CLEVELAND ROAD WARRIOR, NATHAN RUTZ, IS ALL SMILES!

Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Sun, 11/15/2015 - 00:09.

CLEVELAND ROAD WARRIOR, NATHAN RUTZ, IS ALL SMILES!

 
 
Photographed on a cold and very windy Friday, November 13, 2015 afternoon in downtown Cleveland, Ohio  –
 
Euclid Avenue & East 9th Street.
 
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Sidewalks are for people (and bikes)

 
 
And, the excerpt shared recently by Bike Cleveland - I happen to consider sidewalks for everyone.  And, I think that the priority of Bike Cleveland's concerns raised by this video should be the control of council persons by developers' interests in NEO (READ: Cimperman advocating special tax district for Wolsteins).  
 
 
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Ward 16 Councilman, Brian Kazy, a Cause for Concern

Perhaps you have already seen the video of Cleveland Ward 16 Councilman Brian Kazy discussing bikes with challenger Bill Ritter in the run up to the November 3rd election. If not you can view it below, but in short, both Mr. Kazy and Mr. Ritter do not like bikes in Ward 16. While disappointing, the fact that they do not like bikes is not the issue; it is their lack of understanding on the topic that is the real cause for concern.

 

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http://www.bikecleveland.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Ward-16-Bike-Lanes-debate.mp4

Kazy defeated Ritter on November 3rd, which means we have a Ward 16 Councilman who doesn’t know basic law as it pertains to people on bikes, nor does he understand why bike infrastructure is necessary, or the reality people on bikes face as they attempt to navigate our city.

When discussing Lorain Ave, Kazy says, “I’m not a fan of the bike lanes and when we go to do [repave] W.130th next year it will be a hot topic”, Kazy promises. “But the city has their streets initiative [complete and green streets ordinance]. They want it to be easier transportation for those who don’t have cars.”

So, we’re to understand that Kazy is against improved mobility for people without cars, even though one in five people do not own cars in large swaths of his ward. When asked how people should navigate the area, Kazy suggests they use the sidewalk, yet he has no idea if that is even allowed. He says it “depends on who you ask”, and no one has been able to tell him if it is legal to ride on the sidewalk along Lorain or not, and he’s not sure anyone knows. Fortunately, Cleveland’s Codified Ordinances are readily available online:

 

  • §473.09(a) Riding on Sidewalks – No person shall ride a bicycle, skateboard or roller skates upon a sidewalk within a business district.

In case you’re wondering, Lorain Ave in Ward 16 is zoned almost entirely “General Retail Business” and obviously a business district. Kazy then says he would be open to introducing legislation to change any law that makes it illegal; apparently unaware that the Ohio Revised Code prohibits such action. Here is the relevant language from the Ohio Revised Code:

 

  • §4511.711(A) Driving on sidewalk – No person shall drive any vehicle, other than a bicycle, upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting local authorities from regulating the operation of bicycles within their respective jurisdictions, except that no local authority may require that bicycles be operated on sidewalks.

The candidates repeatedly cite safety concerns of riding in the street for eliminating bike lanes, obviously unaware of the mountain of statistics that prove dedicated bike facilities reduce crashes and increase safety. Not only that, but they are unacquainted to the hazards of sidewalk riding, and the fact that riding on the sidewalk is much more dangerous than riding in the street. Lorain Ave in Ward 16 is 25mph, not 35mph as Kazy states.

Challenger Bill Ritter then rolls out an anecdote about cars illegally driving in the bike lanes on Puritas Ave as a reason they should not exist. Worse, he thinks that because people on bikes are not the majority, he has no responsibility to serve them. It’s disappointing that these two don’t think a Councilman’s job is to serve ALL of their constituents.

It is troubling that Mr. Kazy has so willingly formed an opinion on an activity he seems to know little about, and would actively block the proliferation of bikes in his ward despite the many benefits they bring. We should expect more from our elected officials. At the very least we should demand they understand the issues they take positions on. It is irresponsible for someone with so much power to be so uninformed. If you would like to share your opinion with Councilman Kazy on this issue, you can email him at – bkazy [at] clevelandcitycouncil [dot] org

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In my opinion: Bike Cleveland - while I applaud advocacy for bike infrastructure - I find it very arbitrary that you did not push for bike infrastructure or access to the recent mega$$$ East Bank Flats development.  

http://www.cleveland.com/cityhall/index.ssf/2015/02/cleveland_mayor_frank_jackson_44.html

As it stands now - there is NO designated bike parking and no bike lanes defined that would assist residents and tourists to get to this destination by bike.  So, what do you say about that oversight??  Laura McShane

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Update: Brian Kazy was reelected - he is going on a bike tour with Bike Cleveland today- he responds to an email :

Mr. Hornyak,
I appreciate your input on the subject of the bike lanes. If you are referring to the interview from Cleveland.com, I stated that I am not a fan of bike lanes but, I understand the need for them. The reason for not being a fan is because I believe the City does not install the lanes properly. I would prefer a bike lane, buffer lane and then a car lane. The City is installing buffer, bike and then car lane. In the perfect world, we would have protected bike lanes. As a matter of fact, I held a public meeting regarding the bike lanes on Lorain Ave. and the result was complete bike lanes in Ward 16 on the part of Lorain Ave. that I represent. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean I won't do what is right for the neighborhood or the people I represent. Puritas Ave. and Lorain Ave. both streets that have been redone, have bike lanes. I have not stopped or fought against any bike lanes going into Ward 16. This type of criticism is a part of the job, unwarranted, but none the less, part of the job. If you would like to discuss further, please let me know. Again, I appreciate you reaching out. Thanks. 

Brian Kazy
Cleveland City Councilman
Ward 16

 
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