A project focused on upgrading Public Square, namely the Superior Avenue crossing and removal of the jersey barriers, has been approved by the Cleveland Planning Commission.
The plan provides visual and physical barriers to vehicles to increase safety, focuses bus traffic along Superior Avenue through the Square, narrows and better protects pedestrians crossing Superior, and — yes — calls for the removal of the unsightly jersey barriers.
“I appreciate the thorough and thoughtful work that the team put in to get this plan right,” said Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb. “Public Square is the people’s park, and this plan reflects that vision while prioritizing safety, function and aesthetics.”
The approved plan reserves two entry and exit lanes for buses and creates permanent curb extensions in the center of Public Square, narrowing the middle portion of the roadway to one lane in each direction to increase pedestrian safety while maintaining bus operations.
The jersey barriers will be replaced by new security bollards that are aligned with the curb extensions to increase pedestrian space, delineate the roadway from the park, and restrict unauthorized vehicular access. The same bollards will be placed at strategic spots along the perimeter of Public Square as an enhanced safety measure.
There will also be a new raised “tabletop” crosswalk — the first of its kind in Cleveland — in the center of the block to facilitate safe and intuitive pedestrian flow between the northern and southern portions of Public Square, and shared lane markings for bicyclists on Superior will be reintroduced.
The plan approved today is a refined version of the plan considered by the commission in January, with modifications that included specific bollard placement and design detail.
Also new is the Superior Avenue special events closure plan, which includes 9 retractable raptor bollards on either end of the Public Square section of Superior, at East Roadway and West Roadway, to close off the area to vehicular traffic for special events.
The final plan is a product of more than a dozen small group coordinating sessions, multiple site visits, and careful review of eight design alternatives.
Now that the plan has been approved, the City will issue permits to the Group Plan Commission and contractor for work to begin. The custom bollards and raptors will be ordered followed by barrier removal, curb replacement, signal upgrades, crosswalk removal and replacement, striping, and bollard installation.
Pending the availability of materials, weather considerations, and previously scheduled Public Square events, work is expected to begin in late fall. The Group Plan Commission will continue to manage this process.
Planning and design for circulation improvements around the perimeter of Public Square—including a protected bikeway around the Square for cyclists that prefer not to ride in traffic—will occur as a separate phase of Public Square improvement work.