Michael Baker International
Construction — in its foreboding, catch-all connotation — will begin on the West Shoreway June 22. The work will take about two years and will produce a 35-mph boulevard on which it’ll just be that much riskier to fly downtown at 70 mph.
Not that we’d recommend attempting that. The whole point behind the city’s next big road project is to stimulate more of a neighborhood vibe — connecting Detroit-Shoreway with Edgewater Park and infusing words like “walkability” with meaning.
Hundreds of people showed up last week to hear out ODOT and city leaders about what’s to come. There will be hassles in the interim — that’s a given — but the end result is one of Cleveland’s more ambitious infrastructure plans in some time. As the design renderings would have it, the West Shoreway is going to be the nicest spot in town.
Know now that lane closures will become a thing for westside commuters. Think Captain America filming, but less comprehensive. You’re going to want to tune into the news now and then to get a handle on what is closed and when. The speed limit will drop to 40 mph briefly as construction begins before hitting the project goal of 35 mph.
“Q. Isn't the reduction in speed from 50 MPH to 35 MPH going to slow me down on my way to work?
“A: Only slightly... and we mean slightly! Traversing the distance of just over two miles at 50 MPH takes about 145 seconds. At 35 MPH it takes about 208 seconds. That's only a difference of just over a minute!”
One major fulcrum in this project is the $1.1-million roundabout planned for the entrance to Edgewater Park. This is a huge upgrade. Presently, the process of discerning right-of-way in and out of the park is a nightmare. The multi-pronged intersection connecting the freeway with the park and Whiskey Island is a headache even before you’ve gone and drunk yourself goofy at the bar formerly known as Sunset Grille.
Further into the park, the Metroparks will continue its own journey into the service industry with its 12,000-square-foot, two-story Beach House. Positioned as a hub for park-goers, the Beach House will feature spots for food, lakeshore sundries, showering, etc. Without a doubt, the building will have sort of a vacation-y vibe to it, not unlike the places that dot the Atlantic on, say, Hilton Head Island.