From The Master Plan - Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation
Multi-modal transportation that is effective and accessible is of utmost importance to the overall health of a community, especially those as economically and culturally diverse as Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre. Transportation infrastructure includes roads and highways, signaling networks, bike and pedestrian ways, and mass transit.
The area has many transportation amenities: easy access to a number of highways including I-71, I-77, I-480 and St. Rte 176, making it a desirable location for both residential commuters and businesses; good mass transit accessibility, with GCRTA bus routes along all major and commercial streets in the neighborhoods; and a new Fulton Road Bridge, which will increase access to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Brookside Reservation and the commercial businesses located at Memphis and Fulton. Furthermore, the dense grid-street design in both Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre is walkable and bikeable in most places, an asset that alleviates air pollution and vehicle congestion, and is beneficial to residents’ health and their pocket books.
However, several challenges exist in the neighborhoods’ transportation system, including declining pedestrian and cyclist safety on some streets; poor timing of traffic lights; speeders through the Old Brooklyn Downtown area; and obstructions in pedestrian walkways including utility poles and snow piles during the winter. The advisory committee identified three goals to address these challenges and increase the ease and safety while promoting multiple modes of transit.
Goal 24: Design streets with all users in mind: pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and drivers.
During the summer of 2008, Americans responded to skyrocketing gasoline prices by trying to move away from car transportation. Yet attempts to find other modes of transportation are challenged by inadequate sidewalks and bikeways.
According to the 2000 Census, 22% of Brooklyn Centre households and 13.4% of Old Brooklyn households had no vehicles, requiring these residents to rely on other modes of transportation.
The goal of the Pearl Road/W 25th Street TLCI Corridor Plan was to identify right-of-way enhancements for Pearl Road that will promote walking, biking, and transit ridership and which will ultimately attract residents and businesses, promote economic development and improve the overall quality of life in the neighborhoods.
Install streetscape improvements along Pearl Road.
The TLCI Pearl Road Corridor Plan includes a number of streetscape improvement recommendations for various areas along the Pearl Road Corridor.
Enhance the pedestrian and bicycling environment on the Brooklyn-Brighton Bridge.
The TLCI Pearl Road Corridor Plan includes recommendations for increasing sidewalk width and bike transportation on the Brooklyn-Brighton Bridge so that the bridge becomes a pleasant connection between the two neighborhoods instead of a divider. Some of these recommendations can be implemented in a temporary manner using planters and restriping the pavement so that new lane widths can be experimented with in the short-term.
Enhance the transit-waiting environment throughout the neighborhoods.
The TLCI Pearl Road Corridor Plan includes recommendations for improving the transit waiting environments along Pearl Road.
Create connections to area amenities for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The city of Cleveland has adopted a Bikeway Master Plan which identifies locations for neighborhood connectors. The NOACA 2008 Bike Plan includes a list of funding sources.
Establish on-street bike lanes/sharrows according to Cleveland Bike Master Plan.
Continue to research the best, most acceptable way in which to incorporate bike lanes along Pearl Road, taking into consideration the recommendations of the TLCI Pearl Road Corridor Plan. Where feasible on other streets, establish on-street bike lanes or “sharrows,” which are lanes marked with an arrow indicating that the lane is shared by cyclists and motorists.
Goal 25: Make streets safer for all travelers.
Making streets safer, functionally and physically, is a quality-of-life issue that in many instances can be addressed through thoughtful design and conscientious attention to maintenance. In the functional sense, safer streets can be attained through improvements such as suitable sidewalk and pavement surface conditions to avoid pedestrian accidents or damage to vehicles; better lighting so that pedestrians and drivers can see each other; and safer crosswalks that employ a host of devices to keep pedestrians out of harm's way.
The sense of being physically safe from crime and vandalism can also be enhanced through improvements to the built environment such as the addition of more streetlights as a deterrent to crime, the use of vandal-proof materials to reduce property damage, and the thoughtful choice and placement of landscaping to ensure good visibility.
Maintain, restore, and enhance the condition of the sidewalks and streets.
Broken and uneven sidewalks, streets filled with potholes, defective storm drains, failed street repairs, and other conditions are hazardous to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. In addition, these conditions portray a negative image of the neighborhood to visitors and residents alike.
Conduct a detailed inventory of existing sidewalk, curb, and pavement conditions and develop a priority list for repair or replacement.
Coordinate efforts with the City of Cleveland, NOACA, and the Ward Council members to implement the repairs. Include the Pearl Road recommendations listed in the TLCI report, such as adding bicycle safety graphics and signage, restriping lane widths over bridges, narrowing the roadway in targeted areas to accommodate bicyclists, and expanding the width of sidewalks in areas where they are too narrow.
Establish Business Improvement Districts
Establish Business Improvement District(s) (BID) along the commercial areas of Pearl Road in Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre. One purpose of a BID can be to provide a financing mechanism to hire staff to remove litter, water plantings, sweep sidewalks, shovel snow, and attend to other maintenance issues.
Maintain and augment street lighting.
The quantity and quality of lighting is important for the safety of pedestrians and motorists, is a crime deterrent, and enhances the aesthetics of a place. Beginning in 2008, Cleveland Public Power (CPP) took responsibility for the maintenance and repair of all street lights in the city of Cleveland.
Continue to upgrade the lamps in all street lights
Continue to upgrade the lamps in all street lights for maximum brightness through coordinated efforts of the City of Cleveland, CPP, and the Ward Council members.
Recruit volunteers from each block group
Recruit volunteers from each block group to regularly inventory street light lamp problems and report them to CPP to repair or replace lamps. The City of Cleveland pays the cost of electricity for street lights, whether the lamps are working or not. Problems can be reported to CPP by calling 216/621-lite or reporting them on-line at www.cpp.org/streetoutage.html.
Installing decorative street lights in commercial areas
Explore the feasibility of, and funding options for, installing decorative street lights in commercial areas along Pearl Road to augment the streetscape enhancements proposed by the TLCI project.
Upgrade traffic lights and explore signalization options.
Work with the City of Cleveland, Department of Public Service, Division of Traffic Engineering to continue to upgrade traffic lights and explore signalization options as a way to improve traffic flow throughout the neighborhoods along major roadways including Pearl, State, Broadview, Brookpark, and Denison Roads and Memphis Avenue.
Install mechanisms at crosswalks to improve pedestrian safety.
Nationwide in 2007, over 4,600 pedestrians were killed and 70,000 were injured in motor vehicle/pedestrian accidents. Additionally, according to a survey conducted by AARP, four in ten pedestrian fatalities occur to persons over the age of 50. These statistics illustrate the importance of installing mechanisms at crosswalks to improve pedestrian safety. Mechanisms, many of which were recommended by the TLCI project, to be considered include:
Curb Extensions are pavement extensions of the sidewalk at crosswalks that reduce pedestrian crossing distances, improve visibility for pedestrians and drivers, prevent illegal parking at corners, and slow the speed of vehicles turning onto the cross street.
Raised Crosswalks bring the roadway up to the level of the sidewalk at the crosswalk, making it safer for pedestrians to cross the street. More prevalent in cities in the northeast, raised crosswalks help reduce speeds by acting as a speed hump, help make crosswalks more visible, and allow pedestrians to walk straight across the street without having to step off the curb into the roadway and then back onto the curb on the other side.
Improved Crosswalk Markings
Improved Crosswalk Markings help increase pedestrian safety by making pedestrian crosswalks more visible to motorists, especially at night and in inclement weather. Designs vary from community to community, ranging from simply repainting the area with parallel stripes to filling the area in a herringbone brick pattern, or stamped, colored concrete.
Countdown Signals are a new type of walk/don’t walk signal that flashes the number of seconds left to cross the street before the light changes. This type of signal is often used at very busy intersections or in places with high concentrations of elderly or children.
Audible Crossing Signals
Audible Crossing Signals emit an audible signal, indicating that it is safe to cross the street. This type of signal is often used in places with high concentrations of elderly or persons with a sight-impairment.
Institute traffic calming measures on streets throughout the neighborhoods.
The objectives of traffic calming are to improve neighborhood livability and pedestrian safety by installing physical features that reduce the average speeds of vehicles on roads. Rather than relying on stop signs, speed limits, or legal penalties to control vehicle speeds, traffic calming measures seek to change the driving conditions on the roadway in such a way that traffic speeds and driver behavior are self-enforced. There are three general ways that this is accomplished:
Narrowing the real or apparent width of a street.
Narrowing the street width can be accomplished through pavement cross-section features, placement of street treatments, and pavement edge treatments.
Deflecting the vehicle path.
Mechanisms such as chicanes, lane offsets, and crossing islands can be used to deflect the vehicle path. Other concepts, such as roundabouts, traffic circles, or curb extensions, have also been used.
Altering the vertical profile of the vehicle path.
Devices such as speed humps and speed tables, raised crosswalks, and textured pavement have been used to slow traffic.
Goal 26: Promote the use of multiple modes of transportation such as public transit to reduce dependency on private automobiles.
Many benefits accrue to a region with a strong public transportation system that is widely used. For individuals, it provides reliable transportation and is an affordable alternative to escalating gas prices. At a regional level, high public transit use translates into improved air quality by reducing total emissions of carbon dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and other pollutants; reduces traffic congestion, by removing cars from the road; and reduces the demand for petroleum resources. For people to use public transportation consistently however, it must be frequent, reliable, and easy to use, and it must get its passengers to their destinations efficiently, safely, and economically.
Other modes of transportation, such as walking and bicycling, have their advantages and their advocates. The one advantage that sets walking and bicycling apart, however, relates to the health and well-being that accrues from the physical activity. The book The 50 Healthiest Places to Live and Retire in the United States attests to the draw of living in communities that promote healthy lifestyles: “We have found that being bicycle-friendly is a more dependable indication of a city's healthfulness than almost any other guideline or statistic.”
Encourage increased walking and cycling within the neighborhoods.
As mentioned, walking and bicycling offer countless benefits, both in terms of improved fitness and health to residents and employees, and the health of the community-at-large in terms of decreased air pollution and less traffic. OBCDC, due to its standing in the community and its ability to communicate information, is in the position to act as a facilitator by bringing together the residents, schools, area businesses and their employees, the medical community, and the proponents of walking, bicycling, and healthy lifestyles to encourage increased walking and bicycling within the neighborhood.
Promote the use of "safe routes to school" and "healthy lifestyle" programs to encourage walking and bicycling.
Two national programs, Safe Routes to School and Steps to a Healthier U.S. promote healthy lifestyles and support ways in which more children and adults can choose to safely engage in physical activity.
The “Safe Routes to School” program is targeted to children in grades K-8. According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, “community leaders, parents, and schools across the U.S. are using the “Safe Routes to School” programs to enable and encourage more children to safely walk and bicycle to school.” The framework for starting this program in a community is, first and foremost, bringing the right people together. As with any grass-roots effort, interested and committed people are needed to develop the community vision, research and plan safe routes to school, document conditions, obtain funding, implement improvements, and mobilize the children and volunteers who will take part in this program.
The City of Cleveland Departments of Public Health, Public Service, and the Cleveland Division of Police are already involved and recently received a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation to enhance the “Cleveland Safe Routes to School” program at three schools in other neighborhoods during the 2008-2009 school year.
Partner with the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, University Hospitals, MetroHealth Medical System, local parents, and others to explore the benefits of bringing this program to the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods.
“Healthy Lifestyle” programs, which focus on health, wellness, and the prevention of disease by addressing health behaviors and risk factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking, have been embraced by schools, communities, workplaces, and health systems across the nation. The City of Cleveland Department of Public Health has been involved in these efforts for some time as well, having received funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement the program “Steps to a Healthier Cleveland”. This program provides information, resources, support, and services to Clevelanders seeking to make healthy lifestyle changes, particularly stressing increased physical activity, healthy eating, and making tobacco-free choices.
Partner with the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, ParkWorks, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Kaiser Permanente, Active Living by Design, MetroHealth Medical System, Ohio State University Extension–Cuyahoga County, City Year Cleveland, EcoCity Cleveland, and the Center for Community Solutions to become more involved in these efforts in the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods.
Provide information on the benefits of using alternative modes of transportation.
There are a wealth of organizations in the Cleveland area that provide information regarding healthy, active living and the benefits of using alternative modes of transportation.
Continue and strengthen partnerships with these organizations, invite representatives to take part in a community speaker series, and promote the organizations’ programs to residents through the OBCDC website, the Old Brooklyn News, the Ward Council member’s newsletters, and by making printed program material available in the brochure racks at the OBCDC office, the libraries, and senior centers.
Partner with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) to promote increased transit ridership.
According to the Census Bureau, 4.7% of the population nationwide uses public transportation to get to work. The percentage of transit use in Old Brooklyn, at 3.9%, is somewhat lower than the national figure, while in Brooklyn Centre, transit use, at 12.8%, is considerably higher. Additionally, 13.4% of all households in Old Brooklyn and 22.0% of all households in Brooklyn Centre do not own a car. These figures are higher than the U.S. as a whole, where 10.3% of all households nationwide do not own cars.
Nearly all residents in the two neighborhoods are within a 10 minute walk of a bus route, making public transportation a viable alternative to automobile use. While many people use public transportation as a convenient and less expensive means to get to work, many segments of the population do not drive at all, including many of the elderly, young people who do not yet have a driver’s license, some persons with disabilities, persons who cannot afford to own a car, or persons who simply choose not to drive. Clearly more residents, employees, and visitors could use public transit to travel to work, school, and medical appointments, go shopping or to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, or visit family and friends than currently do so. Promoting public transit much more widely and looking at ways to improve an already good product may facilitate increased usage.
Provide up-to-date information and products to transit users.
OBCDC could act as a liaison between the GCRTA and neighborhood businesses to sell transit passes at more neighborhood locations, see that current transit schedules for area buses are displayed in public locations and at public institutions (libraries, schools, hospitals), and post links to the GCRTA transit schedules on the OBCDC website.
Support the re-establishment of an Old Brooklyn/Brooklyn Centre circulator bus.
Initiate discussions with area hospitals, libraries, schools, businesses, and residents to determine the level of interest in having a neighborhood circulator bus to serve Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre. Determine potential routes and related details. After reaching a consensus on desired outcomes, submit a joint proposal to the GCRTA requesting consideration for an Old Brooklyn/Brooklyn Centre circulator bus route.