Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cleveland Planning Commission Report - 020510

Planning Commission Members
Gloria Jean Pinkney
Phyllis Cleveland
Norman Krumholz
Robert N. Brown
Anthony J. Coyne, Chairman - Absent
David H. Bowen
Lillian Kuri
Lawrence A. Lumpkin


1. Ordinance No. 128 10 (Ward 17/Brady):
Designating McKinley Elementary School as a Cleveland Landmark

2. Ordinance No. 129-10 (Ward 17/Brady):
Designating Mount Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church and School as a Cleveland Landmark

3. Ordinance No. 130-10 (Ward 17/Brady)
Designating Nathaniel Hawthorne School as a Cleveland Landmark
The city, specifically Ward 17, now has three less buildings to worry about losing due to demolition. These three building all met the following criteria: 
Criterion 1 - Its character interest or values as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of the City, State, or the United States.
Criterion 4 - Its exemplification of the cultural economic, social, or historic heritage of the City.
Criterion 6 - Its embodiment of distinguishing characteristics of an architecture type or specimen
Criterion 10 - Its unique location or singular physical characteristic representing an established and familiar visual feature of a neighborhood, community, or City.
Out of three, Calvary is my favorite building. To many people it does not seem like it would meet the age requirement, having a somewhat modern look to it. In fact, the main church building (the youngest) was dedicated in June 1960. However, I believe the designation is actually going toward the school portion of the campus. One additional note: the church was NOT in favor of this designation. No reason was given. 
Motion to approve all - Passed.

1. Ordinance No. 8-10:
Authorizing the Director of Public Utilitiies to apply for and accept a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to implement storm water Best Management Practices at the Kirby Water Pollution Control Facility to allow storm water to divert away from the combined sewers; determining the method of making the public improvement of constructing the improvement; authorizing the Director to enter into one or more public improvement contracts to construct the improvement; and authorizing the director to employ one or more professional consultant necessary to design the improvement.

2. Ordinance No. 134-10:
Determining the method of making the public improvement of rehabilitating, renovating, reconstructing, or otherwise improving the fuel system at the Division of Motor Vehicle Maintenance; authorizing the Director of Public Service to enter into one or more public improvement contracts to construct the improvement; and authorizing the director to employ one or more professional consultants necessary to design the improvement.
Motion to approve all - Passed.

1. DF 2010-005West Shoreway Project- West Shoreway, Lake Avenue and West 76th Street Pedestrian Access under Shoreway to Edgewater Park, Final Approval
(Ward 15, Ward 16)

Project Representatives: Craig Hebebrand, Ohio Department of Transportation; Natalie Conley, Ohio Department of Transportation; Kirsten Bowen, Michael Baker Jr., Inc.; Paul Volpe, City Architecture; John Spear, Vintage Development Group
Seeking final approval for what will be the official start of the West Shoreway downgrade from limited access freeway to a boulevard. The actual work will be the three pedestrian tunnels that run underneath the roadway. The first tunnel is located at Lake Avenue, and the second two are at West 76th Street. Both ramps will be reconfigured for ADA requirements and will be built in way that will allow more daylighting of said tunnels.
(note: The publishing of this report was delayed in order to obtain updated renderings. These are still not available and likely will not be until the public meeting on February 23. The original site plans from ODOT's project page are presented instead.)
Some of the design elements to be used on the $2.7 - 3 million portion of the Shoreway project include the same lights currently installed on the Detroit Superior  Bridge. There will also be a metal trellis system to allow for vertical growth of ivy type plants near the adjacent to the tunnel entrance. It is hoped this will be made from a high grade stainless instead of aluminum or similar material that might bleed rust on the concrete.
Councilman Zone spoke: He mentioned the desire to celebrate the completion of the tunnels this fall with a 100th anniversary party since the opening of the original tunnels. Although delighted with the most recent progress, he shares many of his constituents concerns with the many delays and postponements related to this project. He also agreed with Design Review comments regarding the relocation of the waterline that runs along the ceiling of the tunnel. Finally, he commented on how we should not settle for second best when it comes to materials used for the project and would like ODOT to examine the possibility the white porcelain tiles currently in various states of disrepair throughout the tunnel be restored.

Motion to approve - Passed.
2. DF 2010-006: CSU, Campus Safety Building, Remodeling, Final Approval 
1870 East 19th Street, Ward 8
Project Representatives: Tania Anochin, CSU;
Rick Ziska, Ziska Architecture
Cleveland State University is moving their police station, currently located behind the Chester Building in the Chester Building Annex, to the Baker's Union Building on the western end of the campus, off of East 19th street. The current entrance on the east side of the building will be sealed and a new entrance will be built on the north facade of the building adjacent to the parking lot. 

Motion to approve - Passed.
3. DF 2010-003 - Downtown Bike Station, Site Plan and Canopy Design
East 4th Street Gateway Garage (Ward 3)
Project representatives: Martin Cader, City Planning Commission; Steve Skidd, Architecture Division
Presented changes to the already approved plan for the Downtown Bike Station located at the Gateway Garage. Changes were made to the planting plan due to buried utilities, as well adding space for outdoor biking. Commission members asked about the durability of the art component for the station. They were told testing is currently being done on the roof of City Hall.


1. ODOT Representatives and Planning Commission Dialogue regarding a Multi-purpose Lane on the New Inner Belt Bridge
(note: This portion of the meeting was conducted immediately after the presentation of the West Shoreway Pedestrian Tunnel project.) 
Director Brown discussed the letter reaffirming ODOT's decision not to allow the pedestrian/bike path component of the new innerbelt bridge to move forward. He presented the letter to Commission members from ODOT Chief Legal Counsel, Catherine Cola Perkins. (see below - click to view larger image)

A more concise report regarding the dialogue was written by Mark Lefkowitz. The following is a repost from

What could you do with hundreds of professionals in 220 hours? Apparently ODOT thinks between now and March 2, it’s not enough to amend electronic documents that can vastly improve the future for Greater Cleveland’s citizens. The documents, which include ODOT’s environmental impact statement, would allow thousands to choose to ride a bike or walk on the new Innerbelt Bridge and catch views of downtown on the way to an Indians game or to dinner in Tremont.
“When you design a bridge, you don’t design it just for cars you design it for people,” Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone told ODOT Innerbelt Project Manager Craig Hebebrand at today’s Cleveland Planning Commission. “Why should the citizens of Cleveland settle for second class? We should demand (a multi-use path on the bridge) from the design phase. We should demand something better. Let’s see what the prices come in. In Shanghai and in Portland they are designing bridges for people.”
Hebebrand said it’s too late from ODOT’s perspective to make any changes. “There’s no way to physically amend the documents to add the addendum in time.”
Planning Commission member Lillian Kuri, however, got Hebebrand to admit that there will be many addendums to the Environmental Impact Statement before the end. Adding an addendum to that EIS for a bike/ped multi-use path now should not be used an excuse, Kuri said.
Advocates agree, and we charge that we have 25 days, or 220 hours until ODOT’s imposed March 2 deadline. We also contend that where there’s a will, there’s a way. The comments from Councilman Matt Zone illustrate this sentiment; and given Hebebrand’s assertions, it is perhaps proof positive that the issue transcends ODOT and its usual bureaucracy, and so it’s time move up the chain of command.
“If there’s a need for $20 million, I certainly cannot promise it, but we can advocate for it because it’s needed,” said Martin Gelfand, Senior Counsel for Representative Dennis Kucinich. “With all due respect to ODOT, planning bridges in the 21st century is not the same as in the post war when the Innerbelt was built. We can call it the dinosaur era because we were so dependent on fossil fuels. I think we need to get out of that dinosaur era and bringing people back into downtown. So this signature bridge should include the cyclist and include the pedestrians. Don’t say no, say ‘how’.”
Kuri asked Gelfand and Rep. Kucinich to hold a meeting with ODOT and Planning Commission director Bob Brown, which Gelfand agreed to. Observers note that the meeting will be meaningless unless we figure out the explicit action that has to occur—an amendment or waiver to the EIS, which, by the way, happens frequently with cooperation from the right parties at Federal Highway Administration—and the right people have to be in the room to take that action.
“It’s now or never,” Kuri concluded.

2. Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority Representatives provide its Monthly Progress Report on Downtown Port Area Development

Director Brown stated there was not much to report in regards to the Downtown Port Area Development except to say they are moving into the second phase process of creating an RFP. The general plan is still to move forward with the move to the East 55th area of the lakefront.
Comments were made from some stakeholders:
Jim Cox: Acknowledged the December resolution calling for monthly updates. Questions the lack of updates.
Director Brown: It is only February. The port passed a plan of there own in response to resolution. They are now gathering data to be reported in future updates. 
Ken: Denounces current waterfront plans. Wants to know why the breakwall plans were not selected.
Krumholz: Agrees with the question; how did we get from the west-side location of the waterfront to the east-side seemingly overnight?
Other: Claimed Carney has property interest in waterfront area; Carney went to the Mayor and convinced him of the 55th site move. (He actually accused the Mayor of lacking intelligence enough to make the decision.)
Brown: Called out 'other.' (Put him in his place.)
Kuri: Suggested staff - Linda - take a further look at other possible locations.
Brown: Since a new port director has not been chosen, as well as any changes in his/her supporting staff, everyone should wait.