Mayor's Corner: Improving Lakewood's Walkability
A renewed focus on making places more walkable and stressing pedestrian safety has been seen across the US. Here in Lakewood, we’ve always been fortunate to have a highly walkable and pedestrian-friendly community. It’s something that has attracted people to make our city their home, start a business here, or just visit and enjoy the ability to stroll our streets and enjoy the things that make this place so special.
The City of Lakewood is focused on building on our already positive walkability by finding ways to enhance pedestrian safety. We see this as a multi-faceted effort which includes our current development of an Active Transportation Plan, our work to build on safety for kids walking to school, and our implementation of ongoing traffic calming initiatives.
Lakewood is currently developing an Active Transportation Plan, funded with the help of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). The City is currently working on this comprehensive plan that seeks to make walking and biking more comfortable for all people and improve overall safety for transportation in Lakewood. The City’s Planning and Development Department and our consultant, Toole Design, gathered public input earlier this year and expect to have a draft of the plan in the months to come. You can see and contribute to the areas being considered for plan actions in our online map survey tool: https://tooledesign.github.io/Lakewood_ATP.
As part of the Active Transportation Plan, the City will also be incorporating the first citywide School Travel Plan (STP). Lakewood is one of the only communities statewide where busing is not provided, so safe walking for kids is always top of mind. Lakewood previously developed a partial STP in 2010, which was a good start, but only covered Garfield and Harding Middle Schools. The new plan will cover all schools across the entire city. Additionally, the Active Transportation Plan will address the context, details, and priorities to qualify for federal and state funding through the Safe Streets for All (SS4A) and Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. The SRTS only funds plans less than five years old, which is another reason to update and expand the 2010 plan. The final plan will include a wide array of actions and interventions, including things like adjusting our school crossing guard strategy based on the findings.
Our Planning and Development Department has also been implementing the City’s Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program (NTCP) which began its first interventions with a pilot project in the fall of 2020. The NTCP focuses on Lakewood’s local neighborhood streets that have characteristics which place them most at risk to adverse motor vehicle speed and volume issues. The city has established criteria for evaluating possible streets to include in the NTCP, including data gathering on volume and speed as well as determining whether resident support exists for interventions. Residents can submit suggestions for areas to be considered as well as learn more about the program online at: https://www.lakewoodoh.gov/traffic-calming.
As we continue to enhance Lakewood’s strong walkability and pedestrian safety, the City will keep you all updated on these planning initiatives and the implementation of their outcomes. Keeping our sidewalks and streets for all remains of the highest priority for City Hall and everyone in Lakewood.