Two-mile accessible trail serves as a major east-west route as part of Re-Connecting Cleveland project
Cleveland Metroparks today announced the opening of Red Line Greenway, a nearly two-mile paved all purpose trail that links the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail to two RTA Red Line Rapid Transit stations, and provides a primary active transportation corridor from West 65th Street to downtown Cleveland.
The accessible trail provides a major east-west connector route as part of the overall Re-Connecting Cleveland project that is expected to be completed next month. The opening today was celebrated by a ribbon cutting at the trail access point on Columbus Road where Cleveland Metroparks was joined by project partners and supporters including LAND studio, The Trust for Public Land, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA), Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), and Cleveland Rotary Club.
“The Re-Connecting Cleveland project including the newly opened Red Line Greenway is doing just that — it is reconnecting our communities through a bold vision only possible through successful partnerships and community support,” said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman. “This new accessible trail is breaking transportation barriers that have existed for decades and will improve access to and from downtown.”
The Red Line Greenway directly connects eight Cleveland neighborhoods along its route from the Michael Zone Recreation Center Park at West 53rd Street to the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail at the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Columbus Road. Additional access points include West 44th Street, West 41st Street, West 25th Street and Columbus Road near Abbey Avenue and Franklin Avenue. The trail utilizes former RTA right-of-way along the Red Line to provide a linear urban trail with additional pull-off areas for passive recreation, picnicking and more. The project also includes a robust planting of native trees as well as landscaping along the length of the trail.
“In addition to connecting to from two Red Line Rapid Transit stations, the new urban trail is served by several bus routes to enhance commuter options across Cleveland and beyond connecting the community,” said RTA Acting CEO and Chief Operations Officer, Dr. Floun’say Caver. “I want to thank our project partners including the Rotary Club of Cleveland for helping to maintain this area over the past four decades. We could not be more pleased with the end result and its impacts on our city.”
The Re-Connecting Cleveland project also includes the upcoming Whiskey Island Connector Trail and Wendy Park Bridge, as well as the completed Canal Basin Park Connector and Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway Connector. Combined, the five projects link more than 66,000 Cleveland residents with over 4 miles of trails to centers of employment, schools, shopping districts and parks and provides a new link between Cleveland and its lakefront. Both the Whiskey Island Connector Trail and Wendy Park Bridge are expected to open in late June 2021.
“The Red Line Greenway provides a safe bike and pedestrian corridor that connects tens of thousands of residents for improved travel between home and work, school and play,” said Grace Gallucci, Executive Director and CEO of NOACA. “The trail is a prime example of how improving our transportation network can support economic development and enhance the quality of life for all people of Northeast Ohio.”
The Re-Connecting Cleveland project was supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. The project was awarded $7.95 million in TIGER funding in 2016. The grant application was submitted in partnership with TPL and LAND studio. In addition to a portion of the awarded TIGER funds, the approximately $6 million construction of Red Line Greenway was supported by over $2 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program funds, $680,000 from TPL and $500,000 by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Clean Ohio Trails Fund.
“Access to nature has been a source of immense relief for many Clevelanders during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sean Terry, Acting State Director for Ohio at The Trust for Public Land. “Trails like the Red Line Greenway are critical infrastructure that create space for all residents to exercise, commute to work or school, and mitigate climate change. The Re-Connecting Cleveland project epitomizes the benefits trails can bring to our city.”
By next month, the trails will also interconnect greenspace to the soon to be complete Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, a regional spine for the active transportation network and part of the 326-mile statewide Ohio to Erie Trail (U.S. Bike Route 21; State Bike Route 1).
“A multimodal transportation network is imperative to a healthy and equitable community,” said LAND studio Executive Director Gregory Peckham. “The Red Line Greenway is reconnecting Cleveland’s diverse neighborhoods that have faced transportation barriers for decades.”
The Red Line Greenway was designed by Michael Baker International and constructed by Mark Haynes Construction, Inc.
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