The Midway Cleveland: Designing Cleveland With Equity In Mind
Theodore Ferringer, Assoc. AIA
The Midway is an economic investment, public transit, streetscape, ecological, and neighborhood livability project that provides significant investment to the most vulnerable of Cleveland neighborhoods.
A group of urban-minded cycling advocates and local cycling organization Bike Cleveland are proposing a citizen-driven project, The Midway, a protected cycle track network re-utilizing the historic infrastructure of Cleveland's former streetcar lines.
The project was born out of two essential questions: For whom are we designing our city? Are we doing so with equity in mind? The design team was engaged by Bike Cleveland to give both vision and voice to these questions, to engage stakeholders and project partners to bring the Midway to reality. Using the intuitive logic of a color-coded subway system, The Midway will connect residents to employment centers and regional assets, such as Cleveland's "Emerald Necklace" park system. In time, the Midway can be easily expanded beyond Cleveland's borders to include surrounding communities.
When built, this human-scale infrastructure will provide Cleveland with a resilient and equitable transportation system. Think of the Midway as a bicycle expressway network, with controlled on and off access points, but overlaid atop existing streets. Separated cycle tracks are an innovative form of urban cycling infrastructure giving continuous physical protection to cyclists, while still being a part of the curb to curb street right of way. This typology is safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicular traffic, making urban streets safe and comfortable for all users from "8 to 80". The Midway is the type of infrastructure that cities, particularly legacy cities of America's Rust Belt, should be investing in to stay relevant in the 21st century.
The Midway is not a cycling infrastructure project. It is an economic investment, public transit, streetscape, ecological, and neighborhood livability project that provides significant investment to the most vulnerable of Cleveland neighborhoods.