Noble corridor plan presented to city councils
On Sept. 16 and 17, FutureHeights and Bill James, of the consulting firm Camiros LTD, presented a proposal to bolster the Noble Road corridor to the city councils of Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, respectively.
Plans include improving the roadway, adding specified bike lanes, beautifying the neighborhood, and revitalizing the business districts. (Watch James’ presentation to Cleveland Heights City Council on the city's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSsOLRqXpFU&feature=youtu.be.)
Noble Road is the most significant street in the northeast section of Cleveland Heights, giving its name to an area known as “Noble neighborhood.”
“Noble Road is the ‘front door’ to a charming neighborhood,” said FutureHeights Executive Director Deanna Bremer Fisher. “A revitalized Noble Road should attract new residents and businesses to the area.”
FutureHeights, in cooperation with the cities of Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, Noble Neighbors, Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope (NOAH), and GE Lighting, kicked off a planning study of Noble Road in fall 2018.
The study, which comprised a market analysis and revitalization strategies for the commercial/mixed-use districts, and several community meetings guided consulting partners Camiros LTD and The Riddle Company to map out these plans.
The goal of the project is to enhance the Noble neighborhood by refreshing and expanding the business districts and improving the quality of life for residents.
Concepts for Noble/Mayfield focus on enhancing the commercial and shopping district to create a welcoming, pedestrian-driven appeal.
In Noble/Monticello, the focus is on reworking the roadways to include left-turn and bike lanes, making better use of transportation options through that part of the neighborhood, and installing a “community kitchen” to host pop-up restaurants—adding literal new flavor to the area.
For Noble/Nela, the goal is to rehabilitate the existing structures to bolster the area’s desirability and attract new residents and businesses.
Finally, the aim for Noble/Euclid is to boost residential appeal by filling vacancies and repairing deteriorating roadways.
Full proposal details for each area of Noble neighborhood are available at www.futureheights.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Noble-Road-Corridor-Plan-Draft_September_2019.pdf.
The overarching theme involves creating a multi-modal roadway, reducing the traffic lanes from four to two (one in each direction) for motor vehicles, and adding both left-turn and bike-specific lanes. This "road diet" will allow for more efficient and effective travel through the area, attracting more people to utilize the roadway. The proposal calls for an additional study to assess the plan to implement these structural changes to the roadway.
Raising the appeal of pedestrian traffic through Noble’s neighborhoods is another major goal of the proposal. Early action plans call for community support in sponsoring planters, enabling neighborhood participation in making the sidewalks a beautiful place to stroll, and raising community pride in this shared space.
Questions about how the improvements specified in the proposal would be financed are still being evaluated. One possibility, a special improvement district (SID) that incorporates both commercial and residential sites, would enable property owners, including homeowners, annually to contribute directly to the project’s funding. Whether or not this mechanism could be implemented would depend on homeowners voting to enact the SID, which many in the community believe to be unlikely. Grants, donations, city funding, and other financial resources are being explored as well.
Sarah Wolf is an intern at FutureHeights, a resident of Cleveland Heights, and a graduate-level community practice student at MSASS/Case Western Reserve University.