The Cuyahoga Greenways Plan envisions an interconnected system of on-road bicycle facilities and off-road, all-purpose trails. Integrating the Greenways with public transportation, employment centers and parks provides recreational opportunities and mobility options throughout Cuyahoga County. Active use of this network can enhance the health and fitness of the community and the individuals who call it home.

Complete Greenways Plan

The Vision Plan was completed in November 2019 and adopted by NOACA in January 2020.

Download the plan

Cover of the Cuyahoga Greenways plan

Interactive Map

The Cuyahoga Greenways Executive Summary is available as an interactive story map. Use the story map to explore the project's process, route evaluations, and route list.

Cuyahoga Greenways framework plan overview

Introduction

The Emerald Necklace of the Cleveland Metroparks and the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail represent signature assets and core trails of Cuyahoga County. Established in 1917, the Cleveland Metroparks is the oldest park district in Ohio and contains much of the existing network of trails in Cuyahoga County. The Cuyahoga Greenways Plan aims to expand and build upon these existing regional trails and other recent community-led trail and bikeway projects such as the Shaker Boulevard Median Trail, the Lakes to Lake Trail, the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway, and Rockefeller Park's Harrison Dillard Bikeway.

As an urban county that is mostly built-out, large, natural open spaces that can accommodate trails are limited. Therefore, the Greenways Plan expects to retrofit existing roadway corridors as well as vacant or underutilized spaces. With recognition that street bicycle lanes favor experienced riders, the Greenways Plan seeks to enhance existing non-automobile transportation options with enhanced on-road facilities and trails that are safe and welcoming for people of all ages and abilities. Like the plan for the Metroparks' Emerald Necklace, the Cuyahoga Greenways Plan provides a long-range vision for dramatically reshaping transportation options in Cuyahoga County and the movement of people within it.

Background

This proposed Greenways network is of the result of a planning effort coordinated by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, Cleveland Metroparks, and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) with funding provided by NOACA's Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI).

The vision for a comprehensive countywide network emerged from earlier initiatives. The first was the Eastside Bicycle Network, established in the late 1990s through a collaboration of several east-suburban communities. The Eastside Greenway, a 2014 trails and bikeways plan, paid for with TLCI funds and contributions from several east-suburban communities, focused on expanding the Eastside Bicycle Network with more street bicycle lanes and introduced plans for off-road trails in the eastern suburbs of Cuyahoga County. Finally, several agencies and organizations with vested interests and responsibilities for trails and transportation convened and formed the Cuyahoga Greenway Partners (CGP). The CGP now works to advance implementation of the facilities recommended in the Cuyahoga Greenways Plan.

Process

The Cuyahoga Greenways planning process was community driven and enriched with data from a number of regional stakeholders. A cornerstone of the process was a robust public engagement program and rigorous spatial analysis of over 300 trails and corridor opportunities. Specific trail projects were identified using traditional and digital planning tools, input from local leaders and stakeholders, and public comment to ensure optimal value to the community and equitable social outcomes.

Results

The Cuyahoga Greenways Plan emphasizes a project list that identifies 69 priority projects from within the 800+ miles of trails described. These are divided into three categories:

  • Critical Gaps

    Short sections of future greenways or urban trails that fill “gaps” in the existing regional trail network. These gaps typically connect to existing trails or other non-motorized facilities at both ends.

  • Regional Links

    Longer sections of the regional network that typically connect existing regional trails on at least one end. These routes link major population centers, employment hubs, recreational anchors, or even trails and communities outside of Cuyahoga County.

  • Key Supporting Routes

    Routes that were found through public engagement or technical evaluation that otherwise serve as significant local links.

These 69 Priority projects are highlighted for many reasons: their ability to provide substantial benefits, their functional role in the network, they address specific community needs, and likely community support for implementation. The projects named in the Prioritization Plan are, in most cases, established at a conceptual level and are intended to be a guide for detailed planning and alignment.

Every route shown in the Plan is considered a meaningful connection in the county and should be built if local demand, funding, and conditions make construction possible. Realization of the full network of trails identified in the Cuyahoga Greenways Plan will require actively assessing and advancing opportunities for trail development as they arise. As projects are built, and if local demand shifts, routes may be reprioritized and elevated to Critical Gap or other high priority status.

The Cuyahoga Greenways Plan provides a countywide blueprint for trail development that will create a healthier and more sustainable future for residents of the region. Connecting people to jobs, transit, and parks, though expanded mobility options crossing municipal boundaries, will promote regional collaboration as routes are integrated into future capital projects and land use planning. As such, the Cuyahoga Greenways Plan can be used as the basis for municipal grant applications and other multi-jurisdictional trail development and implementation projects.