Cuyahoga County and its partners are moving forward on two access projects for the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie waterfronts: the Cuyahoga County Lakefront Public Access Plan and the final project connecting the Towpath Trail to the lakefront.
The Towpath Trail
The final and fourth stage of the Towpath Trail - a 1.4-mile section running from Literary Avenue to the future Canal Basin Park in the Flats - will be completed this year. When the final stage is done, the trail will be 101 miles long, stretching from New Philadelphia to downtown Cleveland. The project celebrates the region’s history and a commitment to celebrate the environment.
In the fall, crews installed a pedestrian bridge spanning Literary Avenue and connecting the third and fourth stages of the trail. Part of the fourth stage is the addition of historical elements to the greenspace at the corner of University Road and West 10th to commemorate the significance of Camp Cleveland. The camp was the largest of Cleveland’s six Civil War training camps for the Union and opened in July 1862. It was on 35.5 acres and had an elevated but flat location with ample clean water.
The Towpath, which was built 192 years ago as part of the Ohio & Erie Canal - has been developed by a partnership including the county, the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Metroparks and Canalway Partners.
The Lakefront Public Access Plan
Giving Cuyahoga County residents better and more continuous access to one of our greatest resources, Lake Erie, is a major focus for County Executive Armond Budish. The Cuyahoga County Lakefront Public Access Plan will include a multimodal network of connected paths, all-purpose trails, boardwalks, roads, bridges and public access points across 30 miles of shoreline. The project will increase lakefront access for minority populations by 200% and for low-income populations by 160%.
A series of public-private partnerships will lead to new public lakefront access in exchange for work to help protect both public and private assets from shoreline erosion. This will support public access along a shoreline where more than 90% of the lakefront is currently privately owned.
The project will create protected bike and pedestrian paths, including:
- Along Clifton Boulevard and the bridge in Rocky River and Lakewood. This plan will reduce the number of vehicle lanes to provide a bike path and sidewalk on the bridge over the Rocky River.
- A Lakefront Greenway and Downtown Connector in Cleveland to link up with a series of lakefront parks and University Circle. This off-road multimodal trail will enhance bike and pedestrian safety and be a true link to key lakefront destinations and growing employment hubs.
- A North Collinwood Lakefront Trail, offering direct access to underserved neighborhoods. This part of the project will give 4,300 residents - 2,700 of them minorities and 1,170 of them having low incomes - new direct access to the lakefront. This project will link the multi-county Lake Erie Coastal Lakefront Bikeway to the lake by completing a missing link to the bikeway and multi-model bike and pedestrian facilities that exist to the south.
The County is joining with the City of Cleveland, other lakefront municipalities, NOACA, Cleveland Metroparks, the Port of Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and others to develop the lakefront access plan.