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There are growing concerns that the temporary bike ban in Public Square will become permanent

Posted: 5:34 PM, Jun 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-15 17:34:27-04

Since undergoing a major transformation two years ago, Public Square has seen its share of controversies. Now there’s another bump in the road in the rollout of Public Square 2.0.

First, it was ugly security barriers. Then it was rerouted busses. Now it's bikes. Cyclists are not allowed to cut through the middle of Public Square.

"During this time, while the square is closed, we've heard police officers from RTA tell cyclists that they have to ride on the sidewalk," said Jacob VanSickle of Bike Cleveland. 

VanSickle said that's not only dangerous but it's illegal.

Those navigating the city using pedal power are forced to detour around the square.

There are concerns this temporary bike ban is about to become permanent with a new redesign of the park on the way.

"I think we should stick to the initial intent of allowing bikes to go through," said councilman Kerry McCormack.

What's standing the way of allowing bike traffic to return to Public Square?

"That's a good question," said McCormack.

VanSickle believes it all boils down to the bus-only traffic signals on Superior.

"That can be resolved through signage, bikes follow bus signals, so then bikes can then go through the square. But we haven't seen any of those solutions come out of the redesign yet," said VanSickle.

With dedicated bike-lanes coming into downtown from the west and more planned heading out toward the east, Public Square is the missing link to make Cleveland a truly bike-friendly city.

"To promote our city as a multi-modal hub, we need to allow for that bike traffic to pass through the square," said McCormack.

The redesign plan focuses on removing the concrete barriers and replacing them with nearly 100 fixed and removable bollards.

VanSickle would like to see protected bikes lanes included in the plans moving forward.

"Engage with RTA, engage with Bike Cleveland and other stakeholders to really ensure that this redesign is the final design we have for Public Square," said VanSickle.

Meantime, he and members of Bike Cleveland plan to continue their push to get the pedals moving again in Public Square.