The Cuyahoga River splits the city of Cleveland in half, and for years, bridge crossings were perilous for cyclists. Finally, that’s changing. A massive project on the Detroit Superior Bridge gave Cleveland cyclists their first protected bike lanes, shielding riders from fast-moving trucks and cars. “This is the culmination of a project that was planned 15 years ago,” says Jacob VanSickle, Bike Cleveland’s executive director. It’s not perfect— the west-bound lanes are still not protected, but between the bike boxes at traffic lights and bike-specific signals, and the protected lanes on the eastbound side, the project feels like solid progress.
Around town, painted bike lanes are popping up, especially near the entrances and exits of the area’s many off-street pathways. “We’re focusing on commuter corridors and now there’s much more of an ability to get around on them,” says Calley Mersmann, the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the city. VanSickle says that when it comes to downtown roadways, cars have previously taken priority, and getting parking removed or lanes taken away can be a fight. However, that’s also changing: “In the last five to six years we’ve taken more roadway away from cars and people are starting to realize it isn’t the apocalypse.”