Plan calls for improvements W. 25th to Fulton I-71 corridor

(Plain Press, September 2005) On June 27th, the Archwood Denison Concerned Citizens  Innerbelt Reconstruction Committee held a public meeting at Applewood Center to explore what neighborhood residents  would like to see happen to the I-71 corridor that travels through the Brooklyn Centre (Archwood Denison) neighborhood. The Ohio Department of Transportation participated in the meeting at part of its Innerbelt Planning effort.

A survey provided by the group indicates that most attendees preferred to see the access roads (collector-distributor roadways) to I-71 between Fulton and W. 25th lowered so they are closer to the freeway, rather than the alternatives remaining as they are or adding sound barriers.

The plans presented by Archwood Denison Concerned Citizens Innerbelt Reconstruction Committee indicates that while today’s collector distributor roadways are usually built adjacent and at the same grade as the main freeway, the collector-distributor between W. 25th and Fulton was constructed on top of an embankment at street level. The proposal says, because of the design, the surrounding neighborhood is subject to noise and the visual impact of the roadways. The plan notes that recently, ODOT indicated that the levels of traffic noise in this area are the second highest in the state. The Committee’s proposal calls for realigning the roadway with the freeway, landscaping of the new area and placing sound barriers where necessary.

The proposal estimates cost of this realigning would be $10 million. The total Innerbelt redesign is estimated to cost $699 million.
Committee Chair Bob Gardin noted that ODOT funds highway projects in ten-year cycles. If there is community consensus for the plan, he believes it is likely to be placed on the agenda for the next 10-year plan.

Residents surveyed at the meeting also indicated strong support for a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-71 at W. 32nd. This option would only be available if the collector-distributor road is lowered.

Gardin says that while most of the residents at the June 27th meeting supported the pedestrian bridge, since the meeting some problems have arisen.  An individual opposed to the pedestrian bridge circulated a petition in the neighborhood. Gardin says the wording of the petition was designed to stir fear in the community that the pedestrian bridge would aid criminals and be used by the wrong elements.

Gardin says when the idea of a pedestrian/bicycle bridge was fully explained to residents at a public meeting,  the vast majority of those present were supportive.

According to a summary provided by the group, plans for the pedestrian/bicycle bridge first emerged in the spring of 2004 out of concern for the safety of residents trying to cross the interchanges of I-71 at Fulton and W. 25th. The proposed bridge would allow walkers to go over the freeway at W. 32nd Street,  avoiding busy intersections. The proposal says the plan has received input from the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Municipal School District and neighborhood residents. Gardin said children attending both Denison School and Lincoln West would benefit from the route. The proposal estimates the cost of such a bridge at $1.25 million.

The plan summary compares the proposed bridge to existing pedestrian/bicycle bridges over I-71 at Buhrer Avenue and over I-490 at W. 11th. The proposal says, “Compared to these bridges, a West 32nd Street bridge would provide access to much larger areas of population. In fact, such a bridge would have the potential to be the most utilized bridge of its kind within the City of Cleveland, as well as in the Northeast Ohio region.”


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