Cleveland Introduces Legislation to Advance Mobility

In this summer blog series, we will be examining the intersectionality of multiple issues related to mobility and the need to expand protected bike infrastructure. This week’s post will discuss transportation demand management and the ways in which bikes can be an essential part of reducing traffic congestion in commercial areas. 

Cleveland Introduces Legislation to Advance Mobility
This past week, the City of Cleveland introduced new legislation to implement transportation demand management (TDM) strategies in certain parts of the city. This legislation, along with the release of an RFP for a new mobility plan, represents another step toward the city’s goal of becoming a 15-minute city. View the new legislation here.

Transportation demand management: the benefits of less parking

Minimum parking requirements can be difficult for small businesses and new development projects to deal with. This is because municipal zoning codes typically require more off-street parking than is really necessary. This is especially true for destinations that are located along major transit routes, where many people decide to take public transportation, bike, or walk.

Transportation Demand Management is a set of strategies that cities can use to incentivize multiple modes of transportation. In many cases, TDM policies are implemented to replace minimum parking requirements in certain areas (such as along high-frequency transit lines). This can be especially useful for the businesses and development projects that are located along these corridors, because providing off-street parking is expensive and takes up valuable space. Currently, one of the only ways to be exempt from these requirements is to request a variance; however, this can be inefficient because doing so frequently adds significant time and uncertainty to the permitting process. In many cases, it can take an additional 10-12 weeks to obtain a zoning variance. TDM seeks to eliminate this issue for new businesses and projects in areas where we know that there are viable transportation options other than driving.


Examples of TDM from other cities
Los Angeles is one US city where TDM strategies have been in place for 30 years. In that city, the TDM ordinance includes a requirement that non-residential developments greater than 25,000 square feet involve at least a limited TDM strategy. As of 2021, the city was actively working to revise the policy to include residential developments, while also allowing developers to choose from a “menu” of over 40 TDM strategies. This planned change to the ordinance has coincided with that city’s expansion of its rail network, implementation of bike facilities, and concerns over vehicle exhaust in the already-polluted region.

Shared mobility hubs should ideally have an adequate supply of multi-modal options in order to be effective. Source: Intelligent Transport

One TDM strategy which has become increasingly popular is allowing developments to act as shared mobility hubs. These are clearly – defined locations where a variety of shared transportation modes are available. This typically includes bike share, car share, and micro-mobility options. These hubs are designed to guarantee a supply of bikes, scooters, and cars in a single location, and are usually located along public transit lines. This allows for easy last-mile transportation and can help incentivize residents to not own a car. From a perspective of economic and racial equity, providing more transportation options is a fantastic idea; shared mobility allows residents to live without the costs of a car, while also allowing them to have access to one when necessary.

How TDM will be implemented in Cleveland
The City of Cleveland has recently introduced a TDM policy that would apply within a quarter-mile (1/4 mile) of existing RTA high-frequency transit lines. In recent years, new businesses and development projects have popped up along these routes, so the city wants to take advantage of this transit access in these areas. Similar to the Los Angeles example, Cleveland’s TDM policy will allow developments and businesses to choose from a menu of strategies, needing a certain number of points depending on the size of the project/business. The number of points varies for each strategy, with those deemed more valuable worth more points. Larger projects would also need to attain a larger number of points.

In Cleveland, the proposed TDM policy would apply to areas within .25 miles of GCRTA’s high-frequency transit lines, those marked in red on this map. Source:

There are numerous benefits of implementing TDM strategies in Cleveland. The most immediate benefit will be that new developments and businesses in the TDM zones will have simplified and less expensive permitting processes, which makes neighborhood economic development easier. This will especially benefit new small businesses along these corridors because they will not need to provide off-street parking. Also, approximately 1 in 4 households in the city do not have access to a car. Nearly 3 in 4 households within that ¼ mile of high-frequency transit have either no car or only 1 car available. Making the city easier to walk, bike, and take transit improves the quality of life for these households.

Another major benefit of implementing TDM in Cleveland is that doing so will incentivize people to bike, walk, and take transit instead of driving. This is in line with creating a more equitable city from a transportation perspective, which will go a long way toward benefiting everyone. Also, making it easier to move around without a car makes it easier for everyone to get around, regardless of your mode of transportation. Being able to choose your mode of transportation more easily is a great freedom, and that is certainly within reach in Cleveland if the new TDM policy is implemented.

Ideally, this new TDM policy will help the City of Cleveland to create areas along transit corridors where residents can access their daily needs without having a car. This policy, along with efforts to reach Vision Zero, create & implement a mobility plan, and modify the existing zoning code, contributes to the city’s goal of becoming a 15-minute city. As such, having TDM will allow the city to become more walkable, bikeable, environmentally friendly, and equitable.

Here at Bike Cleveland, we believe that implementing a new TDM policy in Cleveland is an excellent way to help reduce driving and encourage more people to bike, walk and use public transit in the city. This is especially important because it will lead to a reduction in traffic congestion along the city’s busiest corridors, where public transit and biking can be viable alternatives to driving. Reducing car dependency is key to prioritizing people biking, walking and accessing public transit. TDM will improve transportation equity, community health, and increase safe transportation options in Cleveland.

What can you do to support this new legislation?
Voice your support for this legislation & sign our petition! We will share these sign-ons with Cleveland City Councilmembers as they consider the policy.

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