support for commuter rail, and new funding mechanisms for road improvements, among other items. Meanwhile, AMATS unveiled a draft of its Transportation Outlook (PDF) for Summit and Portage counties. It will be open for public comment (PDF) through February 27.

Developers in Garfield Heights are seeking permission to extend Transportation Boulevard south to Rockside Road. The proposal requires Ohio EPA approval because part of the route runs through a closed landfill.

The Plain Dealer has more details about how Ronn Richard will help to coordinate the distribution of federal stimulus dollars.

Greater Ohio's Gene Krebs, a member of the Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force, feels that ODOT does not need an increased gas tax and instead requires "greater accountability and performance criteria on infrastructure investments".

The Ohio Department of Transportation has begun considering whether to replace the state's gas tax with a mileage tax.

Ohio Department of Transportation Director James Beasley will retire at the end of the month. He has held the post since February 2007. Governor Strickland appointed Jolene Molitoris as his successor. She is the current ODOT assistant director and the former head of the Federal Railroad Administration.

Update: passenger rail advocates hope that she will be supportive of commuter rail projects.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership is promoting a list of regional infrastructure projects for federal stimulus funding.

Ken Silliman, Frank Jackson's chief of staff, told a Cleveland City Council committee that closing the Innerbelt Bridge for a year would be unacceptable, and called on ODOT to build the two-bridge configuration from earlier plans. City officials also announced that they will meet next week with state and federal officials about the planned Opportunity Corridor. A Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland must demand promised funding from ODOT.

David Beach shares his thoughts about the recommendations recently identified by ODOT's 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force and what it will take to develop a sustainable transportation system.

Governor Strickland appointed Ronn Richard of the Cleveland Foundation as Ohio's infrastructure czar. In the temporary, part-time position, he will guide the process to select projects and distribute funds from the federal stimulus package. Frank Jackson is pleased with the selection.

Preliminary work on the I-77 widening project in southern Cuyahoga County is nearing completion, and the first phase of construction is scheduled to begin in March.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is considering a plan to replace the deteriorating Innerbelt Bridge with a basic concrete or steel girder bridge instead of building a planned signature bridge. Construction could begin as early as late 2010. In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Mark Filippell urges ODOT to quickly replace the bridge. Meanwhile, Cleveland firefighters want ODOT to to indicate which zones on the existing bridge are safe for parking emergency vehicles.

ODOT reports that it remains on schedule to begin operating Intelligent Transportation System elements on Greater Cleveland highways by summer 2010. Implementation across Northeast Ohio should be completed in 2013.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson unveiled an updated urban agenda (PDF) today. It identified four priority projects for which he hopes to obtain federal and state infrastructure stimulus dollars. In letters President-elect Obama and Governor Strickland, he requested $730 million for the Innerbelt Bridge, Riverbed Road, Opportunity Corridor, and West Shoreway projects. His entire list includes $1.56 billion in infrastructure investments.

Update: Henry Gomez posted Mayor Jackson's entire list and his letters.

The Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force delivered its report to Governor Strickland today. The task force identified four strategies and made 13 recommendations. The final report (PDF) and its appendices (PDF) are available online.

Update: the Plain Dealer and the Blade have more information about the task force's recommendations, which include raising the state's fuel tax. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the report "intelligently addresses the state's transportation needs".

The Ohio Turnpike Commission will test sound barrier installations along the turnpike in Berea and Strongsville in as part of a noise mitigation pilot project.

Update: the Sun Star has more details.

NOACA has drawn up a list of 65 "shovel ready" infrastructure projects that would use $197 million of the anticipated federal economic stimulus package. However, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pointed out that Cleveland is among the cities that have not submitted a list of projects to the United States Conference of Mayors. Other area cities, like North Royalton, have participated. The National Parks Conservation Association has also prepared a list of recommended investments, which includes a project in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Steven Litt feels that the Innerbelt Bridge and Opportunity Corridor projects should be "viewed as part of a comprehensive system that could boost the city's economy for decades to come." He says that the planning of the two projects has been slowed by mediocre work by ODOT and a lack of advocacy from local leaders. He also encourages ODOT to reconsider the proposed southern alignment for a new Innerbelt Bridge.

The Plain Dealer's editorial page again addresses the West Shoreway reconstruction plans, encouraging Cleveland and ODOT officials to collaborate on making the project a Cleveland signature.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Crocker-Stearns Road Extension project will be held on December 18. The North Olmsted portion of the construction will be completed soon, and construction in Westlake will wrap up in the spring. Related work is scheduled to be finished in September 2009.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials are revising the criteria used to set transportation funding priorities. The new formulas will place less emphasis on traditional factors like traffic volume and capacity, and give more weight to economic development and environmental factors. ODOT's Transportation Review Advisory Council will vote on the changes on December 18.

(via ClevelandTOD)

President-elect Obama's economic recovery plan includes "the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s," and on Friday, NOACA's Governing Board will consider a resolution urging Congress to "target additional infrastructure funding to states with the highest unemployment." Officials in Geauga and Lake counties are preparing lists of "shovel-ready" projects.

The delayed plans to convert the West Shoreway to a boulevard are regaining momentum. The Ohio Department of Transportation has agreements in place, and plans to begin Phase I work (PDF) in 2010. Phase II construction is now scheduled to start no sooner than 2013. ODOT will hold a public open house on December 11 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.

Update: a Plain Dealer graphic breaks down the plans.

Work on the Pearl Road/West 25th Street Comprehensive Transportation Study is nearing completion.

The City of Brooklyn received a $5 million grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation for the construction of a diverging diamond interchange at I-480 and Tiedeman Road. City officials are seeking federal funding for the $12 million project.

The Ohio Department of Transportation awarded a $4 million grant to the City of Shaker Heights for the reconfiguration of the six-way intersection of Warrensville Center, Chagrin, Van Aken, and Northfield. The project will cost an estimated $10 million. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2012.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone proposed renaming the Whiskey Island access road in memory of the late Ed Hauser.

Today's Plain Dealer examined the Innerbelt Bridge's weakest beam and the problems it has created. The bridge was also the subject of yesterday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN, where panelists discussed the future of the span. Starting tomorrow, trucks and buses will be banned from the bridge, and alternate routes are already seeing increased congestion.

The Ohio Department of Transportation may drop its proposed two-bridge plan for carrying I-90 over the Cuyahoga River valley due to the rapid decay of the Innerbelt Bridge. One proposal calls for building a steel girder bridge under the existing truss bridge, which would require closing the bridge for two years. Meanwhile, a group of Tremont residents protested the continued closure of the West 14th Street entrance ramp to the bridge.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that shutting down the bridge "would be disastrous for Cleveland."

Steven Litt says that the recently-completed Euclid Corridor project "shows how smart investments in mass transit and public space can help struggling cities turn themselves around." He also calls it a reminder "that America still has the ability to tackle high-quality, large-scale infrastructure projects with style."

Update: Rob Pitingolo feels that the project also represents missed opportunities.

A Plain Dealer review of ODOT internal e-mails and news releases revealed that the agency had begun to consider lane closures on the Innerbelt Bridge as early as February. ODOT officials are considering reopening a third lane of traffic in each direction and closing the bridge to truck traffic.

Update: starting November 19, ODOT will ban trucks and buses from the bridge and will reopen one lane in each direction.

If built, the proposed diverging diamond interchange at I-480 and Tiedeman Road would be one of the first in the nation. The City of Brooklyn plans to build the $12 million interchange in 2012.

The grand opening of RTA's HeathLine attracted crowds over the weekend, and its Monday debut experienced only minor glitches. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the corridor's real payoff will be in the surrounding development it encourages.

The new Fulton Road Bridge in Old Brooklyn remains on target for its scheduled November 2009 opening. Construction of the new bridge will require approximately 18,345 cubic yards of concrete.

The Euclid Corridor was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the HealthLine this afternoon. Construction of the $200 million, 7.1-mile project took three years, and it was the subject of Thursday's Sound of Ideas on WCPN. RTA will hold opening celebrations all weekend.

A group of Tiedeman Road residents is questioning the City of Brooklyn's plans for a rare diverging diamond interchange at I-480 and Tiedeman Road.

NOACA awarded $869,600 in TLCI grants for 15 transportation planning studies in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Medina counties. The awards include $50,000 to the City of Parma for planning a multipurpose trail along the First Energy corridor near the City's southern border, and $48,000 for planning a bicycle path in Medina.

Update: Maple Heights will use its award to study ways to make Broadway Avenue friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Ohio Department of Transportation decided that the four outer lanes of the Innerbelt Bridge will remain closed indefinitely. Last week's stress test confirmed that two of the bridge's connectors are severely deteriorated. ODOT has not yet identified a long-term strategy for the bridge.

Next week, the Ohio Department of Transportation will present the results of the Innerbelt Bridge stress test and its plans for the future of the bridge. It is possible that it will be beyond repair.

At a public workshop last month, consultants presented three concepts for improving the Cedar-Fairmount business district in Cleveland Heights. Participants favored an option that calls for widening the sidewalks along Cedar Road and narrowing the street.

The Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland continues to deteriorate more quickly than expected, and this week the Ohio Department of Transportation first closed two lanes and later closed four lanes of the eight lane bridge. It will be completely closed for more tests one night next week. ODOT's Innerbelt plans call for rehabilitating the bridge, but the increased corrosion could force a change.

Shaker Heights City Council confirmed its support of the redevelopment plan for the Warrensville-Van Aken area. The City will work with the Cuyahoga County Engineer's Office to obtain an ODOT grant for reconfiguring the six-way intersection.

On Friday, WCPN's Sound of Ideas examined the conflicts between bicyclists and motorists.

The theme of the third "Cleveland Plus: Turning the Corner" discussion at the City Club (MP3, 25.4 MB) was infrastructure and transportation. The participants were Ricky Smith of the Cleveland Department of Port Control, Bonita Teeuwen of ODOT District 12, and Adam Wasserman of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. The final event in the series will be held on December 17, and will the examine the changing regional economy.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials are concerned that the construction timetable for the Central Park development and related infrastructure improvements may be too ambitious. The Coral Co.'s project manager for the mixed-use project in Solon described the schedule as "aggressive but doable."

The installation of replacement noise barriers along I-480 in North Olmsted has been delayed, and will completed in October instead of August.

Shaker Heights City Council passed a resolution in support of the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland, with one councilman dissenting.

The City of Cleveland closed the Columbus Road Lift Bridge in the Flats for at least two months for repairs. In the long term, rebuilding or replacing the bridge could cost more than $31 million. The Cuyahoga County Engineer's office will hold an open house Wednesday at St. Malachi Church in Cleveland to hear opinions from the public.

Solon City Council unanimously voted to place the proposed Central Park development on the November ballot, combining the mixed-use zoning classification and rezoning proposals into a single issue. At the City Council meeting, about 50% of the residents who spoke favored the project, down from 75% at a meeting earlier this month. Opponents of the project have organized under the name No Central Park. Meanwhile, the Coral Co. offered a revised road improvement plan that includes a new four-lane connector road.

The Federal Highway Administration released data showing that Americans drove less for the eighth straight month, driving 12.2 billion fewer miles (a 4.7% decrease) in June 2008 than in June 2007. Ohio drivers reduced their travel by 442 million miles (4.6%) over the same period.

The majority of the 120 Solon residents in attendance at a public hearing about Central Park supported the proposed mixed-use development. Peter Rubin of the Coral Co. indicated that he's considering alternate configurations for the proposed realignment of the intersection of SOM Center and Bainbridge Roads.

University Circle Incorporated President Chris Ronayne advocates for the construction of the Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland, and suggests that work should start at East 105th Street in University Circle.

The National Park Service published an environmental assessment for the rehabilitation or replacement of the Fitzwater Truss Bridge and the Waste Weir Bridge over the Cuyahoga River and the Ohio & Erie Canal in Independence. The report's preferred alternative calls for replacing both bridges on a new alignment that would create a four-way intersection at Canal Road. Public comments on the document will be accepted through August 28.

Update: the Sun Courier has more details.

A study commissioned by Cuyahoga Community College recommends rerouting Clemens Road near Crocker Road, not far from Tri-C's planned Westshore Campus. The study and the city engineer maintain that the rerouting would be necessary regardless of whether the campus is built. Westlake leaders are concerned that the campus could exacerbate traffic problems.

Euclid Avenue reopened to two-way traffic between East 9th Street to East 14th Street today, and the segment between Public Square and East 9th Street will reopen by July 31. At that point, the only remaining Euclid Corridor roadwork will be in the University Circle area.

The Plain Dealer explored the opportunities and challenges of the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland, comparing its potential to that of the Phalen Corridor in St. Paul.

Construction Digest reports on the construction of the new Fulton Road Bridge in Cleveland. The $45.9 million project is scheduled to be completed in November 2009.

A company is seeking a conditional use permit to build a four-story extended stay hotel near the I-480 exit at Tiedeman Road. Brooklyn officials are concerned that it could interfere with their plans to redesign the interchange.

The Federal Highway Administration awarded $767,193 to the City of Cleveland for road construction at the Flats east bank development. The funds will be used to relocate Front Street and Old River Road and to build a new street and a trail.

Road improvements will be needed if the proposed Central Park project is approved. Solon City Council is considering two road improvement plans, both of which include a new connector road between Aurora and Solon Roads. Meanwhile, the Coral Co. denied an accusation that it's trying to lure tenants from Solar Shopping Center to Central Park. The City will hold a public hearing about Central Park on August 4.

The Free Times examines the potential for the blockage of the Cuyahoga River Federal Navigation Channel and critiques local and federal efforts to address slope subsidence and bulkhead failure issues that threaten the shoreline.

A Plain Dealer editorial calls the Opportunity Corridor funding announcement "a great step for a great project."

The Heights Observer provides more details about the recent public meeting on potential changes to the Cedar-Fairmount area.

Governor Strickland directed $4 million in state funds to the planning of the Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland. Financing sources for the $250 to $500 million project remain unclear.

The majority of people at the Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force meeting on Tuesday expressed a desire for better public transit service, and many said that Ohio needs to become less dependent on highways. The final regional Task Force meeting will be held on Monday in Akron.

In anticipation of today's Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force meeting, WCPN's Sound of Ideas program hosted a discussion of the issues this morning.

The final draft of the redevelopment plan for the 60 acre Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district was shown to Shaker Heights City Council this week. Council members were generally positive about the plan, but had questions about finding funds for the $70 million redevelopment and reconfiguration.

Cleveland Heights residents would like the Cedar-Fairmount district to be more pedestrian-friendly. Planners are evaluating several options, including narrowing Cedar Road from six to four lanes. A second public workshop will be held in September.

Local employees have adopted a variety of policies to help employees deal with rising commuting costs, and RTA reports that Park-N-Ride ridership increased by 4% between April 2007 and April 2008. At the same time, nonprofits, governments, and businesses are encouraging Ohioans to reduce idling in order to save gasoline and reduce pollution.

At the first of three community meetings about the Pearl Road/West 25th Street Comprehensive Transportation Study, Cleveland residents offered suggestions for improving the corridor. The work is partially funded by a 2006 TLCI grant.

Repairs of corroded steel parts on the Innerbelt Bridge are expected to cost roughly $10 million, not the $4 million anticipated last month. The work is scheduled to start in late July or early August and to end about a year later.

ODOT's Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force will hold one of its seven statewide transportation conversations at Cleveland State University on June 17. Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting, complete an online survey, and provide ideas and opinions.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has made $2 million in emergency repairs to corroded gusset plates on the Innerbelt Bridge this year, and expects to spend an additional $4 million on repairs this summer.

The City of Cleveland will spend an extra $208,000 to complete its share of Euclid Corridor construction ahead of schedule.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt says that more talk is needed about ODOT's plans to rebuild the Innerbelt, and that it is "shaping up as an example of how American cities are losing the ability to manage large infrastructure projects for maximum positive impact." He also describes how the plan calls for two opposing design concepts to occupy the same physical space by routing the Carnegie Avenue exit ramp through a capped section of the highway.

An editorial in the Plain Dealer looks to the Phalen Corridor Initiative in St. Paul as a model for the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland.

Next month, RTA and Laketran buses will begin driving on the shoulder of I-90 during traffic jams. If the test is successful, the concept could be applied to other local highways.

On Monday, Shaker Heights City Council approved plans to redevelop the Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district and reconfigure its six-way intersection.

Cleveland State University's Cauldron looked at the construction history of the Euclid Corridor project.

A section of the Euclid Corridor from East 55th to East 86th Streets is scheduled to open on Sunday. Work on the segment between East 17th and East 55th Streets was completed in November.

Cleveland City Council is expected to approve the sale of the King-Otis Cleveland Mounted Police Stables on East 38th Street to the Ohio Department of Transportation. ODOT intends to lease the building back to the City until it is ready to begin its planned Innerbelt realignment, at which point the stables will be demolished.

In an editorial, the Plain Dealer described the proposed Opportunity Corridor as "a broad-spectrum development" that is "entitled to more, rather than less, Statehouse help."

At a work session last week, Shaker Heights City Council discussed the final plans for the redevelopment of the Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district. Council is expected to vote on the plans on April 28.

Update: the Plain Dealer provides additional details.

The Ohio Department of Transportation's new Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force will hold its inaugural meeting next month in Columbus. It will encourage conversations on three key issues: promoting a multi-modal system, generating economic development, and maximizing public investment. A final report is expected by this fall.

Update: the West Side Sun News and the Plain Dealer have more information.

This spring, the Ohio Department of Transportation will begin a 3½ year, $90 million reconstruction and widening of I-77 in southern Cuyahoga County.

The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to soon begin installing replacement noise barriers along I-480 in North Olmsted. They expect to complete construction by the end of this summer.

Dennis Kucinich supports the plans for a diverging diamond interchange at I-480 and Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $1 million grant to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority for public road improvements in the Flats east bank development.

The Twinsburg Township Zoning Commission is considering a rezoning request by the developer of the proposed 803,731 square foot Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center. The Zoning Commission is also contemplating the development's traffic implications. Developer Bahman Guyuron wants to begin construction as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Peter Rubin of the Coral Co. says that his proposed Central Parc development in Solon needs to be built first in order to reach its full economic potential.

In a study funded by a 2005 TLCI grant, eight alternatives were identified for reconfiguring the intersection of Snow and Engle Roads in Brook Park. The proposals call for improving the intersection's safety and efficiency, while simultaneously freeing land for redevelopment.

The Plain Dealer's Brent Larkin says that the planned Opportunity Corridor through Cleveland is the most important highway project in Greater Cleveland, and that the project's champions need to make it clear to state officials that further delays are not acceptable.

Brooklyn officials will lobby federal lawmakers with the hope of securing funding for a proposed $15 million replacement of the I-480 interchange at Tiedeman Road.

The City of Solon and the Coral Co. are negotiating a development agreement for the proposed Central Parc mixed-use development. Issues include control over tenants, construction of a new road, lower-density buffer areas, greenspace requirements, and control of the property.

The Ohio Department of Transportation announced that the already-delayed West Shoreway reconstruction project has been pushed back even further, and that construction will not begin before 2013. The latest delay is intended to avoid simultaneous construction on the West Shoreway and the Innerbelt Bridge.

The Ohio Department of Transportation intends to have more ITS elements installed along Greater Cleveland highways by summer 2010. The improvements include webcams, electronic signage, and advisory radio stations.

The City of Solon may pay for portions of a proposed new four lane road that would connect the proposed Central Parc development to Route 422. Developer Peter Rubin of the Coral Co. is also scheduled to address the Solon School Board on Monday about tax increment financing for the development. Meanwhile, Solon City Council is examining a proposal to create a low-density multifamily zoning district on the south side of Bainbridge Road.

At the third and final public workshop last month, consultants for Shaker Heights presented a preferred redevelopment alternative for the 60 acre Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district. The plans (PDF) call for turning the six-way intersection into a four-way intersection, rebuilding the area as a mixed-use district, and relocating the intermodal transit center to a site south of Chagrin Boulevard.

The Coral Co.'s plans for the mixed-use Central Parc development in Solon include building a new four-lane public road. The City hired hired Wells + Associates to conduct a comprehensive traffic study. Planning Director Rob Frankland also suggested three options for providing "a smooth land use transition from the commercial-office portions of the proposed Coral project to the existing single-family residential subdivisions".

Solon officials would like the firm of Wells + Associates to update the City's traffic plan to reflect the impacts of the proposed Central Parc development. The Coral Co. agreed to pay for part of the traffic study.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Strickland administration's decision to delay or scuttle the West Shoreway reconstruction project "shows a stunning insensitivity to this community's needs."

A Plain Dealer editorial asserts that state and local officials must not let the Ohio Department of Transportation abandon the plans to reconstruct the West Shoreway.

At a public workshop last month, planners presented four visions for reconfiguring the commercial district and six-way intersection at Warrensville Center Road and Van Aken Boulevard in Shaker Heights. The City and its partners then selected two ideas for further study. In five to ten years, the City hopes to begin transforming the area into a mixed-use TOD destination. Another workshop will be held on February 27.

Officials with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the City of Cleveland continue to disagree about implementing the stalled plans to reconstruct the West Shoreway. The bones of contention include speed limit changes, traffic congestion projections, and funding. Andy Guy identified similar disputes in other Great Lakes cities.

Yesterday, Avon City Council approved a tax increment financing package for the area along Chester Road between Center and Nagel Roads. Revenues from the 30-year TIF will be used to pay for roughly ⅓ of the planned Nagel Road interchange. Another third will be funded by municipal bonds, and the final third by the Jacobs Group.

Tuesday's Plain Dealer pointed out air quality concerns about the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon that was approved in October. Greater Cleveland must reduce air pollution to meet federal standards, and some are concerned that continued urban sprawl will create more problems.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said that the stalled West Shoreway redesign is one of his highest priorities. Construction has been delayed by several problems, including rising price estimates and a controversy about the design of its western end.

Update: Saturday's Plain Dealer has more details.

Because the Innerbelt Bridge is deteriorating faster than anticipated, the Ohio Department of Transportation has revised its construction plans. Instead of building a parallel bridge and then repairing the existing bridge, ODOT officials want to reverse the order. Rehabilitation of the bridge is scheduled to begin in March 2010.

Construction of the Crocker-Stearns connector in North Olmsted and Westlake is stopping for the winter.

The City of Cleveland will extended West 122nd Street to Berea Road in order to provide a route for truck traffic to the Elmwood Avenue industrial area. Their old route was closed due to the construction of Target and Giant Eagle stores on West 117th Street.

As Solon's December 17 deadline approaches for selecting one of the two competing proposals for mixed-use developments, one council member feels that the process is moving too quickly. A traffic study showed that both plans will require significant road improvements (corrections), including a possible redesign of the Route 422 interchange (though it may not be necessary) and a potential widening of Aurora Road (though City officials say they have no plans to do so). Preliminary results of a stormwater analysis show that either development would require $5 million to $8.5 million in sanitary sewer improvements. Legislation was introduced in City Council to create a mixed-use zoning classification.

Peter Rubin revealed more details about his proposed Central Parc development, which could include a 22.8 acre property on Solon Road currently owned by University Hospitals. He also plans to buy and renovate Solar Shopping Center. Meanwhile, the Solon Board of Education is concerned that a TIF package for either development could harm the district's finances, and the City's finance director said that the income tax projections for both projects are overstated.

When the section of the Euclid Corridor between East 17th and East 55th Streets opens on Monday, drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and transit users will have to learn new traffic patterns.

(Update: a Plain Dealer graphic illustrates the changes.)

At a public forum in Midtown yesterday, Euclid Avenue business owners and patrons expressed their concerns and frustrations about Euclid Corridor Project construction. The segment from East 17th Street to East 55th Street is slated to open on November 26.

AMATS published its 2030 Future Highway Congestion Study (PDF, 20.9 MB), which features traffic projections through 2030. It anticipates that traffic congestion in the Akron area will increase, but at a slower rate than the national average.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that "a broad consensus of political, civic and business leaders now agrees that the exit ramp to Carnegie Avenue from Interstate 90 should remain open" and that Greater Cleveland Partnership "is preparing a case to take to the Federal Highway Administration."

Completion of the North Olmsted portion of the Crocker-Stearns connector has been pushed back from late 2007 to spring 2008.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that ODOT is signaling that it would like to divert funding away from the proposed Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland, and that local leaders need to "tell the Strickland administration that this idea has too much potential to brush aside."

The NOACA Governing Board passed a resolution (PDF) approving the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, contingent upon the establishment of a revenue sharing plan. Prospective membership in the joint economic development zone was expanded to include eight Lorain County communities. Cleveland officials called the agreement "a giant step toward regional cooperation," but others feel that it may lead to NOACA's demise.

(Update: The Morning Journal and Plain Dealer have more details.)

Avon leaders offered a compromise agreement intended to end the controversy over the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. In exchange for approving the interchange, an 800 acre joint economic development zone in Avon would be created by Avon, Cleveland, and six western Cuyahoga County suburbs. Under the proposal, if a company with a payroll of more than $1 million were to move from one of the member cities to the Avon development zone, the two cities would evenly split its income tax revenue for five years. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the "region needs a coherent development strategy."

(Update: The Plain Dealer and Chronicle-Telegram report that officials are close to reaching a deal.)

The NOACA Governing Board is scheduled to vote on Friday on the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, and Cleveland officials requested a weighted vote. Cleveland and Cuyahoga County leaders say they will vote to disapprove the interchange unless a revenue sharing plan "that addresses the negative economic impacts on surrounding communities" is implemented. Two Lorain County commissioners responded by threatening to withdraw from NOACA.

Frank Jackson said that he's "not trying to pick a fight" over the interchange, but Plain Dealer columnist Kevin O'Brien and a Morning Journal editorial disagree with the tactics of Cuyahoga County leaders. Critics of NOACA say that the agency has not done enough to promote regional planning efforts.

Strongsville City Council dropped plans to extend Marks Road between Royalton Road and Albion Road. Mayor Perciak said that if the City "opened up Marks Road, it would become the Medina Highway."

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove again asserted that the Clinic intends to build a facility in Avon, regardless of whether the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road is approved.

WCPN reported on the continuing controversy over the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, and devoted yesterday's Sound of Ideas program to a discussion of the issue, asking, "Are we coming together as a region, or are we still tied to parochial interests?" Also yesterday, Elyria City Council declined to vote on a resolution opposing the interchange.

The unstable slopes of Irishtown Bend in Cleveland forced the closure of Riverbed Street in 2005 and threaten to collapse an aging 60 inch sewer pipe. Rick Switalski, manager of sewer design for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, says that "Failure is imminent, and we have to do something right away."

In an apparent effort get the delayed project started, the planned reconstruction and calming of the West Shoreway has been divided into two phases. Rising prices have created a $15 million funding shortfall for the first phase.

On Monday, several Cleveland Heights councilmembers spoke out against the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon.

A Morning Journal editorial says that fighting the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon is "the worst thing Elyria City Council could do for their town's future."

After skipping a year, the Texas Transportation Institute published its Urban Mobility Report for 2007. As in previous years, Cleveland fared very well in the report. Traffic congestion worsened nationwide, and Cleveland's annual delay per traveler rose from 10 hours to 13 hours, well below the national average of 38 hours.

Geauga County's Amish residents object to a proposed road widening in Middlefield Township because they want to preserve the area's rural character. A Plain Dealer editorial says, "It's not going to be a simple task for Geauga County to balance its efforts to promote industry and its obligation to protect the rights of Amish people to live as they wish."

At the request of the City of Avon, the NOACA Governing Board postponed a vote on the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road until October 12. On Friday, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove spoke in support of the interchange, while Elyria Mayor Bill Grace stated his opposition. The City of Cleveland submitted a written response (MS Word) to the final economic assessment (PDF, 14 MB) prepared by consultants. Elyria City Council, meanwhile, will consider a resolution opposing the interchange at its October 1 meeting.

Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta expects that the proposed soccer stadium complex will not be built in the near future. He also wants to conduct an economic development study for the Route 8 corridor.

(Update: The News-Leader has more details.)

Traffic consultants suggested rebuilding the I-480 interchange at Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn as a diverging diamond design. The only diverging diamond interchange in the world is in Versialles, France, though one is under construction in Kansas City. A stakeholders meeting will be held next month.

Officials from North Olmsted and Westlake report that construction of the Crocker-Stearns connector is on schedule for its planned September 2009 completion.

Shaker Heights City Council hired The Planning Partnership of Toronto to conduct traffic study along with a land use and implementation plan for the intersection of Van Aken Boulevard and Warrensville Road. A public meeting is tentatively scheduled for next month.

The Plain Dealer examined the history and the myths surrounding several streets across Greater Cleveland with unusual names.

This week's West Shore Sun and West Life News summarize the vigorous debate over the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon.

At a public forum in Elyria last night, consultants for NOACA presented preliminary results of their impact analysis of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. They said that the interchange (PDF) would benefit Avon and have no material impacts on surrounding areas. Officials from Cuyahoga County communities disagreed, and said that it would hasten urban sprawl. A Morning Journal editorial again portrayed Cuyahoga County leaders as obstructionists.

NOACA's Transportation Advisory Committee approved the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon by a vote of 19-11. The economic impact assessment for the controversial proposal should be completed by September 7, and the agency's Governing Board is scheduled to vote on September 14.

The Ohio Department of Transportation intends to proceed with plans for the Innerbelt redesign that do not include the exit at Carnegie Avenue desired by Cleveland businesses. ODOT will submit a plan to federal highway officials in about a week.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials say that Cleveland's delay in making a decision about the future of the controversial ramps at the west end of the West Shoreway is raising the cost of redesign. Cleveland officials contend that ODOT has provided confusing and conflicting information about construction costs and traffic estimates.

On Monday, the Greater Cleveland Partnership dropped its advocacy for the Innerbelt exit at Carnegie Avenue. The Ohio Department of Transportation wants to close the exit as part of its planned Innerbelt redesign, while downtown businesses want it to remain open.

Steven Litt says that ODOT's Innerbelt plans are "shaping up as a colossal disappointment", and that the biggest immediate problem is that the plan to cap a section of the downtown highway "hasn't received enough business and political support to convince ODOT to explore it seriously."

The Plain Dealer examined the promise, problems, plans, and schedule for the ongoing construction of the Euclid Corridor project, which is roughly two-thirds complete.

On Friday, NOACA consultants presented a progress report (PDF) on the economic impact assessment for the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. The Cleveland Clinic announced their support of the controversial interchange, and unveiled plans for a nearby 170,000 square foot facility. NOACA will hold a public meeting about the interchange on August 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Spitzer Conference Center in Elyria, and approval of the proposal is on the August 17th agenda of the NOACA Transportation Advisory Committee.

RTA officials say that the Euclid Corridor project is on time and budget. Construction is roughly halfway finished and should be completed in October or November 2008. The first bus station was finished in June.

Terry Schwarz of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative says that the proposal to cap the Innerbelt in Cleveland is "extremely improbable and potentially counterproductive" due to high costs and a lack of real estate demand.

The Quadrangle unveiled plans for capping a 10 block portion of the Cleveland Innerbelt. Architect Robert Maschke says that the cap would create nearly 23 acres of surface area which could support buildings as tall as 25 stories.

NOACA posted video of the speakers at their 2007 Summit at YouTube. The speakers at the June event were Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, lobbyist Virginia Ainslie, NEORSD Executive Director Erwin Odeal, and ODOT District 12 Deputy Director Bonnie Teeuwen.

John Cole, the editor of the Morning Journal, is unhappy that NOACA is conducting an analysis (PDF, 38 MB) of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, saying, "The deliberate sand-bagging of legitimate Lorain County projects in the name of urban sprawl or noise pollution or whatever fabricated nonsense by the assorted mayors and commissioners of Cuyahoga County is reprehensible."

Zaremba, Inc. reports that the City of Cleveland approved plans for the streetscape project along East 12th Street in downtown Cleveland near the Avenue District. The $7 million project is expected to take three years to complete.

(Update: the Sun Herald has more details.)

As expected, Westlake City Council accepted a state grant for the widening of Columbia Road between Hilliard Boulevard and Center Ridge Road from two to four lanes.

The City of Strongsville did not receive a requested state grant to extend Foltz Industrial Parkway in the Strongsville Business Park, and City officials plan to apply for a $4 million Ohio Job Ready Sites grant next year.

The City of Shaker Heights will install a pair of mid-block curb extensions on Avalon Road. The construction will be funded by donations from residents.

North Olmsted officials say that the Ohio Department of Transportation will install new sound barriers along I-480 in spring 2008. The City will hold a public meeting about the barriers on August 15 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Community Cabin at North Olmsted Park.

The Sun has additional reactions from public officials about the status report on the potential impacts of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon.

The planned redesigns of the Cleveland Innerbelt and West Shoreway are on indefinite hold while leaders attempt to reach consensus on some of the more contentious elements in the plans. Steven Litt presents the details and offers commentary in his new weblog.

The Westlake Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposed widening of Columbia Road between Hilliard Boulevard and Center Ridge Road from two lanes to four lanes. City Council is also expected to approve the project, despite objections from some residents.

Consultants presented preliminary results of the economic impact study for the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. If the interchange is built, they anticipate significant land use changes in the surrounding area, including up to 110 acres of new retail development. Avon officials disagree with the findings. The full study is scheduled to be completed in September.

(Update: Cuyahoga County officials are concerned that the interchange could exacerbate urban sprawl.)

The City of Maple Heights and Norfolk Southern reached a court-mediated settlement regarding the expansion of the intermodal terminal south of Broadway Avenue. The railroad will pay the City at least $70,000 in lieu of permit fees, pay for the majority of infrastructure improvements, and add landscaping.

The Euclid Avenue traffic circles at East 89th and East 100th Streets proposed by the Cleveland Clinic will not be built because of their projected negative impacts on traffic flow.

The US Census Bureau reports that the percentage of commuters driving alone has increased slightly since 2000. Half of the top ten cities in the nation for solo driving are in Ohio, with Canton at number one and Akron at number three. WKSU's Daniel Hockensmith interviewed AMATS transportation planner Jason Segedy about the report.

(Update: Another WKSU story has more details.)

The Ohio Department of Transportation will permanently close the I-90 entrance ramp at St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland on June 21 because of safety concerns and low traffic volumes.

The replacement of a severely deteriorated sewer line under Euclid Avenue between Public Square and East 4th Street will add three to four months of construction to the Euclid Corridor project. RTA officials say that the additional construction should not affect the Silver Line's scheduled December 2008 start date.

The transportation budget passed by Ohio legislators includes $500,000 over the next two years for an Ohio Turnpike Commission study and pilot program on reducing traffic noise. Local officials credited the four-city "Working Together to Make a Difference" group with drawing attention to the issue.

Demolition teams were only able to implode two of the six arches of the Fulton Road Bridge on Saturday. It took three attempts to implode the sections of the 75 year old Cleveland bridge. Workers blamed a faulty charge line, and ODOT is working to schedule a time when the implosion can be completed. Cleveland.com presents video, a time-lapse animation, and a photo gallery. Channel 3 and Channel 5 also covered the event.

(Update: the incomplete implosion will not cost taxpayers additional money. Crews will attempt to bring down the rest of the bridge at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday)

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt offers some suggestions for addressing the controversies raised by ODOT's $1.5 billion plans for the reconstruction of Cleveland's Innerbelt. He notes that while the window for making dramatic revisions is brief, there is still time to reexamine maintaining traffic at ramps that ODOT proposes closing, to reanalyze the southern bridge alignment, and to consider capping large sections of the trench.

The partially demolished Fulton Road Bridge in Cleveland will be imploded on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. Spectators can watch the blast from Cleveland Metroparks Brookside Reservation football field. The $46.4 million replacement bridge is scheduled to be completed in late 2009.

Christian Menn, the famed Swiss bridge designer hired by ODOT and Michael Baker Corporation in 2005 to consult on the plans for a new Innerbelt Bridge, complained that his input was ignored. He said that the selected design is unattractive and more expensive than necessary, and that he wants nothing more to do with the project.

A Plain Dealer editorial backs the Cleveland City Planning Commission's decision on the plans for the western end of the West Shoreway redesign. "The planning commission - which is supposed to consider what is right for the entire city, not a sliver of it - was right to endorse the original vision."

Supporters of the two options for redesigning the western end of the West Shoreway in Cleveland continue to disagree about the plans. Councilman Jay Westbrook described the situation as a standoff, and ODOT does not intend to reconvene its Lakefront West Subcommittee until City officials obtain consensus.

The Ohio Historic Preservation Office completed its review of five structures (PDF) listed for demolition by ODOT for the Innerbelt reconstruction project, and found that four of them are eligible for inclusion in the National Register for Historic Places.

Of the two alternatives for the western end of the West Shoreway redesign, the Cleveland City Planning Commission endorsed the plan that was not the preferred option of neighborhood stakeholders. The alternative adopted by the Planning Commission includes fewer ramps and provides more greenspace for enlarging Edgewater Park.

Yesterday, the Ohio Senate unanimously approved Governor Strickland's $7.8 billion two year transportation bill, without the controversial earmarks inserted by the Ohio House. The Ohio House later agreed to support the Senate version of the bill.

The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to demolish at least five notable buildings in downtown Cleveland as part of their Innerbelt reconstruction project. The Ohio Historic Preservation Office is reviewing the buildings for possible inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. If the structures are deemed eligible, ODOT could still raze them if they can prove that there are no reasonable alternatives.

Stakeholders at a West Shoreway meeting (PDF) last week identified a preferred option for the layout of the ramp near West Boulevard, Lake Avenue, and Clifton Boulevard. The proposal, which would add 3.4 acres to Edgewater Park, will be presented to the Cleveland Planning Commission this week.

Preliminary work is currently underway on installing noise barriers along I-71 in Cleveland's west side. About five miles of noise abatement walls will be built. The $5.9 million project is now scheduled to be completed in October.

As part of the reconstruction and repaving of Lake Road in Bay Village, Rocky River, and Lakewood, ODOT will incorporate some recommendations that have been gathered through traffic studies and area stakeholder outreach, including traffic calming, streetscaping, and pedestrian amenities.

On Monday, Bay Village City Council passed a resolution of support for the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon.

(Update: the Sun Herald has more details.)

University Circle Incorporated will hold a public meeting on March 29 at 6:30 p.m. in Judson Manor to discuss implementing the recommendations of the MLK Corridor Urban Design Study (PDF) and reconfiguring the traffic circle at MLK Drive and East 105th Street.

The Ohio House approved Governor Strickland's $7.8 billion two year transportation budget, but made several changes, including earmarking revenues from the Commercial Activities Tax on gasoline sales for highway projects, and eliminating Strickland's proposal to prioritize road projects that promote economic development. The bill now moves to the Ohio Senate. Strickland vowed to use a line-item veto on the tax provision. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that House Republicans are trying to curry favor with the transportation industry.

On Friday, the NOACA Governing Board approved an RFP for an economic impact study of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. The study will investigate the interchange's effects on employment and wages, tax base, and public services.

NOACA staff will present plans for their study of the I-90 interchange proposal to the NOACA Governing Board for approval or modification this month. Traffic engineering consultants for the City of Avon say that traffic projections predict levels of service of D, E, and F by 2030 if the Nagel Road interchange is not built, and a level of service C if it is constructed.

Three cities may work together to upgrade traffic signals along an 11 mile stretch of Pearl Road. Middleburg Heights and Strongsville have approved the project, but Parma Heights is worried about funding its $42,000 portion of the project. 80% of the $1.9 million project was funded by federal CMAQ dollars.

Plain Dealer columnist Kevin O'Brien asserts that NOACA should allow construction of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, because a refusal would impinge on the rights of individuals to choose where they will live. If the interchange is rejected, "sprawl will continue along whatever turns out to be the path of least resistance, because sprawl offers choices that make people happy."

WCPN interviewed ODOT Director James Beasley (MP3) yesterday, which was his first day in his new position. The interview begins 3:52 into the podcast.

In an editorial, the Plain Dealer expresses concern that new ODOT director James Beasley may have an anti-urban bias, and urges Greater Cleveland leaders to "make a forceful case for Northeast Ohio's road projects."

The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have begun planning for the replacement of the Columbus Road Bridge in the Flats. The lift bridge was built in 1940, and will be replaced in 2011 with a movable bridge of undecided design. Plans for the replacement bridge are expected to take three years to complete.

With work on the Crocker-Stearns connector due to begin on March 1, the City of North Olmsted held a public meeting on Monday at which the Kent State Urban Design Center presented several development scenarios for the corridor and sought input from residents.

Maple Heights officials want Norfolk Southern to use the Greenhurst Road Extension for additional truck traffic instead of opening a new entrance on Broadway Avenue, which the railroad is planning as part of their intermodal terminal expansion. The City has filed a suit in federal court, asking the court to effectively serve as a planning commission.

Some Lorain County politicians, including Avon Mayor Jim Smith, continue to strongly object to NOACA conducting a study of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. Other Lorain County leaders want the study completed within 60 days, but NOACA indicated that the study would likely be finished in the second quarter of 2007. John Kahl, the CEO of Henkel Consumer Adhesives in Avon, supports the construction of the interchange, while others contend that it would be a step back for regionalism in Northeast Ohio.

The Cleveland Clinic re-introduced plans for modifications to Euclid Avenue. Instead of closing the street to automotive traffic as they initially proposed, their compromise proposal calls for adding traffic circles at East 89th and East 100th Streets and reducing traffic to one lane in each direction, with the Silver Line BRT in the median.

Governor Strickland says that the 2008-2013 transportation construction plan approved by the ODOT Transportation Review Advisory Council would result in a $1.2 billion deficit by 2014. He directed the TRAC and incoming ODOT Director James Beasley to review the list of major new projects.

As part of the Fulton Road Bridge replacement project, the closed John Nagy Boulevard will be replaced by a $1.2 million multipurpose trail. The trail near near the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will connect to existing trails in Brookside Park and eventually to the Towpath Trail, once the Big Creek Connector is constructed.

Mayor Smith of Avon is upset that the NOACA board elected to study the proposed I-90 interchange at Lear Road and that he was not invited to a meeting to discuss the parameters of the study. A Lorain Morning Journal editorial accuses NOACA leadership of being obstructionist.

A lack of funding may delay or prevent the construction of a planned Route 8 access road in northern Summit County.

Ted Strickland selected James Beasley as the new director of the Ohio Department of Transportation. Beasley has been the Brown County Engineer since 1980, and will assume his new role on March 5. Engineer Bonnie Teeuwen is the new deputy director of ODOT District 12.

On Friday, the NOACA Governing Board unanimously voted to study the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. NOACA staff will evaluate how the interchange could affect future development in the region before a vote is held on its approval. Some Lorain County leaders were unhappy with the decision.

The conversion of State Route 8 (Windows Media, 42.3 MB) in northern Summit County to a limited-access freeway is scheduled to begin next month. The $111.2 million phase one will cover work between Twinsburg Road and I-271 and includes the construction of five new bridges, the widening of six existing bridges, and a new interchange at I-271.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges NOACA to carefully study the potential ramifications of the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. Meanwhile, Westlake is considering a proposal to vacate a mile-long section of nearby Avon Road to create room for additional development.

Construction of the Crocker-Stearns extension project in North Olmsted and Westlake will start next month, and site preparation began this week. The $13.29 million project is scheduled to be completed in September 2009.

Cleveland residents at last night's West Shoreway meeting expressed a desire to maintain the five-way intersection at West Boulevard and Lake Avenue. An Ohio Department of Transportation advisory committee will review the ramp options and will make a recommendation.

Steelyard Drive in Cleveland opened to traffic yesterday. The first store at Steelyard Commons, a Home Depot, will hold its grand opening on Wednesday.

At the last of four public meetings, Turnpike officials, local leaders, and residents discussed the noise, flooding, and pollution generated by the Ohio Turnpike. Turnpike officials pledged to meet with community leaders within two months to discuss possible solutions.

At this evening's West Shoreway public meeting, Ohio Department of Transportation officials and west side Cleveland residents will discuss the disputed plans for the ramps at Lake Avenue and Clifton Boulevard.

Frank Jackson unveiled his redevelopment priorities at a press conference yesterday, where he released a Strategy for Development and Revitalization and a $1.6 billion capital improvement plan. The documents identify specific recommendations for each of Cleveland's 36 neighborhoods, including rehabilitating or demolishing abandoned houses, adding bicycle lanes, building a pedestrian bridge at North Coast Harbor, and reconfiguring the traffic circle at East 105th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The entire Strategy (PDF, 10.8 MB), an executive summary (PDF), and the Capital Projects Database (PDF) are posted at the City's website. Audio (MP3) and video of the press conference are available.

On Friday, ODOT Innerbelt Project Manager Craig Hebebrand presented Innerbelt planning updates to the Cleveland City Planning Commission. Some members offered support for a proposed bicycle/pedestrian lane on the Innerbelt Bridge, but the Commission did not vote on the issue. ODOT will hold a public open house on Thursday, February 1, from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Tremont.

The West Third Street Lift Bridge in the Flats was reopened to traffic yesterday, but will be closed for another three months once the weather is warm enough for painting.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will host a public meeting (PDF) where Cudell and Edgewater residents can discuss design options associated with the planned West Shoreway redesign. It will be held at St. Thomas Evangelical Lutheran Church on January 25 starting at 5:00.

In this week's Free Times, Michael Gill examines the efforts to get ODOT to consider a bicycle lane for their planned new Innerbelt Bridge. ODOT officials have not been receptive to the proposal. Meanwhile, a Plain Dealer editorial urges ODOT to be more flexible in their Innerbelt planning and calls for a brief cooling off period.

Yesterday marked the launch of OhioRideshare, a website dedicated to connecting commuters with potential carpool partners (PDF). The site serves 13 Northeast Ohio counties and is a joint project of NOACA, AMATS, and the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.

Cleveland City Council members sparred with ODOT Innerbelt Project Manager Craig Hebebrand in a 2½ hour public hearing on Wednesday. ODOT remains firm in their plans to close entrance ramps, despite statements from businesses that the closures would force them to move. It is not known if the changes in ODOT leadership will affect the plans. ODOT officials will meet with the Cleveland City Planning Commission next week and will hold a public meeting in Tremont on February 1.

Amidst calls for reform of the Ohio Department of Transportation, Governor Strickland will replace all 12 district directors who served under the Taft administration, including District 12 Director David Coyle. ODOT Director Gordon Proctor also resigned.

Businesses in Midtown Cleveland are mounting "an 11th-hour push" in their efforts to get the Ohio Department of Transportation to modify their plans for the Innerbelt trench. Business leaders maintain that closing exits would create "serious problems", while ODOT officials assert that they must be closed to improve safety. This morning's edition of The Sound of Ideas on WCPN discussed the controversy with Tom Bier of CSU, Tom Breckenridge of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman, Jim Haviland of MidTown Cleveland, and Craig Hebebrand of ODOT.

ODOT also announced that the price of their Innerbelt Bridge design has risen to $393 million from an earlier estimate of $334 million.

Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced (PDF) that it intends to build a single tower cable stay bridge parallel to the existing Innerbelt Bridge to carry westbound Innerbelt traffic.

(via Cleveland vs. The World)

The Plain Dealer examined how the Ohio Department of Transportation is spending the funds raised by the gas tax increase of 2003, and looked back at how the tax was approved and the agency's relationship with contractors. A 2005 three part series in the Toledo Blade explored concerns that a pay-to-play culture exists within ODOT.

The West Third Street Lift Bridge in Cleveland, originally scheduled to reopen in June, will likely be open to traffic next week.

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