Lake Shore Boulevard in Euclid reimagined with paint: how will the city react?

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Cities across the country are redesigning roads to make more room for pedestrians and cyclists. Euclid is experimenting with a temporary 30-day redesign of Lake Shore Boulevard installed on Saturday by volunteers. (Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer)

By Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer

EUCLID, Ohio – The city’s third annual Artwalk, a festival with street vendors and musicians, took on a new twist on Saturday.

About 25 volunteers used brooms, paintbrushes, rollers and paint cans to transform a stretch of Lake Shore Boulevard to slow traffic and make the downtown area safer and more welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists.

Alison Lukacsy, left, Community Projects Manager for Euclid, sets up plants on Lake Shore Boulevard with Laura Kidder, Director of the Shore Cultural Center. (Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer)

The project, called “Pop-up Parkway,” is a 30-day experience that involves approximately 750 feet from East 218th Boulevard to East 220th Street – a section where local businesses include Great Scott, Paragon and Beach Club Bistro restaurants and Café by the lake shore.

A resident shouted “thank you” to the volunteers as he took Euclid’s new cycle path. (Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer)

The experimental reshuffle of the street is part of a national trend. Cities and transport agencies are developing detailed guidelines on how to redistribute space on roads after decades in which cars have always come first.

Euclid’s “Pop-Up Parkway” kicks off on Saturday. (Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer)

Safety is one of the main reasons for this new push, said Katie Sieb, transportation planner at the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, the leading transportation and air quality planning agency for the region.

Euclid’s Police Officer Anthony Brentar helps paint colorful stripes on the large pedestrian crossing at the center of the project. (Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer)

“We see that pedestrian deaths continue to increase in our country,” she said. “Speed ​​is a major cause of these fatalities and accidents. We promote more safety for all road users and enliven public spaces and make people think differently about their communities.

Volunteers build a temporary parklet or seating platform that will occupy approximately two parking spaces. (Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer)

NOACA supported Euclid’s project as the first large-scale demonstration of its 6-month-old street supplies program, where municipalities can access materials for temporary street projects.

The Ohio Department of Transportation supported the NOACA program with a grant of $ 160,000. The Euclid project was a small fraction of the grant’s value, Sieb said.

A temporary bike park right in front of the Bananas For Bikes bike shop. (Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer)

Lake Shore Boulevard is a major east-west regional road that runs along the shore of Lake Erie about a quarter of a mile to the north. Cars often speed through modest Euclidean town center on their way to and from.

Using a design developed by the city with support from NOACA, volunteers painted existing lane markers and laid new stripes to set the course on what planners call a “diet.”

Zach Forney of Better Block Foundation uses stencils to apply bicycle symbols. (Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer)

The design removed two of the four lanes of traffic and redistributed the space with parking lanes on the north and south sides of the street, as well as dedicated bicycle lanes and a central median with turn lanes at intersections. The median is decorated with pots of greenery planted by the volunteers.

A turning lane has become a pedestrian refuge and a central median. (Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer)

Euclid’s Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail said it would likely cost “millions” to make the changes depicted in the painting on Saturday permanent.

“So many times you get the full cost of something and people say, ‘We can’t do this, it’s too expensive,'” she said. “It gives us a chance to try it.”

The city and NOACA will assess the project by counting traffic and interviewing residents and businesses.

Euclid’s “Pop-Up Parkway” kicks off on Saturday. (Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer)

Initial reviews were mixed on Saturday, at least judging by the reactions of a few unhappy motorists having to slow down while volunteers repainted the traffic lanes.

“Dumbest thing I have ever seen!” Shouted the driver of a silver Jeep SUV. “Nice job Euclid, you did it again!” he added.

Randy Blackford, one of the volunteers, who painted the tracks and then led traffic with a yellow t-shirt, was not put off by such comments.

“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “This is why we are here. We’ll see what people think. If I can lighten the traffic, people won’t be upset and frustrated when we try to do it full time.

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