University Heights plans to improve pedestrian and bicycle traffic on busy streets
The City of University Heights plans to improve walking and bicycling along its most traveled roads with planning expertise from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA). The Warrensville Center and Cedar Roads Sidewalk Improvement Project will focus on creating safe, attractive and easy-to-navigate pedestrian and bicycle transportation corridors between Fairmount Circle and Cedar Center on Warrensville Center Road, and between Taylor Road and Fenway Drive on Cedar Road. It is one of the first projects to receive technical assistance from NOACA for this purpose.
Currently, the high traffic volume and speed on Cedar and Warrensville Center roads keep many pedestrians from using the sidewalks along the roadway. No barrier separates the sidewalk from the street, placing pedestrians uncomfortably close to high-speed traffic.
“Many residents say they drive to commercial areas on those streets rather than use the sidewalks—even if they live nearby—because they feel safer in a vehicle than they do on the sidewalks," said Susan Infeld, mayor of University Heights. "One of our main goals is to minimize traffic congestion by reducing the number of short car trips, as opposed to people hopping in their cars and driving just three or four blocks."
The NOACA project team, in conjunction with University Heights officials, began its field work study of the targeted streets on July 14 and will continue its work over the next 12 months. The team will present a final plan to the community and University Heights City Council in June 2015. The NOACA partnership could also make the city eligible for future funding to carry out recommended improvements and amenities.
Infeld hopes to make University Heights a more walkable community. “University Heights is a small city that is just 1.8 square miles across. Those residents who prefer to walk or bicycle to their destination need to feel safe in doing so,” she said. The project will create more options for family-friendly bicycling, safe routes to school and connections to local scenic pathways.
Libby Ellis is the community development coordinator for the City of University Heights.