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Proximity, crashes highlight calls for protection between Whiskey Island Connector and Shoreway

Posted at 7:08 AM, Apr 19, 2021

CLEVELAND — The Whiskey Island Connector Trail in Cleveland could soon be getting a guardrail after a handful of crashes sent vehicles across, through, or very near the nearly-completed trail.

The trail runs from Edgewater Park and, when completed this summer, will run along Whiskey Island Drive all the way to Wendy Park. It will then link up with the Wendy Park Bridge to connect Whiskey Island/Wendy Park with Ohio City.

Scratched concrete shows where a vehicle came across the Whiskey Island Connector trail in March.

News 5 learned that Cleveland Metroparks has been asking the City of Cleveland for a guardrail there for months. The City of Cleveland told News 5 it is currently figuring out how and where to install the guardrail.

Multiple crashes over the last few months show what tragedies are possible. Once in November 2020, at least twice in March 2021, and again in April 2021, vehicles have left the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway and crashed into or near the pieces of trail that have been constructed so far.

The bend in the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway has proven to be hard to navigate for some vehicles mostly overnight.

“That’s a dangerous curve anyway, where cars tend to not stay on the road especially when it gets slippery,” said Battery Park Resident John Koch. “Cars come flying over the hill there and who knows what they’re going to hit once they get over there.”

The speed limit on the Shoreway is 35 miles per hour but it doesn’t take long to find cars going much faster than that. Just a few minutes with a radar gun near the trail revealed many cars going only a few miles per hour faster than the limit, but many others reaching speeds in the 40's and 50’s.

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This diagram shows the estimated path that one vehicle took when it crashed in November. The red line crosses over the Whiskey Island Connector.

“It’s like a speedway,” said Norma Koch. “I think maybe a guardrail will give [drivers] a little bit of a reminder that this is a tricky curve.”

A tricky curve with pedestrians, joggers, and cyclists who will be just a few feet away from the road once the trial opens this summer.

The Whiskey Island Connector is being constructed just a few feet away from the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway on the west side.

See the Cleveland Metroparks’ full statement here:

“When designing and building new connections, safety is always a priority. We are pleased to learn about the forthcoming approval from the city for the guardrail along the Whiskey Island Connector Trail. We are excited for the community to soon enjoy these new connections.”
Cleveland Metroparks

See the City of Cleveland’s full statement here:

In order for the City of Cleveland to evaluate the Cleveland Metroparks’ Whiskey Island request, on Feb. 10, 2021 the City asked for a plan drawing that clearly shows property/right-of-way lines, and where the proposed guardrail would be installed in relation to these lines. An engineer’s analysis that documents the warranting of the guardrail was also requested. That information was received on March 10, 2021.

The City of Cleveland is now in the process of determining the means by which to allow the guardrail to be installed, such as easement, encroachment, licensed agreement. We look forward to working with the Cleveland Metroparks on resolving this issue.
City of Cleveland

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