Variance for Alcazar Parking

At the City Council meeting on Monday, January 5, 2015, Council members unanimously approved a variance to the Cleveland Heights Zoning Code for the Alcazar, which was recently purchased and is slated for renovations.  Here’s my take on the vote:

Before the City Council vote, the Alcazar was ‘grandfathered’ for 62 apartments and 122 ‘lodging units’, which means that if the new owner had retained that configuration and filled the place up, it would have been eligible for 184 parking places – way more that it has at present.  I don’t believe that the Alcazar has been accommodating anything like 184 residents and guests, but we were unable to determine what the occupancy has been.

In any case, the conversion by the new owner to 96 apartments reduces the potential parking demand.  The Alcazar does not have 96 enclosed parking spaces; it is short by 34 enclosed parking spaces.  It has long had six reserved outdoor spaces in the parking lot behind Aladdin’s and adjacent businesses, and that continues.

The new owner of the Alcazar has said he would obtain unused parking permits for the lot behind Nighttown that runs over to Euclid Heights Boulevard for Alcazar residents that will need them.  He also anticipates that some residents may not want a car parking space; that is a trend, but who knows.

Having said all that, I understand the need for more parking in the Cedar Fairmount area (either that or a ‘mode shift’ to walking or bicycling, which is definitely less attractive at this time of year!).  Adding parking is definitely challenging because of the expense and space limitations.

The shortage of parking at Cedar Fairmount keeps coming up. University Circle/CWRU has a circulator that comes up to Cedar Fairmount. My husband and I are big Cedar Fairmount fans.  I’m sure that all of us representing the City of Cleveland Heights will keep cogitating and try to do what seems best, but there are no easy answers.

Continued Focus on Becoming More Bicycle Friendly

As a member of Cleveland Heights City Council and as President of the Heights Bicycle Coalition, I continue to work to make Cleveland Heights more bicycle friendly,  because this contributes to sustainability and to our quality of life.  I’m seeing more riders this summer, so I believe that we are engaging residents and making steady progress.  Here are some highlights of what we’ve accomplished in the past year. [Read more…]

Cleveland Heights is Bicycle Friendly!

On October 15, 2013, the League of American Bicyclists recognized Cleveland Heights as a bronze Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC), making our city one of only eight in Ohio to earn this distinction. Others are Lakewood, Dublin, Westerville, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. Ohio has no silver, gold or platinum Bicycle Friendly Communities. The bronze level BFC award recognizes Cleveland Heights’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.

The BFC program is a way for communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while providing a measuring tool to gauge their progress toward a more bicycle friendly community. There are now 291 BFCs in 48 states. [Read more…]