Articles

    Transportation Enhancements: Building a Better Future

    URS

    Euclid Avenue Corridor Healthline, Cleveland, Ohio by URS Corporation

    The public funding appropriated to Transportation Enhancement projects has given landscape architecture a vibrant role in the design of streetscapes, multipurpose trails and environmental and scenic revitalization.

    With Ohio landscape architecture firms at the helm, local entities are getting funding assistance, design leadership and guidance to see their projects come to fruition.

    One of Ohio’s largest Transportation Enhancement Program projects in recent history was the Euclid Avenue Corridor Healthline enhancement in downtown Cleveland. The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and the City of Cleveland commissioned URS Corporation to conduct the conceptual and preliminary design of an improved streetscape.

    “It was built to enhance transit by shortening the ride, but also as an economic development tool,” said Thomas M. Evans, Manager, Landscape Architecture/Green Infrastructure Design Services at URS in Cleveland.

    Landscaped medians and sidewalk streetscape design improved the physical appearance of the corridor and the public transit experience. The area has seen multibillion-dollar business investments since the project was finished.

    URS also worked on the adjacent E. 14th streetscape, commissioned by PlayhouseSquare and partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to continue the Euclid Avenue urban aesthetic. The north sidewalk was widened by four feet to allow pedestrian flow and room for outdoor cafes, and more than 100 in-ground LED lights add a theatrical feel to the PlayhouseSquare District.

    The Panhandle Passage Trail in Dennison, Ohio, is being developed by Akron-based Floyd Browne Group as an initiative of the Tuscarawas County Trail and Greenspace Plan. The plan will provide for a multipurpose paved trail linking the Twin Cities of Uhrichsville and Dennison along the Little Stillwater Creek Greenway.

    Dennis Mersky, Senior Principal at Floyd Browne Group, said it’s a great example of federal dollars filtering down to local planning projects: “This involves a series of initiatives, including the Ohio & Erie Canal Coalition and Tuscarawas County. There are many partners and we serve a design leadership role.”

    The project is aimed at stimulating tourism in a rural area as well as providing residents with green space and protection of Little Stillwater Creek.

    Mersky said the transportation enhancement program is an innovative segment of landscape architecture. “It’s providing an alternate way to experience the landscape, to find forgotten sights.”

    From restoration to urban growth and development, the Transportation Enhancements program provides the opportunity for innovative and constructive thinking. Ohio landscape architectural firms are playing a key role in changing and reinventing how people get to work or school, run errands and experience their everyday journeys.

    There have been efforts made recently by some government officials to reduce or eliminate the TE program funding. At this time, those efforts await legislative action. ASLA strongly supports the reauthorization of the TE program, as the benefits of this program provide key opportunities for both community transportation projects and landscape architects alike. The continuation of this program will allow Ohio landscape architectural firms to continue to “move” the next generation.

    If your firm has a TE program case study you would like to share please contact us at:

     info@ocasla.com