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Councilman Matt Zone looking to make Cleveland streets more accommodating for bikes, pedestrians: Cleveland City Council summer recess

September 6, 2018

Councilman Matt Zone looking to make Cleveland streets more accommodating for bikes, pedestrians: Cleveland City Council summer recess

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Councilman Matt Zone has been looking at ways to make city streets safer and accommodating to pedestrians and cyclists. 

Zone, who chairs council’s Safety Committee, has been studying the issue this summer, a time when the city has been forced to deal with the appearance of rental motor scooters. 

“How do we make sure our roads are safe for all users?” Zone said. 

Cleveland City Council is on summer recess, operating on a limited meeting schedule since the beginning of June. It resumes its regular meeting schedule on Monday.     

This story is the 13th installment in a cleveland.com series that looks at what council members are doing during the recess.    

First elected to City Council in 2001, Zone represents Ward 15, an area that includes the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood where he grew up. His ward also includes the Edgewater area and parts of Ohio City, Cudell, and Stockyards neighborhoods. 

Zone formed a group that has been studying street safety this summer. The group has about 25 members, including Councilman Kerry McCormack, representatives from city government, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Greater Regional Transit Authority, Cleveland schools, community development agencies and citizens. 

He dubbed the group the Vision Zero Taskforce – zero, as in zero fatalities on the streets.

The group opened its August meeting with a moment of silence for 21-year-old Jenasia Summers of Cleveland Heights. She died Aug. 18 after a motorist rammed her from behind while she was riding a scooter on East Ninth Street

“Cleveland needs to rethink its streets and roads to prioritize neighborhood safety over speed, acknowledging a simple guiding goal – even one death on the road is one too many,” Zone said. “Many fatal crashes involving cars, pedestrians and cyclists, can be attributed to road and traffic design that gives insufficient consideration to neighborhood safety. Thus, the reason I’ve been working to have the city of Cleveland adopt ‘Vision Zero’.” 

Two areas being studied are Franklin Boulevard, which runs from West 25th Street to West 85th Street, and Lake Avenue, which runs from Detroit Avenue west into Lakewood at West 117th Street. 

Both streets have problems with speeders, he said. 

Zone said he’s been studying what other cities around the country have tried, drawing on contacts he developed through the National League of Cities. Zone served as president of that organization last year.

In Portland, Oregon, for example, the city lowered the speed limit on all residential streets to 20 miles a hour.

Some ideas under study: Barriers that force traffic to divert off the streets periodically, rotaries at intersections to slow traffic and barriers to protect bike lanes. 

Calming the traffic is important because it pushes up survival rates in accidents involving pedestrians. If driving speeds can be reduced from 40 mph to 20 mph, data shows survival rates for pedestrians rise from 10 percent to 95 percent, he said. 

“If we want to attract and keep people in our community, we’re going to have to address these kinds of issues,” Zone said. 

Previous stories: Cleveland City Council summer recess   

Cleveland Councilman Anthony Brancatelli focused on quality of life issuesCleveland Councilman Kevin Kelley helping Old Brooklyn get prepped for schoolCleveland Councilman Joe Jones focused on school issues By phone, Facebook and tweets, Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland’s constituents keeping her busy Councilwoman Dona Brady on the lookout for trouble in her ward  For Councilman Mike Polensek, fewer meetings means more focus on constituent calls  Councilman Kerry McCormack studying app technology as a way to improve downtown parking: Cleveland City Council summer recess  Councilwoman Jasmin Santana devoting summer recess to constituent services  Charter review, constituent calls keep summer schedule full for Councilman Martin Keane: Cleveland City Council summer recess  Councilman Basheer Jones’ ‘big impact’ idea would extend development benefits to neighborhoods   Tending to growth, tackling poverty issues key focus for Glenville councilman   Cleveland councilman focused on development, potential job gains in East Side ward 

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