by Melissa Miller
Changes are coming to West 130th Street. This past spring Councilman Kazy introduced two pieces of legislation that will impact the design and appearance of the southern portion of West 130th Street located between the railroad bridges in the future. In addition, the County began the West 130th Street road construction project in mid-June.
Last fall, Councilman Kazy, along with BPDC and the City of Cleveland Planning Department staff, reviewed the existing zoning of the southern portion West 130th Street and surveyed the commercial buildings and business uses in this commercial corridor. This led to two major findings: the overabundance of used-car lots in this area and a unique cluster of commercial buildings in the center of the corridor that still maintain a unique and historical character.
In order to address the problems and possibilities created by these findings two different pieces of legislation were introduced by the Councilman. The first was to change the zoning to limit the number of used car lots in this corridor. While there is nothing inherently wrong with used car lots, and there are some attractive car lots in the area, the use is very land intensive, tend to stay as that use once established, and detracts from the pedestrian and aesthetic character of the street. Therefore, the zoning on West 130th Street was changed from General Retail, which allows car lots, to Limited Retail, which does not allow this use. Current legal car lots will be allowed to stay, but further car lots will not be able to move into this corridor.
The second piece of legislation was proposed to preserve and build upon the historic core of West 130th Street. Before West Park was annexed to Cleveland in 1923, the area was part of Rockport Township. The area was made up of many orchards and farms and the southeastern section, the West 130th Street neighborhood, became known as “German Settlement” because of all the new German residents in the area. West 130th Street was called Settlement Road prior to the annexation to Cleveland.
There are a group of commercial buildings on West 130th Street between Bennington and Kirton that harken back to this point in history that convey a “main street’ character that will now be preserved through the creation of the Rockport Design Review District. The purpose of the design review district is to preserve the historic architectural assets, promote economic activity, and enhance the aesthetics of the street. Any changes to the buildings in this section will have to be approved by the Far West Design Review Committee made up of architectural and landscape professionals that reside on the far west side of Cleveland.
The final exciting change coming to West 130th Street is the road construction project that began in mid-June. The $8 million County road construction project will include new sidewalks, tree lawns, curbs and aprons and a repaired street from Lorain Avenue to Brookpark Road.
The project will be done in three phases over two construction seasons. Phase 1 will be completed in 2016. This includes the area between Lorain Avenue and the 1-71 interchange. Phases 2 and 3 will be completed by December 2017. Phase 2 encompasses the area between the I-71 interchange and Bellaire Road and Phase 3 goes from Bellaire Road to Brookpark. There will also be two culverts replaced in these phases as part of the project, at Terminal Avenue and at Longmead Avenue.
Perk Construction will be working on one-half of the road at a time, and northbound traffic will be maintained throughout the entire project. Southbound traffic will be detoured as each phase is being worked on. In phase 1, southbound traffic will be detoured down Lorain to West 117th Street back to West 130th Street at the I-71 Southbound Distributor Road. Phase 2 southbound traffic will be diverted up east on the I-71 Northbound Distributor Road back to West 130th on Bellaire, and phase three southbound traffic will be detoured west on Bellaire to Puritas then south down West 150th Street to Brookpark Road. Access to all businesses and residences will be maintained during construction.
While this construction will cause some inconveniences for a bit, the final overall project will be a tremendous asset to the neighborhood.