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Cleveland Metroparks Unveils New Red Line Greenway Trail

Nearly two miles of paved trails connect eight neighborhoods to Downtown Cleveland. [Taylor Haggerty / ideastream]
A sign reading "Cleveland Metroparks Red Line Greenway."

Cleveland Metroparks is continuing its efforts to connect trails and green space around Greater Cleveland with a new pathway unveiled Wednesday.

The Red Line Greenway connects eight neighborhoods to Downtown Cleveland, running from West 53rd Street eastward, with nearly two miles of pavement.

Adding trails around Greater Cleveland and in neighborhoods like Ohio City is important to addressing equitable access to the outdoors, said GCRTA Chief Operating Officer Floun’say Caver.

“RTA values the way that urban trails and transit can work together to provide for needed transportation, access and equity,” Caver said. “And yes, urban trails and parks are an equity issue.”

The Red Line Greenway is part of a larger project aimed at connecting trails in the Greater Cleveland area, called the Re-Connecting Cleveland project. Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, as well as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Trust for Public Land.

“We continue to look at how to pull more of the park system into individual neighborhoods to create access,” Zimmerman said. “There’s a lot of unique opportunities left here for us to work on.”

Residents were already using the trail, walking and biking at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. The activity is proof of the need for such park access around the city, Zimmerman said.

“Today was the unofficial opening,” he said. “Somebody said this was the worst-kept secret, and to me, that just is proof of concept that people are using it, and they feel that this is part of their community.”

The project is the result of a collaboration between several Cleveland-area agencies, including the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and LAND Studio.

“It’s nice to be able to take something from paper and put it on the ground and have people be able to use it,” said Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman. “60,000 more residents now have access to a trail in eight different neighborhoods. It’s a really impressive thing.”

Additional trails are currently in development to continue connecting different parts of the region. Both the Whiskey Island Connector Trail and Wendy Park Bridge are expected to open in late June 2021, according to a Metroparks press release. Those neighborhood developments are important for increasing quality of life around Cleveland, said NOACA Executive Director and CEO Grace Gallucci.

“For those of us that understand the direct link between quality of place and quality of life, we appreciate the central role that trails play in our communities,” Gallucci said.