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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Final Berea community meeting held for transportation safety

Proposals include more clearly marked bike lanes, safer crosswalks on BW campus
Israel Gole
Project Manager Chuck Fawcett discusses potential improvements to transportation safety on Front Street.

On Feb. 6, the final community meeting was held for the “Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative for Downtown Berea Multimodal Transportation Improvements Study” at the Berea branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. 

After gathering feedback from residents during the second meeting in December, the project team formulated a list of solutions to various transportation problems in downtown Berea and presented them to the public at the third community meeting. 

Project Manager for the initiative Chuck Fawcett showed a slideshow detailing the specific recommendations that are going to be made to the city of Berea for improving transportation. While these improvements covered a variety of topics ranging from traffic flow to parking, the main emphasis was on improving safety and accessibility for pedestrians and bikers, both in the city of Berea and on the Baldwin Wallace University campus.  

For example, Fawcett said that they are recommending more pedestrian refuge islands in the middle of Front Street so that it shortens the distance of road people must cross at one time. 

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“Providing opportunities for pedestrians to cross Front Street is important,” Fawcett said. 

Also, Fawcett said they recommend curb bump-outs installed on crosswalks in areas with high pedestrian traffic and low visibility, specifically on Beech Street and Seminary Street where BW students frequently cross. 

“[The bump-outs] go out into the parking lane, so that a pedestrian can walk out and not be in the street,” Fawcett said. “They’ll be more visible [to drivers] than just in between two parked cars.” 

Two BW students, Emma Stamper, a junior sustainability and international business student, and Lucas Chambers, a senior sustainability student, were present at the meeting. Both students said they liked the proposed idea of curb bump-outs. 

“I walk a lot in that region, and I find it difficult to look around the cars,” Chambers said. “If I’m able to step out to where the [parked] cars end as well, I do think that would be beneficial.” 

These bump-outs would be installed in areas where pedestrians and vehicles interact, including both Beech Street crosswalks near Davidson Commons.  

“That’ll help with visibility for pedestrians and shorten their crossing of the roadway,” Fawcett said.  

Regarding the angled crosswalk at the intersection of Beech and E Center Streets, Fawcett said that it could possibly be straightened out, but it is more important to accommodate the students’ walking paths. 

“Where people are walking is where they want to go,” Fawcett said. “If we can accommodate that path, that would be the best route to take.” 

Angled crosswalk at the intersection of Beech Street and E Center Street. (Israel Gole)

Furthermore, Fawcett said that they are recommending clearly visible painted bike lanes along the left side of the curb on both Seminary and Beech that would still leave more than enough room for vehicles to safely drive down those streets. 

“That leaves… an 11-foot driving lane, which is plenty wide. That’s like interstate width,” Fawcett said. 

Both BW students in attendance said that they are in favor of adding clearly marked bike lanes. 

“I bike, so on Seminary and Beech Street, having a bike lane would be better,” Stamper said.  

“I really liked the proposed idea of having a painted bike lane on one side of Seminary and painted parking on the other side of Seminary,” Chambers said. “I feel like that would help balance out a lot of the issues that are going on there.” 

To improve pedestrian safety even more, Fawcett said they are looking to improve one-way signage on Seminary and may even test out temporary speed humps there. 

“There’s opportunities for testing temporary speed humps… and putting those in to see how well they work and see how well people like them or not,” Fawcett said.  

Another recommendation from the study is the addition of wayfinding signs around Berea. Fawcett said that kiosks could be set up around Berea with signs showing “a map of downtown Berea and all the destinations [pedestrians and bicyclists] can check out.” 

Fawcett said that the wayfinding signage could be built upon too, including around the Baldwin Wallace campus. 

“Baldwin Wallace University might have some other key buildings and things that they would want to have part of this as well,” Fawcett said.  

Fawcett said these recommendations will not be put into effect immediately but will likely be implemented over the next few years as the city applies for grant money for these projects. 

“We’re going to take your feedback from today and finalize these recommendations into our report,” Fawcett said. “We’re going to be looking at implementation, looking at costs for these different things and prioritizing them for the city’s consideration as they take this process and move it forward.” 

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