3-month experiment on Market Avenue in Ohio City will likely lead to future pedestrian-only closures

Posted at 9:30 AM, Sep 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-30 18:09:20-04

CLEVELAND — After three months of keeping cars off Market Avenue in Ohio City, vehicles be allowed back down the street that runs past Great Lakes Brewery, across from the West Side Market.

The tables, chairs, and yard games will be removed and early Tuesday morning, the last barriers that kept cars out from July through September will follow.

"I think it's been amazing to this point," said Ohio City Incorporated Executive Director Tom McNair.

The experiment came from Ohio City Inc. to see if it would work. McNair says it's clear that it did.

"I think we want to be very thoughtful about where we go next," said McNair.

Ohio City Inc. says nearly all the feedback has been positive. But the trial period did expose the need for some vehicles to be able to get into the street in some way either for deliveries, or at Koffie Cafe, for the morning regulars.

"It's probably dropped the morning business by 20 to 40%," said Koffie Cafe owner Greg Bodnar.

Bodnar owns the cafe and the wine bar next door and he's not a big fan of the closure. He's happy cars will be back in October, at least during the week.

"Weekends, I don't mind it being closed because the traffic is generated from all the people down here," said Bodnar, referencing the increased pedestrian traffic from the West Side Market and the rest of West 25th Street. "But weekdays, it just doesn't make sense."

That's the kind of information Ohio City Inc. says they'll take into account while they plan out future closures next year.

"Can we mitigate the logistical impacts of that?," asked McNair. "Can we create 15-minute drop off zones and make it easier for people?"

McNair says Ohio City Inc. is already looking to create a similar closure at some point next year.