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.
At the end of 2013, City Council created a Transportation Advisory Committee and selected a wonderful group of residents to serve on the committee and represent various interests (pedestrians, transit users, bicyclists, the physically challenged, schools, business community). Also serving on the committee are city staff from planning, public works and police, as well as a representative of RTA. This committee has been meeting since January, gaining a deeper understanding of city operations and getting organized. It is currently working to develop work plans to advise on ways to improve alternative modes of transportation in Cleveland Heights – walking, bicycling and transit use.
Cleveland Heights, the Heights Bicycle Coalition and Cleveland Heights schools collaborated in 2013 on the development of a School Travel Plan encompassing five schools: Canterbury, Roxboro and Oxford Elementary School, Monticello Middle School and the Hebrew Academy. This set the stage for an application for Safe Routes to School grants for non-infrastructure and infrastructure programs. As a result, the Ohio Department of Transportation granted us more than $7,000 for non-infrastructure programs and $200,000 for infrastructure improvements around the five schools. Now we will be working to use these funds effectively to making walking and bicycling to school safer and more attractive for students.
As part of its “Put a Lid On” program, the Ohio Chapter of the American Association of Pediatricians gave Cleveland Heights police 75 kids helmets, which were distributed to students at Roxboro Elementary School who needed them. The chapter said our application earned the highest rating of all those that they received.
Our Bike Month activities this May were broader and more successful than ever. Our own Mindy Minyo, much recovered from a bike-motor vehicle hit-and-run accident on Fairmount Boulevard, spoke at our Ride of Silence meeting with Bike Cleveland in University Circle on May 15. Our coffee energizer station at Edgehill and Overlook was as delightful as ever on May 17, Bike to Work Day. Ten people benefitted from Smart Cycling classes offered jointly by the City and bike coalition on May 16 and June 14. To kick off the summer bicycling season, five volunteer bike mechanics were busy non-stop on Saturday, May 31, from 11 a..m. to 2 p.m. tuning up bikes for free at the Coventry Courtyard. Bike rodeos and an after-school bike club were also in the mix.
Now the Free Wheelin’ Wednesday summer group rides are under way. Check the Heights Bicycle Coalition website to join the fun and for more information.