Winner of APA Ohio's 2021 award for Best Small Jurisdiction Plan, Solon Connects is a vision to create a unified network of safe, convenient, affordable, and accessible multi-modal connections that offer recreational opportunities and alternative options for getting around the community, elevating the health, well-being, and economic activity in the city.
The intent of the Solon Connects Plan is simple: build safer and stronger pedestrian and bicycle connections between existing civic, commercial, and open space assets to create safe and beneficial active transportation options for everyone.
The Solon Connects Plan is the result of community aspirations to consider new methods, opportunities, and technologies to achieve a well-connected city for all residents regardless of age or ability. The Solon Connects Plan is intended to not only guide leaders, but also inspire residents, business owners, and other stakeholders to rethink pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular mobility in Solon now and into the future. The plan builds upon Solon's sense of community, pride, and amenities that make it an ideal place to visit, conduct business, and call home.
The Solon Connects planning process began in January 2020, when the City of Solon was awarded funding for professional planning services through a competitive grant process from the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission. The entire process took about one and a half years to complete due to the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent response. County Planning, with help from the Project Team – a committee of City Staff – guided the master planning process. County Planning staff developed an existing conditions assessment to better understand current active transportation (walking and biking) conditions in Solon. County Planning staff also studied best practices around the country, state, and region to create both aspirational and achievable goals. This analysis and review of transportation trends established a baseline for the City of Solon and for the recommendations contained in this plan.
Input from County Planning was supported by a variety of focus groups, and other interested community leaders and stakeholders. These groups studied the existing conditions analysis and helped generate key ideas to be pursued in this plan. Solon residents and the greater public also played a key role in the plan's development. The project website and initial online public opinion survey helped to engage and introduce residents to the connectivity plan. In addition to input from this survey, the residents of Solon were engaged throughout the planning process at virtual town halls and other events to generate a vision and provide opportunities for comments and feedback. Final recommendations in the document incorporate public input, Project Team guidance, and Focus Group suggestions which have been supplemented by the technical skills, expertise, and feasibility analysis performed by County Planning staff.
The Solon Connects plan is a coordinated planning effort that aims to provide a comprehensive set of recommendations for improving connectivity in Solon. In an effort to achieve this vision the plan has identified four key objectives surrounding the recommendations: Enhance, Expand, Educate, & Evaluate. These objectives are intended to reference some of the more traditional E's included in Bike and Pedestrian programs: Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Encouragement, and Equity. Re-imagining what a different set of 4 E's might look like for Solon and the Solon Connects Plan. Each E contains a different approach to improving connectivity, some involve physical infrastructure, while others involve residents, groups, or citywide policies and programs. Taken together they represent an integrated and all-inclusive methodology for improving connectivity in Solon.
For details about the implementation of the plan, visit the City of Solon's site.