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Advocating for Bike and Ped Access in Cleveland, With a Beat

A couple of months ago, we wrote about Clevelanders protesting a $450 million rebuilding of the city's Innerbelt Bridge that fails to include bike and pedestrian access. Since then, the Ohio Department of Transportation has dug in its heels, saying that there is no time to make any amendments to the environmental impact statement on the project before a March 2 deadline.

But Streetsblog Network member Green City Blue Lake says that bike lane advocates aren't giving in yet, and are determined to use the time between now and March 2 to continue pushing for amendments to the bridge plan. Yesterday, they posted the video above to spread the word. Here are some of the lyrics:

Those who don't have a car still do Pay public infrastructure taxes too So why can't those who don't have a car Use the bridge in their own backyard?…

All kinds of traffic should be delivered Up over the Cuyahoga RiverIf they drive a bike or just walk aroundGive everyone a way to get downtown.

Let's keep Cleveland on the right track.Take a step forward not a step backNow is the chance if we answer the callTo build a bridge that connects us all.

 They've got some support at the City Council level. From a GCBL post earlier this week:

"When you design a bridge, you don't design it just for cars, you designit for people," Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone told ODOT InnerbeltProject Manager Craig Hebebrand at [a February 8th] Cleveland PlanningCommission [meeting]. "Why should the citizens of Cleveland settle for secondclass? We should demand [a multi-use path on the bridge] from thedesign phase. We should demand something better. Let’s see what theprices come in. In Shanghai and in Portland they are designing bridgesfor people."

Hebebrand said it's too late from ODOT's perspective to make anychanges. "There’s no way to physically amend the documents to add theaddendum in time."

Planning Commission member Lillian Kuri, however, got Hebebrand toadmit that there will be many addendums to the Environmental ImpactStatement before the end. Adding an addendum to that EIS for a bike/pedmulti-use path now should not be used an excuse, Kuri said.

Advocates agree, and we charge that we have 25 days, or 220 hoursuntil ODOT’s imposed March 2 deadline. We also contend that wherethere's a will, there's a way. The comments from Councilman Matt Zoneillustrate this sentiment; and given Hebebrand's assertions, it isperhaps proof positive that the issue transcends ODOT and its usualbureaucracy, and so it's time to move up the chain of command.

We'll keep following this story.

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