Cleveland Launches New Master Plan to Connect Downtown to Lake Erie

Dual, cooperating studies are underway in Cleveland to reimagine the connections between the city's downtown and lakefront.

Read Time: 2 minutes

September 27, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

A view of Downtown Cleveland and the Cuyahoga River as pictured from a downtown high-rise building.

Mikhalis Makarov / Shutterstock

Cleveland recently launched a master planning process to revitalize its lakefront, when Mayor Justin Bibb announced a request for proposals for a $500,000 contract that builds on an earlier proposal made by the owners of the Cleveland Browns.  

In an article for, Steven Litt credits a May 2021 proposal by Jimmy and Dee Haslam for jumpstarting the conversation that led to the new master planning process, although there has been a long track record of revitalization plans proposed for linking Cleveland’s downtown core and the lakefront, such as a proposal for an intermodal transit facility picked up by Planetizen in October 2015. Downtown Cleveland and the Lake Erie waterfront are currently “separated by a bleak, 14-acre landscape of concrete and steel,” writes Litt.

“The Haslam concept sparked a $5 million transportation feasibility analysis, funded 50-50 by the city and the Ohio Department of Transportation, that started earlier this year. The feasibility study is aimed at clarifying the impact on local and regional traffic if the Shoreway were altered in order to enable the Mall extension,” adds Litt.

Mayor Bibb’s contract would expend the purview of the city’s studies beyond traffic impacts, however, and in a much larger portion of the city. “The new study area will extend from the Warehouse District on the west to East 18th Street on the east, and the city’s municipal parking lots along South Marginal Road,” writes Litt.

City officials hope to use the two studies in concert to pursue federal funding opportunities, through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, in 2024.

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