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Plans presented for major work on Clark Avenue

(Plain Press, May 2016) Residents attending an April 20th meeting at Clark Recreation Center learned of plans to rehabilitate Clark Avenue from Lorain Avenue (W. 90th and Clark) eastward to W. 41st. Plans designed by the firm Arcadis Design & Consultancy call for the 8-million-dollar rehabilitation project to be divided into four segments.

The work will start with the replacement of waterlines in each of four segments followed by work on the street, sidewalk repair, new traffic signals, lighting improvements and marked crosswalks and pedestrian crossing signs. The work will also involve some tree trimming and replacement, requests to utility companies to remove unnecessary poles, and for Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to review their bus stop locations. Project designers also hope to fix catch basins and eliminate some spots where water now accumulates on the street.

The first segment of the project from Lorain Avenue to W. 65th Street will feature parking on the south side of the street with one lane of traffic in each direction. Bicycles and motorized vehicles will share the traffic lanes.

The second segment from W. 65th to W 56th will feature bicycle lanes on both sides of the street and one lane of traffic in each direction in the center of the street. There will be no on-street parking.

The third segment from W. 56 to W. 51st will feature a bicycle lane on the north side of the street, a lane for parking on the south side of the street, and one lane in each direction in the center for motorized vehicle traffic.

The fourth segment from W. 51st to W. 41st has two possible designs. The first involves parking lanes on both the north and south side of the street with traffic lanes in the middle shared by bicycles and motor vehicles. The second scenario involves a bike lane on the north side with wider traffic lanes, and a shared bike and traffic lane and a parking lane on the south side. City of Cleveland Traffic Engineer Andy Cross said that he is monitoring parking use on Clark to see if the parking lane on the north side would work. He said, “We don’t want to provide parking lanes on the north side that are not used.” He noted that unused lanes usually fill with traffic.

Craig Hebebrand, Senior Project Manager at Arcadis, said the waterline for the segment of Clark Avenue from Lorain to W. 65th would be installed in the first half of 2017. The work on the roadway for that section will follow in the second half of 2017. The water line from W. 65th to W. 41st would be installed in the second half of 2017, followed by roadwork on that segment in the first half of 2018.

Several residents at the meeting complained about traffic backups on Denison since the restriping of the street to include bicycle lanes. Cleveland Traffic Engineer Cross said there is a huge difference between Denison and Clark. Cross said that on Denison, “There was no funding for a signal system.” He said on Clark Avenue, new signal systems will be installed with buttons to push for pedestrians to cross Clark Avenue. There will be sensors on side streets to stop traffic on Clark so cars can make a left hand turn. Cross said that this would allow for much more “green” signal time on Clark Avenue – allowing traffic to flow more smoothly.

Cross also said the completed street would be safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles. He noted that there will be striped no parking areas by intersections and cars will turn from the through traffic lane. He said there would be some delay when cars make a left hand turn, but not like Denison.

There were some concerns expressed about how plans for the new Clark School would mesh with the repaving of the street. City officials said the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in their experience has been very cooperative when asked. They expect the plans to include a pull off lane north of the bike lane in the segment in front of the school. The expectation is that the distance between the pull off lane and the bike lane will be wide enough not to interfere with cyclists when cars open their doors.

Patti Choby, a consultant for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) in attendance at the meeting, expressed support of the CMSD for city engineer’s efforts to calm traffic along Clark Avenue. After the meeting she also offered an update on plans for the new Clark School. Choby said Clark students are scheduled to move to the current site of H. Barbara Booker in August of 2018. The new Clark School is scheduled for completion and for opening by August of 2020.

Residents also learned about timelines for several related projects. City officials said that repaving of W. 73rd from Denison to I-90 is scheduled for this year. Repairs on the W. 53rd Street, bridge are expected to happen sometime this summer. Ward 14 Councilman Brian Cummins said the remainder of Clark Avenue from W. 41st east is in the city’s five-year plan, but no date has been set for when work will begin.

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