Cedar-Fairmount study committee: City seeks public input

The city of Cleveland Heights has formed a steering committee of residents, business owners and other stakeholders in the Cedar-Fairmount neighborhood to guide a planning process for transportation in the Cedar-Fairmount commercial district. The city has retained City Architecture, an architectural firm known for its streetscape plans in urban environments, and Michael Baker, Jr. Inc., an engineering and consulting firm, to assess existing conditions and evaluate opportunities to enhance the district.

“By improving the presence and access to public transportation and making it safer to cycle, Cedar-Fairmount can become a true multi-modal neighborhood that has many strong connections to its surrounding context,” says Alex Pesta of City Architecture. “Celebrating the walkability of the district will only be further enhanced by improving the district's connectivity within the city and region.”

Funding for the study is provided by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) through its Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative, which helps existing communities in Northeast Ohio obtain federal funding and technical assistance for planning transportation projects that strengthen community livability. The Cedar-Fairmount project exemplifies many of the criteria of the program: to enhance the economic viability of established retailers, improve quality of life for visitors and residents, assist in the redevelopment of urban core communities and improve the safety and efficiency of existing infrastructure.

The steering committee’s goals are to facilitate community input, set priorities for the district and provide recommendations for the development of a transportation and streetscape plan that would support these priorities. The plan will address calming of vehicular traffic, parking, pedestrian and bicycle access and safety, public transit, economic vitality, creating a sense of place, and creating a vibrant and sustainable mixed-use environment for residents, visitors and businesses. The study will take into consideration potential development of the “Top of the Hill,” a 3.5 acre parcel located where Cedar Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard merge to form Cedar Hill. The land currently is used for surface parking and open space.

The committee held its first meeting on Thursday, May 22, in council chambers at city hall and will meet periodically over the next eight months. Business owners, residents, and representatives from the Cedar-Fairmount Special Improvement District and FutureHeights make up the committee. Representatives from NOACA, Case Western Reserve University, the Ohio Department of Transportation and University Circle Inc. also attended.

The first of three public meetings is scheduled for Thursday, June 5, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cleveland Heights Community Center, corner of Mayfield Road and Monticello Boulevard. All residents are encouraged to attend. The city plans to film each of the public meetings for airing on Channel 23.

All community stakeholders are encouraged to give input by completing a survey, which is available online at http://www.clevelandheights.com/whatsnew.asp?id=530. For more information, contact the city of Cleveland Heights at 291-4845.

Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and a resident of Cedar-Fairmount.

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Volume 1, Issue 3, Posted 10:20 PM, 05.23.2008