The bulldozers are on Taylor Road; these machines are busy digging up and moving dirt, concrete and asphalt. But these bulldozers wouldn’t be there if it were not for Cleveland Heights city officials. They bulldozed over the expressed desires and concerns of the city residents who live along Taylor Rd between Mayfield and Euclid Heights Boulevard. These Taylor Road residents include children, a visually impaired woman, and many homeowners.
The city bulldozed this project through, despite drasticcuts to ODOT (a state agency so desperate for money it is trying to cancel or delay projects and sell “branding rights”) despite drastic changes to Severance Town Center (the Wal-Mart there will be moving out soon), and despite a lawsuit, that was supported by the neighbors, asking that the project be temporarily halted to permit better planning and citizen input.
Taylor Road is going to be narrowed by 1½ lanes; that greenspace is going to be added to the commercial side of the street, NOT to the front yards of the residents. The photos accompanying this story will show you that the greenspace will mean almost nothing to those living in the apartment buildings–they are already much farther from the road than the house
But, because the greenspace is being added to the commercial side, the road will be more dangerous to the people living and walking along the road. The road is being narrowed by 1 ½ lanes; traffic will be forced over, concentrated in the remaining lanes that are only few feet away from the sidewalk. Additionally, a traffic light is being removed along this stretch, so traffic will no longer be calmed by this stoplight.
Were city leaders unable or unwilling to create a plan that repaired the road (yes, it had lots of potholes) but also kept the safety of citizens in mind? This project had been delayed and modified before. Certainly there are many, many other ways that the street could have been resurfaced and still included the wishes of the property owners and residents. City officials refused to talk about this with residents; during the one meeting that was held, city officials repeatedly said the project was going to go forward as planned. Period.
Maybe you don’t care about this issue because you don’t live in that part of town, but these small decisions, disrespectful of citizen concern, reflect thinking by our city government that gets played out over and over again. This expensive and
short-sighted decision will make that stretch of Taylor Road less walkable,
less sustainable (even though the city passed new codes to encourage “sustainability” 2 days ago) and will subsequently decrease our property values.
Please think about this the next time you get into your car: to the city leaders of Cleveland Heights, your car, and your neighbors’ cars are more important than the children, the homeowners, those with disabilities, all the people living along Taylor Rd. Despite many efforts to get them to discuss alternatives, city officials were dismissive of citizens’ concerns. Not one council member took up for the Taylor Rd. residents. You may want to ask them why they treated citizens this way and gently remind them that cars don’t vote.