The car-free lifestyle is becoming more prevalent and more people are interested in and demanding diverse transportation options.

photo of bicyclists on the Towpath Trail
The Towpath Trail functions as a form of exercise, connects people to nature, and builds on the region’s history with the canal.

Off-road trails, dedicated bike lanes and sharrows are becoming more desired and expected by residents. There are numerous documented benefits of designing multi-functional streets that meet the needs of all users and many of them reach far beyond the effects of improving the transportation system.

Large-scale multi-modal transportation planning in Cuyahoga County promotes a more complete network for transit, trails, and paths. County Planning’s Complete Streets Toolkit describes and demonstrates concepts for redesigning and reimagining roadways to encourage active forms of transportation such as walking and cycling. Cleveland Metroparks has an incredible network of existing trails and bike facilities, and completing the network will increase value and quality of life in all communities. County Planning is one of the sponsors for the TLCI Eastside Greenway study that seeks to connect the east side of Cleveland with 20 Greater Cleveland communities through a unified trail network. The enthusiasm generated by the Eastside Greenway study signaled County Planning and Cleveland Metroparks to launch a second study to complete the planning process for the remainder of the county.  This Cuyahoga Greenways Plan will result in a comprehensive county-wide plan of recommended, feasible connections of both on- and off-road facilities for walking and biking options. Finally, on the advice of National Park Service advisors (Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program), County Planning convened leaders from key organizations involved with trails and bicycle facilities, and formed the Cuyahoga Greenway Partners, a collaboration of agencies and non-profits with direct responsibilities in the area of Active Transportation. The CGP works to assist project leaders in bringing these projects to completion,

The Trails and Bikeway Plan depicted on the map includes existing,  planned and proposed trails. Activity nodes in the Greenprint Viewer suggest potential origins and destinations.

Importance and Value0707scrantonflats

  • Available evidence in medical and public health journals indicate that more active lifestyles often lower the prevalence of important risk factors for heart disease. Access to safe pedestrian and bicycling facilities increases the probability that people will exercise more.
  • Alternative modes of transportation improve neighborhood connectivity to employment centers, transit, educational opportunities and open/recreational spaces.
  • Complete streets increase independence and mobility for the elderly, people with disabilities, and people who prefer alternative modes of transportation.
  • By opting for lower cost transportation modes such as walking, biking and taking transit, residents may have more disposable income to spend locally.
  • Complete streets, trail networks and increase in bicycling rates can help relieve congestion, reduce road fatality rates, and improve mobility for all residents.
  • Reducing the number of trips taken by car will have a great effect on reducing air pollution.

Recommendations for Communities and Land Owners

  • Utilize the Cuyahoga County Complete Streets Toolkit for guidance to adopt an approach or policy, for retrofitting roadways with bike lanes, sharrows and other treatments as it makes sense.
  • Connect through the Cuyahoga Greenway Partners to promote trail projects in order to assure logical placement, timing and the leveraging of funding
  • Incorporate off-road all-purpose trails as often as possible.
  • Take opportunities such as repaving of streets, rebuilding roadways, major sewer and water improvements and other construction projects as opportunities for adding bike and pedestrian facilities
  • Encourage developers to incorporate standard trail and bikeway facilities into their new developments and to participate in the design and construction of planned Cuyahoga Greenways facilities near these developments.
  • Donate or purchase easements or right-of-way when portions of private land could extend or connect trails

Resources for More Information

  • Bike Cleveland – Bike Cleveland works daily to make Greater Cleveland a fun, safe place where people of all ages and abilities can ride their bikes.
  • NOACA Biking & Walking Maps – Static maps of recommended routes by type and suitability.
  • Canalway Partners – organization helping to enhance the northern end of the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area
  • Cleveland Metroparks map – Interactive map of the countywide park system, including trail routing capability.
  • Cuyahoga County Complete Streets Toolkit – the Toolkit explains and illustrates the concepts of complete streets then provides design options.
  • NOACA Funding Resource Guide  – a directory of funding sources for transportation and environmental programs.
  • NOACA TLCI Grant Program – NOACA’s Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) provides assistance to communities and public agencies for integrated transportation and land use planning and projects that strengthen community livability.
  • Partnership for Sustainable Communities – an interagency partnership with federal agencies HUD, DOT, and EPA