Spin Helps ‘People’s Streets’ Bring More Vibrant, Safer Streets to Cleveland’s AsiaTown Neighborhood Through Art

Spin is proud to help fund the project of the grassroots coalition People’s Streets to bring safer transportation infrastructure through Cleveland’s first-ever crosswalk and curb extension murals in the city’s AsiaTown neighborhood.

Volunteers from People’s Streets, and Cleveland artist Mike Sobeck, are currently installing the murals at five intersections and bike lanes along the Payne Avenue corridor. The murals include colors and motifs that reflect the cultures and communities in the AsiaTown neighborhood.

Volunteers use stencils to paint crosswalks in AsiaTown

 

The improvements include curb extensions, which widen the sidewalk where people cross and reduce the time they spend getting across the street, and enhanced crosswalks which increase visibility, all of which make the streets safer, more sustainable, and more inclusive for all people, whether they are walking, biking, riding a scooter, or otherwise getting around without a car.

Besides creating more vibrant streets, artwork like this has the potential to create safer streets. A recent study by Bloomberg Philanthropies found that asphalt art results in a 50 percent decrease in the rate of crashes involving pedestrians or other vulnerable road users.

“The artwork on the roadway demonstrates the power of partnership between grassroots groups and the City of Cleveland,” said Rachel Oscar, who sits on the People’s Streets Committee.

While the designs are temporary, the goal is to inform more permanent safety and placemaking improvements when the City goes forward with a planned resurfacing of the area.

“After two years of hard work and creative thinking, we have a Payne Avenue that is welcoming, protects people, and represents us! We learned a tremendous amount from this process and hope it can help guide others on right-sizing and brightening our streets,” Oscar said.

An aerial view of one of the five Payne Avenue intersections recently repainted to improve safety

 

Payne Avenue was selected to be the first location for a People’s Streets intervention because it connects Downtown’s historically white central business district to Cleveland’s historically Black and ethnically diverse east side neighborhoods, and it is also home to the city’s vibrant AsiaTown neighborhood.

The project is supported by a number of groups and organizations, including the City of Cleveland, Downtown Cleveland Residents, AsiaTown Advisory Committee, MidTown Cleveland Inc., Campus District, Clevelanders for Public Transit, Bike Cleveland, and Spindrift Management Group.

Spin provided $25,000 in funding through its Streets Program, and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) provided materials including paint and ADA ramps through its Street Supplies program.

Improved sidewalks in Cleveland’s AsiaTown increase safety while adding a bit of fun to the streets

 

“We’re excited to be able to provide funding and support for the People’s Streets project through our Spin Streets program,” said Ellen Gottschling, Senior Policy Manager at Spin.

“Projects like this one help to create streets that are safer and more livable for the community, and create better conditions for the use of micromobility, aligning with our mission of creating a world full of 15-minute cities. We applaud the work that the Cleveland community is doing to create better conditions for safe and sustainable transportation,” she said.

This project has also been supported by the City of Cleveland.

“This project represents a collaborative success in bringing color, culture, and safety to Cleveland’s streets,” said Calley Mersmann, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator with the City of Cleveland.

“The sustained energy and dedication of the People’s Streets volunteers, the resources from Spin Streets and NOACA Street Supplies, and contributions from City staff across several departments allowed us to learn an enormous amount about how to do projects like this successfully,” said Mersmann.

This project marks the beginning of a bigger transformation of the city’s streets into safer, more accessible, and more inclusive spaces, according to Ray Hom, AsiaTown Advisory Board Member and People’s Street Committee Member.

“These are exciting times for Cleveland’s AsiaTown and neighboring communities! The People’s Street project has been a grassroots led effort and after two years of visioning and planning, we are starting to see our efforts come to life,” he said.

“By partnering with the City of Cleveland, we hope the crosswalk artwork design, bridge mural and pop up park are just the beginning of more streetscape enhancements to the Payne Ave corridor in the near future. We will continue to pursue our goal of creating a safer and welcoming street, building pride with residents and connecting communities. Perhaps this project can be a model for other communities as well,” Hom said.

Celebrations are planned for people to experience the People’s Streets this summer. Details will be posted here.

 

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