Cleveland's Public Space Revolution

With new bike paths, regional trails, and renovated parks, Cleveland is catering to bikes and pedestrians, says Steven Litt. He explains how this "car town" is "undergoing a revolution in attitudes toward public space, city streets and walkability."
March 11, 2013, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"From the 1970s through the early 2000s, the city and various partners fought to save downtown by renovating the historic theaters at PlayhouseSquare and building attractions such as the Gateway sports complex, Cleveland Browns Stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum," writes Litt. "Streetscapes and parks received little attention back then. The result: a downtown with great attractions and beautiful historic buildings separated by garages, surface-parking dead zones and acres of concrete that discouraged walking and cycling."

"Now, as it tries to attract more visitors and increase the number of downtown residents from today’s 11,700, the city recognizes that creating attractive public spaces and bike-friendly streets is essential, not a frill."

"The cultural shift in favor of bikes and pedestrians echoes a rising national trend inspired by the new popularity of urban living and growing proof that the nation’s obesity epidemic is rooted in part in suburban lifestyles centered on the automobile."

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Published on Sunday, March 10, 2013 in The Plain Dealer
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